Resolution Solution: D.C.'s Best Spots For Eating Right

How's that "new year, new you" mantra working out now that January is winding down? Most likely, you've resolved to eat healthier in 2014. But, after another rough day at work, it’s all too tempting to drown your sorrows with a trip to Five Guys. Unfortunately, a fast-food burger and fries just leaves you with greasy fingers and a guilty conscience.
Thankfully, the occasional lunch or dinner out doesn't mean your goals are kaput. Click through to discover where some of the our favorite trainers, nutritionists, and fitness bloggers head when they want a good (and good-for-you) meal in the District. From delicious salads to healthy desserts, these are the dishes you’re sure to love (and love yourself for loving). Who knew you can have your resolution and eat out, too?
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Photo: Courtesy of Beau Thai.
Amy Rizzotto, yoga instructor, nutrition coach, writer at Active Life DC and MOARfit, co-owner of soon-to-open Yoga Heights

"I'm a big breakfast girl and relish the ritual of starting my day off right with a nourishing and tasty morning meal. My favorite neighborhood spot for a low-key breakfast/brunch is DC Reynolds in Park View. Their veggie omelet showcases the magic of simple, seasonal foods and comes with a yummy side salad. In the warmer months, they even have a killer back patio, perfect for enjoying some sunshine and fresh air — a.k.a. instant happiness.

“After teaching back-to-back yoga classes at the new YMCA Anthony Bowen, I'll often go next door to Sweetgreen for a grab-and-go salad that's way more exciting than any salad I'd make for myself. My go-to options for healthy fare are the Spicy Sabzi or Misoba, both with extra sriracha, of course. At between 400 and 550 calories, both of these vegan and gluten-free options leave me with enough room for a little afternoon snacking, while I relax and watch my favorite football team. (Go Patriots!)

“Last, but not least, I'm mildly obsessed with the sweet, spicy goodness of Beau Thai's papaya salad. If I've got a late-night hankering, this is my guiltless pleasure. The green papaya and cabbage provide heart-healthy and figure-friendly fiber, while that tangy lime dressing tastes so good I could sip it with a spoon. On average, a single serving comes in at only 100 to 140 calories, so if I'm making this a meal, I'll usually add grilled shrimp to my order and ask for extra peanuts.

“My other local favorites for eating-out options that won't ruin your resolutions are Ripple in Cleveland Park, Chix on U Street, and Thai X-ing in Shaw."
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Photo: Courtesy of Pinkberry.
Mary Lambkin, writer at Active Life DC and Minutes Per Mile

"One of my favorite local spots for fresh, delicious food (and a 'healthy' dose of wine) is Maple, a little Italian wine bar in Columbia Heights. I love Maple's salads — they change seasonally, but often feature fresh beets, sweet dried cherries, and creamy cheeses. The bruschetta is also fun to share or nibble on during happy hour, and the cozy bar is a wonderful spot to share a conversation over drinks.

“For a grab-and-go healthy lunch or post-workout dinner, Sweetgreen is the spot. You can build your own salad or purchase one of the predesigned selections; each salad is crafted right in front of you. For heartier appetites, soup, bread, and wraps are also available — as well as fresh-squeezed juices and teas! Sweetgreen always has a seasonal salad and sources most of the ingredients locally. I'm a huge fan of the kale Caesar salad, which gives your usual romaine-and-cream Caesar salad a twist by adding kale, other veggies, and a lightened-up dressing.

“Sushi and frozen yogurt are my two favorite 'healthy splurges.' Though there are plenty of spots for both in D.C., I'd recommend Sushi Express (especially the Executive Class combo) and Pinkberry. Pinkberry is a little more expensive than other fro-yo spots in the city, but I think the freshness and flavor is worth it!"
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Photo: Courtesy of Zaytinya.
Alicia Sokol, writer at Weekly Greens

"I love the fresh salads at Surfside. They have terrific combinations on the menu, but most of the time I just make my own. It's as easy as picking a protein (I usually go for grilled fish) and vegetables. Just a little of their homemade dressings go a long way for adding zip. They also have a great children’s menu, which includes fresh fruit and a serving of vegetables with every meal. My kids can polish off the tacos and burritos in a flash.

“A friend from Japan recently introduced me to Yuzu for sushi. We loved it so much that my 8-year-old chose it for his birthday dinner. There is a tofu appetizer with a savory broth I really enjoy. All the fish is extremely fresh and the roll combinations are inventive. I know this article is supposed to be about healthy eating, but I don't leave there without a scoop of the yuzu ice cream.

Zaytinya is still one of my favorite places for a healthy meal. I crave the Brussels sprouts with coriander seeds and garlic yogurt (which are fried, and oh man, are they tasty). But, you can eat a very lean meal with so many choices. A nice selection of the vegetable mezze is enough for a meal. I also love the shrimp with dill and mustard and the lamb bahar. I have a pretty serious sweet tooth! Luckily, the Greek yogurt and apricots aren't so sinful, if I can't say no to dessert. It's practically breakfast!

