Healthy Eating Trends: Top Restaurants for Your New Year’s Resolution

Just because you made a resolution to rid yourself of those holiday pounds off doesn’t mean you can’t have fun when eating out. From the crunch of kimchi-topped sweet potato fries with cashew-chipotle drizzle to the panache of whole-roasted fish presented tableside, there’s a lot more than salad and carrot sticks to enliven any January day with these restaurants embracing healthy eating trends to help you stick to your delicious dining New Year resolutions.

Healthy Eating Trends

Organic Grill, New York, New York
Business starts booming at the Organic Grill on New Year’s Day. “I think everyone is trying to start their resolutions off right,” jokes owner Julia Chebotar of her family-owned mostly vegan, organic restaurant in East Village. It’s easy to see why if you check out this season’s brunch menu, featuring dishes enticing enough to turn any carnivore’s head (or appetite) — think loaded kimchi sweet-potato fries with cashew chipotle drizzle, cabbage, scallion, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, sriracha, and vegan or dairy cheese. Chebotar says she likes to make the January menu fun for those new to a “clean” lifestyle, and anything that features greens like kale or spinach is a big seller, especially the new sweet green + kale frittata. Organic Grill also features an extensive lineup of veggie burgers, organic wild salmon and tilapia, juice cleanses, and raw foods. Make a reservation at Organic Grill.

Healthy Eating Trends

Marin Restaurant & Bar, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Chef Mike Rankun busts the bluster of Minnesota with California-themed cuisine using local produce. Ham, fig, and blue cheese flatbread on a whole-wheat crust, jerk-spiced pork chops with mashed sweet potatoes, or grass-fed beef tenderloin with potato puree, spinach, and balsamic Cipollini onions may sound like heartier fare, but those counting calories don’t have to fear the pitfalls of dining out — each item on the menu is presented with its nutritional content. Rankun spotlights both small and large plates, and cuts calories and fat year-round by swapping out butter for olive oil and using starchy liquid from ears of corn in lieu of heavy cream to thicken soups. Make a reservation at Marin Restaurant & Bar.

Healthy Eating Trends

Puritan & Company, Boston, Massachusetts
It should come as no surprise that Boston chef Will Gilson, whose family owns the Herb Lyceum garden and greenhouse in nearby Groton, puts the focus on fresh in January. Puritan & Company will supplement its normal Sunday brunch menu with BEATNIK juices, a collaboration between father David and son, for everything from energy boosting to detoxifying, cleansing, or just reviving after a night of partying. For those who’ve toasted 2016 with a bit too much spirit, pick hangover cure Beet the Blues, made with beets, blueberries, lemon, and apple and packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium, and fiber. Make a reservation at Puritan & Company.

Healthy Eating Trends

Blowfish Sushi, San Francisco, California
Sushi is always a top choice for the health-conscious year-round, but January is a great time to try something new, says Blowfish Sushi’s Brigid Kealy. One of her favorite dishes — which features no rice — is great for those counting carbs: Tokyo Ceviche. The classic Japanese sunomono (cucumber salad) is topped with fresh crab, shrimp, tuna, and octopus, and then crowned with a mango, grapefruit, and cucumber sorbet made by a local creamery. By highlighting fresh local produce from California farms, Kealy says sushi can be a surprising way to embrace vegetarian options, like miso-marinated eggplant nigiri to potrero veggie roll with two types of tofu, carrot, and asparagus. Make a reservation at Blowfish Sushi.

Healthy Eating Trends

SOL Cocina, Scottsdale, Arizona
All preconceptions of overfilled burritos and gooey nachos can be dropped at the door at SOL Cocina, where James Beard-nominated executive chef Deborah Schneider — inspired by her trips just south of Arizona’s borders — maintains a healthy menu of entrees that are wood-grilled or braised in their own juices, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-friendly dishes, beans prepared without fat or oils, and 34 fat-free salsas made from fresh fruits and vegetables. Dressings are created with fresh juices and thickened with ticker-friendly avocado in lieu of eggs or mayonnaise. New seasonal menu additions include tacos (roasted squash or grilled shrimp agave), although, for traditionalists, Schneider says her baked chile relleno (traditionally filled with cheese and fried) feels indulgent without having to make several trips to the gym. Other resolution-friendly hits are the Hot & Raw Ceviche, with fresh citrus, habanero chiles, avocado, and cucumber served with sweet potato and red beet chips. Make a reservation at SOL Cocina.

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Dining Poll: Do You Make Healthier Choices When You Dine Outdoors?

When it’s cold outside, all I want to do is dine in a warm restaurant, maybe one with a fireplace, and eat comforting — and rich — dishes like pasta bolognese or coq au vin. But, when dining while perched on a patio, soaking up the sun or sitting under the stars during spring or summer, I definitely favor lighter fare. What about you? Do you order differently when dining al fresco? Weigh in on today’s poll!

Trendspotting: Foraging for Food; Mixology with Meals; Pigs; Pop Rocks; Pop-Up Restaurants; Sharks; Sustainable Restaurants, and More

In food-related news from the blogosphere and your favorite food sections…

* Forget singing for your supper; it’s all about searching for it these days, thanks to a renewed interest in foraged ingredients. I don’t mind the practice, but this word is beginning to crop up on menus everywhere and it’s driving me a bit batty. [Nation’s Restaurant News] [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

* New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz wants to ban the use of salt in food prep at restaurants in New York State. In other words, he wants to ruin all the restaurant food in New York State. [Nation’s Restaurant News]

* Are Pop Rocks the new truffles? Probably not, but some restaurants in New York (Klee, Kefi, and Fishtail by David Burke) are embracing this clamorous candy and other 7-11 delights as ingredients in high-end dishes. [New York Post]

* I did not know that: Eggs aren’t dairy. Whew! I recently did a cleanse that excluded dairy, but I adore eggs so it was sheer (and, in hindsight, unnecessary) torture. Thanks to Carolina Santos-Neve and Epicurious for clearing this up.  [The Epi-Log]

* It’s not easy to not eat meat, but Chow’s Roxanne Webber has some insights as to how vegetarian and vegan chefs make their meat-free dishes so delicious. [Chow]

* First craft beers, now cocktails are being paired with food at fine restaurants. Can wine get a break? [The Atlantic] [Washington Post]

* Pop-up restaurants are, well, popping up all over New York, much to diners’ great joy. [Los Angeles Times]

* Restaurateurs are embracing sustainability in ways big and small, from building materials to menu items. [Los Angeles Times]

* Shark is not sustainable, in case you were wondering. [The Atlantic]

* In news sure to shake Miss Piggy to her stilettos, whole-pig restaurants are all the rage in Southern California. [Los Angeles Times]

* Despite their appetite for whole pigs, diners want to get healthier. [Nation’s Restaurant News]

* Diners also want to eat outdoors, especially in New York. [The New York Times]

* Food is my religion, and restaurants are my houses of worship. Thankfully, I am not alone. [The Grist]