Year after year we strive to make realistic New Year’s resolutions that we’re likely to stick to with crashing back in to a sweet sugary bowl of chocolate ice cream or creamy queso. From spending less money to exercising regularly, most of us make resolutions that rarely last beyond February. We are human after all.
For those focusing on health-conscious resolutions, dining in Austin doesn’t have to be as boring or as hard. It’s absolutely possible to enjoy yourself without wrecking yourself, especially if you’re trying to eat maintain healthier eating habits. Here are fifteen of my favorite restaurants to enjoy healthy dining in Austin.
Executive chef Kevin Taylor meshes the traditional, flavors of Mexico with ultra-fresh, local ingredients to create health-conscious and sophisticated pairings. From Mexico City–style street snacks to larger, shareable entrées highlighting a symbiotic approach to combining fresh, all-natural produce and proteins with time-honored Mexican fare, you’ll be able to stuff your face and enjoy yourself while staying health conscious with their all-gluten free menu.
Anthem offers a variety of healthy vegan menu items that may lack meat, but don’t lack flavor. The Vdog, house smoked vegan curry hot dog served with cucumber sunomono relish, tastes like an upscale twist on a classic. Their Charred Edamame comes salted or spicy and the Edamame Hummus is served with lavosh and crisp crudité. *Pro tip – Order the Hawaiian Shrimp Ceviche sans tortilla chips as a refreshing entrée. The coconut milk, lime juice, yellow curry, ginger and spicy cherry pepper dish can certainly stand on it’s on. Anthem’s P&E Shrimp and Gulf Oysters on the ½ Shell are also protein rich, low fat options.
Bar Peached recently open it’s doors to the public as part of Peached Tortilla’s growing tree of concepts. O’Connor’s food menu keeps with The Peached Tortilla’s unassuming spin on fusion cuisine, drawing from the culinary traditions of Asia and the American South. The menu includes several healthy-ish options that will make eating clean in 2019 a bit more delicious and relatively easy. Go for veggie-friendly dishes like Wafu Salad and Seared Broccolini as well as many other options that can help you win the battle of the bulge.
Emmer & Rye
Emmer & Rye was named one of America’s Best News Restaurants in Bon Appetit, featuring Food & Wine’s Best New Chef Kevin Fink and partners Tavel Bristol-Joseph and Page Pressley. E&R makes staying healthy fairly easy with a menu that focuses on working closely with farmers by using locally sourced seasonal ingredients. From King Mackerel and Green Tomato with Radish, to Confit Short Rib and Smoked Beet BBQ, Emmer & Rye’s exciting menu will make healthy dining rather enjoyable.
Shawn Cirkiel’s Jugo offers fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, Cuvée Cold Brew, and a rotating selection of cold brew green teas on tap. Enjoy handpicked seasonal ingredient juice options such as beet, carrot, ginger, and lemon; cucumber, celery, kale, parsley, and lemon; and apple, spinach, and ginger. They also feature chef-crafted bites, from packaged to-go snacks and protein packs to salads, wraps, and entrées.
Downtown healthy favorite, Squeezery, has built upon their already delicious and nutritious menu by adding paninis, soups and salads. The new additions will accompany their popular grain bowls, smoothies, juices, coffees and we can’t forget about the vegan gelato bowls served in a cracked coconut shell. Squeezery is downtown Austin’s go-to grab-and-go! But if you have time to spare, enjoy your tasty breakfast or lunch at one of Squeezery’s NEW outdoor tables (weather permitting).
This Slo-Cal inspired poke stop in the Sea Holm district is as healthy as it is stylish. Malibu poke bowls use high-quality ingredients featuring the the freshest, sashimi-grade, expertly sourced fish, mixed with sauces made from scratch and fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs from local farms.
Bento Picnic makes healthy, handcrafted bento box meals for busy people. Each meal is designed to deliver maximum flavor and nutrition using the Japanese menu design principle of Washoku, which uses five elements of color, taste, and technique to achieve a balance of nutrition, flavor, and presentation in every meal.
Getting healthy can be delicious when you get to load up on European inspired light bites like tartines and salads or French goat cheese with olive tapenade made with local and organic ingredients.
It’s fairly easy to let your cravings get the best of you when you’re looking for nutritious grub at Fareground, but Henbit will help you stay on point with a few of their heart-healthy options. Paleo and Whole30 enthusiasts will enjoy the flexibility in the menu. For breakfast, go for the Henbit Breakfast Bowl and the Farmers Breakfast Bowl when you sub sweet potatoes. For dinner and lunch, go for the Short Rib & Sweet Potato (specially prepared with no sugar in cure) or the Chicken Vegetable Curry (modified no rice, extra veg). Veggie heads will love the Kale & Avocado Salad which can be modified no quinoa. *Pro tip – pretend the monster cookie is not staring at you when you see it at the ordering counter.
You haven’t tasted goodness until you’ve had Picnik’s spaghetti squash lasagna and bone broth. That along with healthy drink options like Bulletproof coffee and other natural grass-fed and pastured ingredients, you’ll find everything on the menu to be Paleo friendly and on point in order to help you stay on track of any new healthy eating plan you’ve designed.
Two locations in Austin
Flower Child fits in perfectly with the swagger of 2nd street but If you have time to visit the Domain don’t leave without making a pit stop for lunch or dinner. Despite what some believe, it’s not just for the ladies and their hardy bowls, entrees and appetizers are anything but boring. You’ll walk out happily full without the bloated belly.
Believe it or not, Italian food doesn’t only consist of highly enriched carbohydrates and cheese. You can actually select several signature dishes and appetizers that will fit perfectly for nearly any popular diet you might be on without going completely over budget on carbs, calories or otherwise. Dining al fresco in the winter isn’t always possible iL Brutto’s patio is easiest the best spot in east Austin, so take advantage of the outdoor seating when mild temperatures are available.
Mediterranean is all the craze and has found a home in Austin. Everyone has fallen in love with grain & salad bowls at Cava. Health nuts will find all of the greens, fibrous veggies and hummus to load up on, along with plenty of tasty proteins to enjoy. My favorite is the spicy lamb meatballs. Add some pickled onions, kalamata olives, feta, yogurt dill dressing and I’ll be hooked for life.
I first discovered these guys during SXSW in 2018. Since then, I’ve been a little obsessed with their entire menu. Rand Hand serves healthy bowls, salads and burgers with meat sourced for Texas ranchers who pasture-raise healthy animals living in a stress-free environment. Their protein forward dishes are ridiculously delicious as they are healthy.