"Leopold's is a weekend favorite for breakfast, but I also make it a regular spot to meet up with girlfriends when I get out for lunch. I typically order the kale salad, and if I want some protein, I ask for grilled chicken on the side. I've tried to replicate this simple salad at home, but it's trickier than you'd think for something so uncomplicated!

“I'm not a card-carrying vegetarian, but much of what I eat for breakfast and lunch is meat-free (and often dinner, too). Whenever I want a hearty, plant-based meal, I know I can find it at any one of the many Le Pain Quotidien locations in the area. The lentil salad with avocado is a particular feel-good favorite, and it keeps me full for hours. They also have a rotating selection of soups, many of which are vegan. Soup may very well be the perfect light, nutritious lunch.

“Along with just about everyone else in Mount Pleasant, I've been thrilled with the arrival of Beau Thai. It's perfect for a quick and healthy lunch or dinner. I love that they're open for lunch daily, and they deliver. When I'm coming down with a cold, the hot-and-spicy noodle bowl can't be beat. My kids always go for the steamed dumplings.

“A few summers ago, my family and I became hooked on Pleasant Pops, when the little ice-cream cart showed up at our local farmers' market. The frozen delights are made from seasonal, local fruits and veggies. They are also perfectly sized, so it's a treat I feel good about for myself and my kids. Now they have a store, so we can enjoy them year-round. They also sell wonderful salads and sandwiches. It's exactly the kind of fresh, real food I make for myself at home. I'm thrilled these guys continue to grow and bring us more delicious food!

“When I'm in the mood for something spicy and quick, I head to ShopHouse. You can pick your protein, choose rice or noodles, and then dress it up with vegetables and sauces. I tend to go for brown rice with a little bit of every kind of vegetable option. The portions are pretty generous, so you can even wrap up half for a second meal if you're watching portions."
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Photo: Courtesy of Momiji.
Kate Arnold, owner and instructor at The Bar Method DC

"My all-time favorite spot — for lunch or dinner — is Momiji, a family-owned sushi restaurant in Chinatown. The fish is fresh, the staff is wonderful, and there are terrific lunch specials. I love the salmon sashimi lunch special.

“Another favorite of mine is Protein Bar when I want to grab something quick and healthy. The vegetarian chili is delicious and healthy, and the perfect choice during the winter. For dinner, I love Graffiato, also in Chinatown, where everything from the pizzas to the small plates is fantastic. I always love the veggie side dishes, and they have Prosecco on tap. I also love Mexican food and eat at both Rosa Mexicano (where I always get the crab enchiladas and skinny margarita) and Oyamel (with the salt foam margaritas)."
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Photo: Courtesy of Hawthorne Homemade.
Madeline Dolente, personal trainer, founder of MadFitness, and author of MadelineMadFitness

"I love eating out with friends, but prefer places that serve healthier dishes with lots of fresh veggies and fish. Peacock Cafe is my favorite restaurant for brunch in Georgetown. My go-to is the ahi tuna salad and Green Goddess drink. This meal leaves me feeling vibrant and light. If I'm on the go and want to pick up something, I'll stop at Sweetgreen and make my own salad, usually with a mix of arugula, spinach, and romaine, along with several greens, avocado, garbanzo beans, and light dressing.

“I stop by Puree once a week for a green drink and wheatgrass. I also like the smoothies from Hawthorne Homemade Organic Juice Bar & Market. Each time, I try something different, but the Green Goddess is still my favorite.

Sushiko is my favorite for sushi, and I love the tuna nigiri and the salads. Black's in Bethesda is my favorite for dinner. You can always get great oysters, fish, steak, and asparagus. The desserts and wine are yummy, too.

“I stop at the Whole Foods in Bethesda and pick up the Ape Man Foods meals already prepared in the cold section, because the food is raw, nutritious, and fills me up. And, Pinkberry is my favorite when I crave something sweet, and they now have shakes with more protein!"
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Photo: Courtesy of Sweetgreen.
Carlene Thomas, R.D., L.D., registered dietitian, nutritionist, and writer at Healthfully Ever After

"My favorite three local restaurants are Founding Farmers, The Wine Kitchen, and Le Pain Quotidien, all of which work hard to offer local, eco-conscious, seasonal dining options, plus a plethora of vegetarian choices. I'm a seriously happy girl in any of these spots!

“For quick stops, Sweetgreen absolutely nails it. Many of my clients are notorious for having just lettuce as a meal before we work together. But, for a balanced bite that will keep you full, you need grains/beans/protein on top, like Sweetgreen offers. My other favorite is actually a grocery store! Go to the hot foods bar/salad bar at Whole Foods or Wegmans. Start by putting down a bed of greens (kale, spinach, mixed greens), top with one or two other veggie dishes, pick a protein, and you're good to go!"
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