Many people start off the year with the best of intentions regarding health and fitness, but it’s a much tinier group of people that stick with their healthy eating and transform resolutions into habits that facilitate a lifestyle change.
Healthy eating may become difficult to maintain during social situations, or people may simply lose motivation or stop finding the time to realize those resolutions.
As a Certified Sports Nutrition Specialist, I think one of the most imperative aspects in any eating adjustment or change is to make your goals and adjustments part of your overall lifestyle. You don’t want to have to pick between eating more nutritious foods and the other aspects of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Just because you’re eating healthier doesn’t mean everyone you spend time with is. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid dining out. Check out my list of healthier dishes that will will help you to say yes to spending time with friends and socializing while still working towards becoming a healthier you. Give these a try:
Menu Item: Palm Beach Salad
What’s in it: Crab meat, poached shrimp, remoulade, avocado, tomato and chopped egg
If you are trying to keep your carbs on the lower side, this is a great option that feels indulgent and refreshing.
1601 E. Woodlawn Road A
Menu Item: Paleo Salmon
Price: $18.95; substitute shrimp $17.95
What’s in it: bronzed gulf of maine salmon, charred tomato salsa, julienne vegetables, romesco sauce
Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids and is a great source of protein. This dish also does not skimp on flavor. Salmon also provides potassium and may help with weight control because it is fairly low in calories.
Menu Item: Harvest Salad
Price: $8.99 (+$1.99 chicken)
What’s in it: smoked farro, roasted beets, kale, pickled onions and fennel, seasoned pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, currants and Fresno chili vinaigrette
This salad contains several nutritious elements. The beets provide dietary fiber and are also high in magnesium, which supports optimal nerve and muscle functions. Kale also offers digestive support and is filled with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.
305 W. John St., Matthews and 9229 Lawyers Rd., Mint Hill
Menu Item: Shrimp Soup
Price: $7.45/small, $9.49/large
What’s in it: Pico de gallo, rice, shrimp and avocado in a savory broth with a limey kick
If you are aiming to keep your carb intake low, you certainly don’t have to eat all the rice in your soup. You will not even miss it with this dish. You’ll get so much flavor and acidity in the soup, plenty of protein from the shrimp and healthy fat from the avocado.
Menu Item: Midwood Chopped Salad
Price: $6 small, $9 large (add chicken BBQ or chopped pork for $3)
What’s in it: Romaine, smoked corn, tomatoes, black beans, avocado, carrots, cucumbers and shredded cheddar. Tossed with your choice of dressing. I usually get the honey mustard and add chicken BBQ.
Pay attention to how much dressing you are using, especially if you are trying to keep your calorie intake lower. This is an easy way to accidently compound calories when ordering a salad. Enjoy your protein and your veggies. If you are trying to avoid dairy, nix the cheese — the dish is plenty flavorful without it. If not, enjoy!
Menu Item: The Clubhouse with a turkey patty
Price: $8 (+$3/turkey patty)
What’s in it: Field greens, tomatoes and cucumber
This dish has the essentials if you are trying to eat cleaner and stay full longer. You are getting a protein that will sustain you and nutritious vegetables that are low in calories.
1600 W. Morehead St.
Menu Item: The Beyond Meat Veggie Burger
Price: $9.25/single, $14.25/double
What’s in it: pan fried 6-ounce vegan burger, lettuce, tomato, onion, dill pickle and vegan mayo. Nix the bun if you are cutting carbs.
Beyond Meat Burgers are hard to beat in my mind. The plant-based burger packs 20 grams of protein into 290 flavorful calories. They are also soy free, gluten free and satisfying.
Menu Item: Epic Protein Bowl
What’s in it: your choice of protein, black beans, quinoa and brown rice mix and pico de gallo
The quinoa and brown rice mix is high in fiber and in protein. With added protein, you won’t be thinking about what to eat five minutes after you finish.
3609 S. Blvd, Suite D
Menu Item: Build Your Own Bowl
Price: $10.95 (two proteins) $13.59 (three proteins)
What’s in it: salad, tuna, yellowtail, bean sprouts, pickled radishes, carrots, kimchi, sesame seeds and a sauce on the side. There are several other possibilities for the bowl’s base, toppings and proteins, including cooked proteins. Most of their signature bowls are $12.95.
Seoul Poke Bowl provides fresh ingredients and several customization possibilities that cater to your goals. Their options include several vegetables and ingredients rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, so you can create a meal that is beneficial and exciting.
Menu Item: Yafo Shawarma Salad/ Build Your Own Salad
Price: $12.80 (for these specific choices)
What’s in it: Romaine, shawarma chicken, babaganoush, tzatziki, purple cabbage, cucumber and tomato salad, onions, olives, pickled cucumber, tabbouleh, beets and the roasted Brussels sprouts. You can start with the Shawarma Salad and add all the toppings or say you are building your own. Both strategies get you a lovely salad.
This place offers so many customization possibilities. Make sure your picks are consistent with your goals. If you are watching calories, focus more on veggies and don’t forget your protein.
This content was originally published here.