Now to the food!!
The cafe/salad bars at Whole Foods and Central Market have several healthy and quick options. I'm kind of partial to Whole Foods, but we don't have one in Fort Worth yet (it's coming in 2012!!). The only thing is that the trip might not be as quick as you plan because you will probably want to take a few laps to check out all the options, and then maybe another lap to narrow down your top 3 choices, and then probably a final lap before you land on the winner. You can always count on the food being fresh, which is what I really like. AND if you need to pick up something at the grocery store, then you are already there, bonus!
Mediterranean/ Greek Restaurants
Don't let the menu scare you... it might have some unusual things that you are unfamiliar with or can't pronounce, but that's the fun of it! Try something new! We have a fairly new restaurant in town called Terra Mediterranean Grill. It's so good and really reasonably priced... we are regulars now. Any greek or mediterranean restaurant will have very similar options. Here are some things I like to order...
1. Hummus. Good way to get some protein and fiber in your meal.
2. Baba Ganoush. It's an eggplant dip, don't let the name freak you out.
3. Grape Leaves. Sometimes these are called "Dolmas." It's a grape leaf usually stuffed with a combination of rice and pine nuts. Here is a pic of them...
4. Lentil Soup. Ahh, lentils, what a great legume. It's packed with health benefits and fiber and protein!
5. Tabouli. This is a fresh, cold salad made with bulgur (a grain), parsley, tomatoes, and onions.
Main Course Options
1. Most of the time I just have the Lentil Soup and Tabouli as my main course.
2. Falafel. This is made from chickpeas/ garbanzo beans. What exactly is Falafel?
3. Vegetable Moussaka. This is a dish at Terra, so I'm not sure if they have it at other places, but this is absolutely delicious! It's like a veggie casserole made with eggplant, tomatoes, onions, and chickpeas, but with no cheese. Score!
4. Vegetable Skewers or Vegetable Platter with rice on the side or pita bread.
Ghengis Grill (Mongolian Grills)
What I love about these kinds of places is that you have 100% control of what goes into your meal. You pick everything and put it into your bowl and they just stir-fry it up for you. I usually build my own bowl instead of choosing one of their bowl options. So let's do it... Go here with me and let's build our bowl together.
1. Pick your protein. I usually go with tofu. I might throw in a little shrimp or scallops sometimes.
2. Season your protein. Let's go with black pepper and a citrus garlic herb today.
3. Pick your veggies!! My favorite part :-) This is where I go crazy. Remember, veggies shrink down when they cook, so fill your bowl! Carrots, baby corn, bamboo shoots (loaded w/ fiber), bok choy, broccoli, mushrooms, bean sprouts (love em!), green onions, snap peas, squash, zucchini, spinach, water chestnuts, tomatoes. I think that will do it.
4. Select a sauce. Island Teriyaki Sauce for today. Just a little, the veggies provide their own flavoring, and the sauce is where you will add on the extra hidden calories if you aren't careful.
5. Call your starch. Brown rice always! Maybe a little udon noodles to change it up.
And Viola! Your mongolian stir-fry bowl is served!
I am not as familiar with the Thai menus, but I do know that I never go into a Thai restaurant without finding a healthy option. I'm a fan of curry and pad thai, and you can easily customize any entree. Thai restaurants usually have tofu too, which is nice to add some healthy protein to the meal. Fish is another available option. In general, Thai cuisine is commonly known for its lightly-prepared dishes, which usually means that the dishes aren't loaded with heavy fats.
Like Asian restaurants, you can always count on Mexican restaurants to have some healthy options. But, the thing about mexican restaurants is that evil basket of chips and yummy salsa that greets you at the table the minute you sit down. You are starving, you just want to eat, and you have chips and salsa starring you in the face... so you devour them until your food comes out. Then you are frustrated that you ate a zillion chips because now you aren't as hungry for your meal. As you can tell, I am very familiar with that story. Now, the salsa isn't the bad thing, it's those fried chips that have very little, if any, nutritional value. Salsa is a perfect condiment... it's just veggies blended up! The only thing you have to watch out for is the sodium content in the store bought salsas. There is a reason they are able to stay on the shelf for several months... they are packed with a ton of salt acting as a preservative.
Also, I recommend trying to resist ordering queso to go with the chips or fajitas. I know I know, it was one of my favorite things... a big bowl of melted cheese, who can resist?! But, I promise you will thank me later when you are working out at the gym and having to think about how you want to burn off that queso you ate the other night. I hate going to the gym having to think about how I want to burn off whatever dessert I allowed myself to enjoy the other night. Instead, I like going to the gym and NOT thinking about what I have to burn off, but thinking about how much I enjoy having the time to myself to work out any stress that I have or to simply push myself to the limits, thanking my body for my health by moving it. It's my "me time," not time to stress about the fact that I enjoyed dessert.
Okay, that was quite the introduction to the list of healthy Mexican food options, so let's get to it!
1. Veggie Fajitas w/ corn tortillas. Corn tortillas have significantly less calories, fat, and sodium. Fill your fajita with beans, a little rice, guacamole, and pico de gallo, and salsa. Try to refrain from the tempting globs of sour cream and cheese.
2. Salad. I can usually find a good salad at a Mexican restaurant. I just order it without the cheese and dressing on the side.
3. Spinach quesadillas. Again, no cheese because they flood that tortilla with cheese. They shouldn't call them enchiladas, it should be something like "cheesiladas."
4. Taco Cabana: Black bean tacos ($1.09 each). They already come without cheese. This isn't the healthiest option in the world because it's wrapped in a flour tortilla and technically it's fast food, but if we are on-the-go and need something fast, then this is an option. We get the black bean tacos, salsa, and guacamole.
So there you have it! My list of meal ideas to order when you are on-the-go! I know I could think of many more restaurants, but that would make this list never-ending. So, if you unsure how to "work the menu" at a specific restaurant, then just leave a comment about it, and we can chat!
Tone It Up right?!? Well, it has something to do with that! You will be seeing some changes to the face of the blog, and I will fill you in on the details in my next post! So get excited because I am!
In the meantime, have a super weekend! I am attending the Yoga @ Cowboys Stadium event today with Sam and my Mom and hundreds of other people, and I'm so excited! Like they say... everything is bigger in Texas... even YOGA class!
With Love, Health, and Happiness,