How to Eat Out & Stay Healthy (Plus our favorite restaurants in Boulder!)

You want to eat healthy, but then find yourself with friends at The Rio eating Mexican food. Since you’re there, you might as well have some chips and salsa (like a whole basket of chips, maybe two because you’re starving), and your friends want to cheers you, so you get a marg. This cascade sets you up to either feel deprived or make a sub-optimal choice.

Even though eating out is obviously not ideal from a health standpoint, we all dine out on occasion. And whether you’re on a Clean Challenge or not, it’s important to maintain healthy eating habits as often as possible. So why not ask your friends to meet you halfway? If you put a little thought into choosing restaurants with some healthy options that you like, then it doesn’t have to be an unhealthy choice (or more likely: a series of unhealthy choices).


Here are some things to consider:

#1: Will they have something that I like that’s healthy? Yes you can probably get chicken with a steamed veggie at most places but do they have something healthy that you love to eat? Try to find things that you love so you don’t feel deprived and then steer you friends and family in the direction of those restaurants. You’ll be doing them and yourself a favor.

#2: Where do they source their ingredients? If most of their food is coming off of the Sysco truck, then it’s not going to be a very nutrient dense meal, even if it’s a salad with grilled chicken. The nutritional benefits you get from lettuce that you get from a local farm are very different than what you get from lettuce from an industrialized food distribution truck. We’re so lucky to have so many restaurants that are conscious of where their ingredients come from. Some restaurants that source local ingredients include: The Kitchen, Fresh Thymes, Shine, Chautauqua Dining Hall, Oak, Black Cat and Salt.

#3: Do they cater to your specific needs such as: gluten free, dairy free, no crappy cooking oils, etc. If you know you feel terrible when you eat gluten or dairy or canola oil, then why not choose a restaurant that caters to those specific needs. If you go to a pancake house that doesn’t have good gluten free pancakes then aren’t you asking for a problem. For instance, Shine and Fresh Thymes are amazing, and they have 100% gluten free menus. Fresh Thymes only uses high quality (and more expensive oils) like coconut oil for cooking and olive oil for dressings.

Here are some examples of healthy lunch and breakfast options around town:

Shine Boulder gluten free healthy

1. Shine

Shine is 100% gluten free and has a great selection of amazing dishes that have very high quality sourced ingredients. Shine is located in the same mall as the gym now and they have a beautiful cookbook!

Check out their menu

 

Fresh Thymes Eatery boulder healthy

2. Fresh Thymes Eatery

Fresh Thymes was founded on the principle that food should be nutritious, good, and allergen-free. They’re fast and easy because they have counter service, but the backbone of their business is that they source high quality ingredients and support local farms. They’ve won multiple awards for being the best organic restaurant, as well as for having great vegan and gluten free options.

Check out their menu

 

Motomaki boulder healthy3. Motomaki

This is a staple for me. It’s fast and relatively cheap and I can a well-balanced meal. I choose chicken or fish and add in 5 veggies. It’s located right by the gym over by Home Depot.

Check out their menu

 

Modern Market boulder healthy

4. Modern Market

You can’t go wrong here for lunch, but it’s also a great option for breakfast. It opens at 8a and it’s right by the gym. It’s always good, fast and inexpensive, and we love the sausage kale scramble!love the sausage kale scramble!

Check out their menu

 

Yellowbelly chicken healthy boulder

5. Yellowbelly

Yellowbelly serves up delicious roasted and fried chicken, using quality ingredients to make their food from scratch in-house. Right around the corner from the gym, it’s a great place to get a great lunch or dinner (we suggest the kale salad with roasted chicken).

Check out their menu

Arabesque Boulder6. Arabesque

Arabesque makes delicious, authentic Mediterranean food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The chicken shawarma plate is to die for! Check out their menu

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