In the world of carb avoidance and weight consciousness, going out for a meal can be quite a challenge. “Iron Chef” offerings, sweet cupcake trends and overly full plates are tempting when you are trying to be “good” and watch your figure. However, there happen to be several local restaurants that offer a choice selection of dishes that are friendly to your waist and the scale.
When you are on the go, it is important to choose your meals and snacks wisely. WaBa Grill is one quick but healthier restaurant for a high protein, low fat and freshly-prepared meal. WaBa Grill uses fruits and vegetables to enhance its secret teriyaki sauce. If you stick to the bowl options on the menu, there are less calories to be consumed. The Salmon Veggie Bowl (410 calories per serving) is delicious and has the least amount of sodium. The veggies are fresh and lightly steamed and the salmon is charbroiled. Another healthy ordering tip at WaBa Grill is to opt for brown rice.
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Oliver Café Lounge is an excellent restaurant choice especially when you have to meet someone for a business meal or when you are trying to maintain your diet while entertaining out of towners. Oliver Café Lounge’s menu has specific items that are endorsed by a registered dietician, staying within a healthy caloric intake range. The under-500-calories breakfast options include Oliver Light Omelet made with fresh veggies and egg whites ($9) or the Fresh Fruit Eliminator which comes with non-fat yogurt and a honey poppyseed drizzle ($8.50). The All Day menu highlights healthy choices like a Warm Shrimp Salad ($13.95) and Baby Kale and Cranberry Apple Salad sprinkled with roasted cashew nuts, crumbled bleu cheese and a honey lime mint dressing ($11). The specials menu does not disappoint offering plates in the calorie range of 450 to 650. Miso Cold Poached Norwegian Salmon is served with jasmine rice and a yogurt-based dill sauce on mesclun greens topped with a miso-rice vinaigrette (14.75).
You can spend the entire day at Voda Spa and feel like you are on vacation. Voda Spa not only has a full day spa menu, but its California cuisine on-site cafe is just as rejuvenating to the body and soul. Voda Café is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and dishes are created by locally-known chef Adel Chagar. Before checking in for Voda’s Russian Bear massage or the Black Sea Clay Scrub, visit the juice bar for a boost of freshly-squeezed fruit or vegetable juices, smoothies or protein drinks. The Voda dinner entrees are light but substantial. Try the Grilled Orange Roughy with mixed grilled vegetables ($24), add chicken to the Athens Vegetarian Wrap filled with cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, kalamata olives, mushrooms, feta cheese and a harissa mayonnaise ($15) or choose a fresh Wild Greens Salad with apples, raspberries, jicama, bleu cheese, sliced almonds and a vodka vinaigrette ($13).
Bringing the idea of macrobiotics to the larger food community, Ann Gentry’s Real Food Daily restaurant is the only place in LA for an all-vegan menu. Celebrities including Natalie Portman and Alicia Silverstone have put the gourmet all-vegetable-based diet on the food map. Vegan dining is not only popular today, but it is a very healthy way to take in your calories. Just be sure to supplement with beans, grains and plant-based proteins. Real Food Daily suggests putting together a Real Food Meal ($14.95) which is based on the Eastern health philosophy of maintaining the integrity of the plate of food. You can select from an array of Veggies of the Day (daily greens, garlicky greens or sea vegetables), Plant Proteins (tempeh, tofu or seitan), Beans & Grains (brown rice, millet and quinoa, Spanish rice, soba noodles or black beans) and top it off with a sauce (balsamic vinaigrette, living citrus herb ranch, hickory BBQ, lime cilantro, savory golden gravy and more).
Located in the heart of LA, SIMON LA is one of the best restaurants for cutting-edge cuisine with a healthy spin. Spearheaded by chef Kerry Simon, whose celeb following includes David Bowie, Matt Dillon, Diane Keaton, Debbie Harry and INXS, SIMON LA’s “De-Light” lunch menu keeps your diet on track. The carefully-prepared menu is based on a low-calorie program in partnership with Thalassa Sea & Spa, which promotes a healthy lifestyle. Each item features a calorie count giving you the option of ordering a variety of vegetables and proteins. From chef Simon’s creative Pink Beet Salad (71 calories) and his fresh Golden Tomato Gazpacho (92 calories per serving) to the classic Grilled Skirt Steak (110 calories), you will enjoy it all. And, if you budget properly, dessert on the menu features warm cookies (156 calories) or Silken Panna Cotta (145 calories).
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Sheryl Craig is a writer with a passion for interesting finds and treasures in Los Angeles. She has a background in journalism and public relations. A mother of two daughters, Sheryl integrates her healthy lifestyle into raising her children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.