Eating out can be stressful when you’re adopting different eating habits or even just trying to keep an eye out for your nutrition. But that doesn’t mean you should miss out on fun times with your friends and family – or settle on undressed lettuce. Luckily, Princeton has some of the best restaurants in all of New Jersey!
- Chopt: While cooking, we sometimes wonder what could be better than someone chopping all the vegetables for us. Luckily Chopt does it for you. You can choose from their classic salad offerings, or if you’re feeling creative, opt to design your own. The beauty of Chopt is that you can switch out ingredients (say chicken for tofu), drop ingredients, or add them (hello, avocado). This place can even make a reluctant salad eater love salad.
- Arlee’s Raw Blends: Arlee’s is a great place to pick up refreshing beverages, from freshly-pressed juices, smoothies, shots, to nut milks. They also serve meals, like a kale salad with granny smith apple, cayenne, dates, almonds, pink Himalayan Salt, and olive oil. They even have a raw vegan pizza! If you’re having a sweet tooth, vegan cheesecakes based on cashews, almonds, and dates are also available.
- Small Bites by Local Greek: You can’t go wrong with Small Bites’ menu! From their Greek parfait breakfast bowl to their Greek arugula salad, their menu celebrates authentic Greek food and Mediterranean-style eating. People with and without dietary restrictions alike will find delicious, fresh options.
- Zoe’s Kitchen: Zoe’s Kitchen is another Mediterranean spot with a variety of healthful options. Their salads are totally customizable, with your choice of protein, whether it be grilled chicken or baked falafel. We love their quinoa salad with spring mix, carrots, cabbage, green onions, red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, and feta with their lemon vinaigrette. While their main salads and bowls are delicious, you also can’t go with their sides of roasted vegetables, turmeric rice, or side Greek salad.
- Planted Plate: Planted Plate is a plant-based eatery serving delicious wraps, sandwiches, burritos, and bowls. One of our favorite orders is the “Humble Hippie Sandwich” which has hummus, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, cabbage, cucumber, & tahini. You can either have their dishes on one of their five bread options (gluten-free included) of greens, with a side of salad (or French fries). A bonus? They have a kid’s menu too!
Tips for ordering at restaurants
Restaurant food is meant to look, smell, and taste great – appealing to humans’ weaknesses with rich fats, salty crisps, and sweet desserts. Oftentimes, vegetables and fruits don’t make it to center stage. So what are some ways you can practice healthier eating at restaurants with few healthful options?
- Don’t go overly hungry. If you’re ravenous going to a restaurant, chances are you may end up eating more than you intended – and eating something you didn’t wholeheartedly love. You may want to plan for a light snack like a fruit or handful of nuts before going.
- Pay attention to the wording. The menu gives indications of how a dish is prepared. Keep an eye out for words like "grilled," "broiled" or "steamed," as opposed to dishes that have descriptions like “fried,” “breaded,” or “saucy.”
- Don’t be afraid to edit the menu. Servers can help you create alternate healthier versions of a meal. For example, you can ask for a side of steamed vegetables instead of mashed potatoes, or if it’s possible to have a side of balsamic vinegar dressing as opposed to a Caesar dressing.
There’s a sea of opportunity when it comes to healthy eating at restaurants now. Places are accommodating and there are always ways to eat a meal that’s enjoyable, delicious, and nutritious.