We all know what it is like to have a fridge full of food and a head full of stress. We have all the ingredients but don't have the time or the patience to whip up a healthy meal to nourish our bodies properly. No need to fret. There are plenty of restaurants in your area that can put you on the high road to health while making your taste buds dance.
Our expert panel has comprised a list of the 5 best restaurants in the area for a healthy meal. Our criteria was based on use of organic produce, availability of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, and foods so full of flavor that even the most hard core junk food junky would never suspect that they were ingesting a nutritious Big Mac substitute.
Here, the healthy culinary comforts close to home.
Yep, it made the list. Don't look so surprised. Burger 21’s availability of healthy options astounds even the most astute healthy fare finder. Burgers patty options range from ahi tuna, turkey burgers, and even veggie burgers. Burger 21 also does an incredible job of making a simple meal like a burger much more vitamin and nutrient dense by adding fresh produce like pickled cucumbers, purple cabbage slaw, and colored peppers to make the sandwich as aesthetically pleasing as it is healthy.
We love: The Greek creates a healthy taste explosion by taking a low fat veggie burger and giving it a Mediterranean flare with its perfect mix of lettuce, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, feta cheese spread and pickled cucumbers, all on a wheat role. Substitute avocado for feta cheese if you want to go vegan without sacrificing flavor.
Danger Zone: Stay away from the fried options and be careful of calorie dense spreads and sauces
What a dream come true. Finally a place where you can keep all the taste America's favorite Italian dish without taking on the adverse effects of a muffin top or puffy eyes the morning after. Pizza Fusion is an eco-friendly organic enthusiast, who prides itself in local produce and fresh meats. Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and lactose free options make it easy to stay on track and furthermore you can substitute Organic Multigrain Crust to any pie. All meals enhanced by incredible organic local freshness and hippie love that'll satisfy any lady and even her meat loving beau.
We love: The Farmer's Market is full of all the benefits of a salad with the taste of a top notch Pizza. Zucchini, artichokes, Portobello mushrooms, delicious basil infused tomato sauce and a savory rich blend of provolone and Parmesan makes this a big hit. Add some lean meat on for a protein punch.
Danger Zone: Pepperoni and sausage still carry the same amount of calories even in a place with organic wine and biodegradable plastic spoons
Picture a steaming two foot tower of meats and vegetables with the aroma of...well, any of the twenty sauces you can choose from. The plethora of options makes this Far East inspired grill a perfect place for any group of unlike minded foodies. Make your meal plant strong or carnivore friendly or combine the two for a balanced diet. Options for meats range from chicken, shrimp, and even NY Strip and the vegetable section offers a truly enormous selection. Just pile your choices into a bowl designed for stacking and watch your grill masters quickly whip up a delicious meal you practically made yourself.
We love: A 3:1 ratio of veggies to meats with a sweet and savory Mongolian Ginger sauce that blends garlic, ginger, sesame seeds and Japanese chilies all for only 38 calories.
Danger Zone: It's easy to pile up on calories and fats if you go too heavy on the tasty meats and sauces high in sugar
Want something more than just a simple sandwich? Green Market Cafe is your saving grace when it comes to healthy flavor. Take your pick of wraps, rice bowls, flatbreads, panini’s, and an assortment of tasty salads sure to make you rethink myths of bland health food. For my veggie lovers out there and lactose intolerant animal lovers, vegetarian and vegan options are readily available. Here is a little bonus for you. Any meal purchase gets you a free yogurt or sorbet.
We love: The veggie rice bowl is amazing! You get a huge bowl of delicious brown rice, black beans, grilled Portobello mushrooms and red onions, roasted red peppers and sweet and savory tomato pesto sauce. Believe me, you won't be missing the meat in this flavorful and colorful dish.
Danger Zone: Your post meal healthy dessert can easily become a calorie packed assortment of candy. Don't let yourself be overtaken by temptation.
#1 Ohana Cafe
This unbelievable Palm Harbor staple, which was rated a top 50 restaurant in Tampa Bay, prides itself on, “Healthy Fair with an Island Flare.” The Hawaiian hospitality is felt throughout the restaurant from the moment you walk in and hear “Aloha” from the native Hawaiian owners to your last sip of your organic vitamin rich Purple Surfer smoothie. The menu is complete with breakfast, lunch, and dinner options that are all made with local ingredients that are expertly prepared in the kitchen with Island love. Every dish has the perfect mix of health benefits and full bodied flavors and no fillers are ever added which keeps the dishes light, refreshing, and packed with nutrition.
We love: The Loco Moco is a native Hawaiian dish made from organic buffalo meat, sauteed sweet onions, an organic egg over easy, organic spinach, and a gluten free organic beef gravy. All this sits atop an eco-friendly brown basmati or white jasmine rice. This dish will exceed your expectations without increasing your waist line.
Danger Zone: I can't think of a single one, Bra. Palate preference aside, it is near impossible to find something that will hamper your health kick.
From healthy pies to Island ties, we have covered the 5 best local restaurants where you can enjoy your meal without having to sacrifice flavor or your diet. Whether you are a self proclaimed foodie or a mom trying to satisfy your picky quintuplets, I assure you that you will not regret the drive.
By Jimmy Myers
Jimmy Myers is the Head Trainer and Owner of Art of Strength Tampa Bay