How surprising it can be that our rockstar clients often easily and quickly adapt to a healthier lifestyle, but like any lifestyle change, there are plenty of obstacles out there. Whether it is traveling, eating at the in-laws, or having a healthy vacay, often times they find situations where living a healthy lifestyle may seem ominous.
Most recently, the challenge of the typical “9-to-5er” jaunting out for a quick and healthful bite in downtown Chicago has been raised.
By now, you have learned that food you cook for yourself is truly the healthiest choice and home-cooked, healthy food will leave yourself not only more satisfied, but your wallet in better shape, too.
For those of you who have not joined the brown-bag revolution and rely on downtown fast-food for your sustenance, your choices for a healthy lunch are actually beginning to grow as “health-casual” restaurants continue to pop-up while consumer demand continues to grow.
While every restaurant inherently has some poor choices, perhaps with sugar-laden dressings or the red meat options, we have compiled a short list of places that are Naturally Fortified approved:
Protein Bar. This is a Chicago creation and comes from a couple of guys that had one thing in mind: creating a cool, hip and friendly spot where the focus is nutrition. Specifically, high-protein products and not just meat, but plant-based protein-packed items. Unlike many other spots in town, they give the customer full disclosure of every single item they serve. On the menu.
Every item lists each bit of essential nutritional information right beneath each product, including sugar content, something we rarely see. Sure, all restaurants are now required by law to give the customer access to its products’ nutrition, but as recently discovered it is usually presented in one giant, clumsy binder and includes information on every single product offered since the restaurant’s inception.
Freshii. Another chain restaurant with a focus towards health. This one is not so local and seems to be pushing for global dominance, but we actually applaud this. Why? The mission says it all: To eliminate the excuse that people don’t eat well because there’s nothing convenient or affordable. Could not have said it any better.
There are a few red flags on the menu, though; cheese, some red meat and sauces that may have a higher sugar content then would be recommended, but once again, you will find full disclosure of the nutritional content. They are very cool about leaving off ingredients whenever possible. This time not on the menu, but a huge nutrition card at the “ORDER HERE.”
While Freshii does have a vast menu of delicious and nutritious items already created for you to order, our favorite part of this place is that you can build your own. This gives you the total power and control to make sure that what you build is as healthy and nutritious as possible. Oh, and the food here comes out at lightning speed, but for even more convenience, they take online orders and you can simply pop-in, pay and take off and continue your busy day.
Native Foods. The name of the game here is vegan. Now before all the eye rolls and moans and groans, this is not your Mama’s vegan spot. Chef Tanya of Food Network fame began her mission 17 years ago in a small cafe in Palm Springs and has continued to grow. Now Chicago has three of these delicious plant-based outposts.
Each item on the menu is quite delicious, but not to be fooled, some of the items are less healthful then others and may contain a higher fat and sugar content for those living the healthy lifestyle.
One thing that separates Native from other healthful spots is that everything they sell is made from scratch, in-house. Even their seitan and tempeh are made onsite and best of all, “chef-crafted is Tanya’s mantra: fresh foods using organic and local ingredients whenever possible.”
You now have no excuses to eat less then healthful during your busy work week living in the rat race. Give these three a try and if you have any advice of other healthy spots that you enjoy on a daily basis, leave us a comment and we will see if your spot is worthy.