As a Registered Dietitian, everyone just assumes I’m going to order the salad with grilled chicken because that’s what’s “healthiest” on the menu. That is NOT the case. While yes, I enjoy eating salads and grilled chicken, I also enjoy branching out and trying new things! A green goddess salad? Yes, please! Thai Peanut? Absolutely! Eating a healthy diet doesn’t mean it has to be boring, it means eating what fuels your body and leaves you feeling satisfied, energized, and happy.
So, if you want a salad, eat a salad. If you want a BBQ, do it. More info on that, here. Either way, just don’t fall into the comparison trap; eat what you want. Now, let’s get dining!
A Registered Dietitian’s Guide to Dining in Dallas – Salads & Health foods
It wouldn’t be a Registered Dietitians Dallas restaurant recap without a section dedicated to salads and health-conscious restaurants! I truthfully enjoy salads (but not those two ingredient sad salads, I want a dressed-up boujee salad with all the fixings) and find them to be a really easy way to get creative with healthy options. In fact, most of these restaurants offer some sort of bowl, both hot and cold, that make it simple to check the VPFC list. And if you know me, a VPFC meal is the only type of meal I want to see in front of me (and you!).
Five Best Health Food Havens
Health Food restaurants no longer mean the strange little cafe with dehydrated chard, green juice and kelp chips, fortunately! While most restaurants offer a “healthy option” or two, these restaurants go above and beyond to make healthy eating both appealing and accessible. Be assured, the flavor, texture and overall quality isn’t compromised!
- Bella Green – Kale salad with salmon or the gluten-free, dairy-free turkey lettuce wrap and a side of sweet potato fries. Their paleo enchiladas and tacos are also delicious, a great option to share!
- True Food Kitchen – Organic eggs with sweet potato and chicken sausage. Lunch is the always delicious seasonal ingredient salad + a protein. Vegetable based app to start such as the kale guacamole with a side of veggies.
- Origin – My go to order is the paleo tacos or Defined Dish green goddess salad for lunch/dinner. But the Thai Salmon or Warm Brussel Salad with a protein is also delicious! Brunch is always a brussel sprout bowl with half sweet potato hash and eggs.
- The Gem – The Celery Salad with some Jalapeño Pesto makes a great light lunch, nearly all the smoothies (aside from Golden Glow, Cashew Milk, Clarity Lemonade, and Jaded Ginger Snap) are also Whole30 compliant and filling. Always add collagen!
- Unleavened Fresh Kitchen – Early bird on sweet potato hash, no cheese, for breakfast. Market offer with turkey sausage or epic grilled chicken salad for lunch. Oh and the cashew sesame bowl with curried cauliflower (I double the cauliflower and nix the rice, usually!)
Five Best Salads
Here’s how I order a build your own salad: First of all, no cheese /croutons. You can get healthier fats with eggs or avocado, as well as wholesome carbs from the fruit and starchy vegetables. Go for the larger size (healthy leftovers, duh!). Load up on all the greens you desire for a variety of texture. And remember to vary your proteins; salmon or shrimp at least twice a week for a dose of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Eatzi’s – Always get the zoodles and veggies. Add chicken and shrimp. Dressings on the side. BONUS – their build your own omelet bar is a great option on those busy mornings. I will order egg whites, chicken sausage, veggies and of course, avocado. Or yes, you can do a salad with great options like ahi tuna, salmon, edamame, egg, etc.
- East Hampton – Make a sandwich into a salad or a lettuce wrap! The turkey bacon avocado, sub for mustard OR the health nut wrap, no feta.
- Crisp and Green – The Shrimply Irresistible or Thai and Stop Me. For dressings, the balsamic, jalapeño-lime or lemon-herb.
- Sweetgreen – The steelhead remoulade / guacamole greens / buffalo chicken (no breadcrumbs!) with dressing on the side. Dressing on the side is key. Why? Because restaurant dressings are typically made with inflammatory oils and higher than normal sodium. This way you can control the quantity of dressing and add to your liking. Or BYO dressing, because some people (like me!) do that!
- Salad and Go – Thai Salad, add chicken and avocado. Olive oil + vinegar dressing or BYO (most of their dressings contain soybean oil).