Each year from November to January we embark on an annual journey of indulgence. We revel in the company of friends and family. We bask in waves of nostalgia as songs, traditions and memories from years past wash over us. We willingly loosen our belts a notch, making room for a parade of seasonal delicacies.
But come January, we’re jarred from this holiday haze. As if a switch has flipped in our brains, we begin a desperate search for a reset button. In truth, there’s no magic bullet to instantly shedding the weight or cravings from two months of holiday cheer. Nor is there time to search for one as we confront that mound of unanswered work emails.
That’s why we live in Austin, a foodie city that understands that healthy needs to be good as well as easy. I’ve put together some of my favorite resolution-friendly restaurants for healthy but satisfying meals on the go.
1/ Cafe 605: Breakfast and Lunch for Picnics on the Fly
Cafe 605 in Hotel Van Zandt lauds itself as the place to pick up picnic provisions for a day at Lady Bird Lake or a quick breakfast on the run. Lovers of rabbit food will gobble up the chef’s crudite, a fresh and crunchy collection of veggies, hummus and riatta. If you’re looking for a heartier meal, check out the quinoa bowl featuring roasted butternut squash and kale.
605 Davis St. – Website
2/ Wheatsville Food Co-op: Leave Your Reusable Bags at Home
We all know Wheatsville Co-op as a health food shopper’s paradise. But this hippie haven also has an excellent grab-and-go section. No need to bring your reusable bags this time because these meals are already prepped for you. Customer favorites from the in-house deli include organic black bean and brown rice bowls, and the co-ops signature popcorn tofu po’boy served on a French roll and topped with all the condiments you could dream of, including housemade cashew tamari dressing.
3101 Guadalupe St. and 4001 S. Lamar Blvd. – Website
3/ Picnik: Play at Paleo for a Day
Picnik isn’t just paradise for the strictly paleo crowd. If you haven’t tried the delicious butter coffees, I implore you to leave your worries about fat behind and pick a flavor. These drinks will leave you energized and curious about what else the paleo crowd has up their sleeve. If you’re not a coffee fanatic, try one of the picnic lunches. Choose from tacos made with almond flour tortillas, bahn mi chicken wraps or chorizo frittata, all made with quality ingredients sure to please everyone from the cave man to the yogini.
1700 S. Lamar Blvd. 400B (grab-and-go) and 4801 Burnet Road (sit-down dining) – Website
4/ Baby Greens: That’s a Wrap, Salads on the Fly
After a brief hiatus, Baby Greens, Austin’s favorite drive-through salad joint, is back on the scene. This prime stomping ground for busy vegetable lovers offers seven signature flavor combinations that can be served in wrap or salad form. The rainbow wrap caught my attention with its unique blend of mixed greens, cabbage, carrots, avocado, tomato, pumpkin seeds and feta. Customers can choose chicken, tofu or walnuts as their protein, topping this veggie delight off with their choice of delicious dressing. This small but mighty drive-through will make eating fresh in the new year a cinch.
1508 W. Anderson Lane – Website
5/ PhoNatic: Convenient Vietnamese With a TwistVietnamese cuisine is known for intense layers of flavor in a healthy package. With five Austin locations and food delivery options, PhoNatic makes it easy for Austinites to grab a healthy meal on the go. The local chain is known for putting new spins on traditional classics. Favorites include the veggie pho and a deliciously crunchy chicken cabbage salad, Both are fresh and light, but billowing with the unique Vietnamese flavors diners love.
6/ Mañana Coffee, Juice & Bakeshop
Do you prefer your health foods in liquid form? Mañana Coffee, Juice & Bakeshop may be connected to South Congress Hotel, but you don’t have to be vacationing to enjoy these sips. Housemade pressed juices and milks are perfect for anyone looking to pack all of their nutrients into one bottle.
1603 S. Congress Ave. – Website
7/ Ola Poke: Seafood Delight
Unlike Pokemon Go, poke is here to stay. The traditional Hawaiian dish made of expertly cut and seasoned raw fish, fresh sauces, and vegetables is the perfect healthy treat for all seafood lovers. Packed with protein from lean fish poke, diners will leave satisfied. If you’ve never had this exquisite island treat, Ola Poke is the perfect place to start. The Brentwood restaurant features a build your own bowl option that allows guests to choose proteins, rice or green base, and sides. Rest assured, die hard health fanatics, there’s even a baby kale option.
6806 N. Lamar Blvd. – Website
8/ Leaf: Greener Pastures in the CityWhen a bowl of plain lettuce isn’t enough, Leaf is the answer. This downtown salad joint has every topping you could ever want to add to your leafy greens, and then some. Choose from any of their flavorful offerings, like the West Campus, a leafy spin on a classic Greek salad, or make your own. The options are not for the faint of heart: prosciutto, strawberry balsamic dressing, hearts of palm, black and white sesame seeds. You could easily spend the whole year here and never have a repeat meal.
115 W. 6th St. – Website
Whether you’re a salad savant or dedicated juicer, have a penchant for the exotic or simply crave a sandwich supper, Austin has all the right options to keep your healthy goals in check even when you’re on the go. Try these resolution-friendly restaurants and let me know what you think.
@theAustinot wants to know:
Where do you stop when you need a fast and healthy food fix in Austin?