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Health Conscious Meals in MSP

With the new year comes the ever present resolution to lose weight. Whenever I'm trying to get my weight (and health) under control, I feel like I can't dine out regularly, just too many tasty distractions.

I feel confident I can stick to my plan if we go for sushi or pho, but my husband and I need more options! While I enjoy Good Earth, my husband doesn't. I dined at Spoon River last weekend and for the second time found the food to be quite bland. When I'm getting Chinese takeout for myself I'll order just steamed shrimp and veggies, but don't feel right doing that at a restaurant that has taken time to craft a flavorful dish.

What places do you enjoy for a tasty, yet healthy meal? Any exceptional, light dishes at restaurants you might not think of when you're trying to lose weight?

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  1. Great topic, Kate!

    I really like the portabella mushroom sandwiches at Groveland Tap--I sub salad for the fries. The sandwich has some cheese and the bread is buttered, but, all in all, it's a pretty healthy meal. Certainly compared to a burger.

    Also, I like the soups at Tanpopo and, of course, you really can't go wrong with sushi and sashimi.


    1. Here's a link to an older thread that still has some great ideas in it:



      1. Thanks TDQ! I had briefly forgotten my love of Tanpopo and should definitely try to get to Birchwood and French Meadow again soon. I've also been by Natural Escape on Lyndale many times (it's on my way to the gym :) and never stopped in.

        1. I've cut my calories way back too, but I haven't been having much of a problem eating out. That's partially because I cook, a lot. Way more than we eat out. I would say we get take out or eat out maybe 3 times per week. Sometimes less, sometimes more. When we eat out, it's almost always "ethnic" food, which is definitely the way to go when you are counting calories.

          We get takeout from the Taste of Thailand Fridley location often. Spring rolls and green papaya salad are both pretty low cal, and delicious. By the time I've finished one spring roll and half the papaya salad, I am pretty satisfied and don't need to eat much more, or any more. If I am still a bit peckish, I eat a very small portion of an entree, which is much more healthful than eating an entire serving (which is usually big enough for two anyway) of peanut curry.

          East African food is great too. Lots of lentils and vegetables, nothing is fried, and the injera is made from teff, which has a very good nutritional profile. I have loved the food at Dashen on East Lake, but haven't been there for a couple of months.

          We also eat/get take out from Crescent Moon, which is great. Again, lots of veggies and the meat is grilled and pretty lean.

          Otherwise, I try to watch the portion size, order a salad with my meal so I don't go overboard on the other stuff, almost never order anything that's fried, etc. Often I cut the portion in half immediately and decide to only eat half, so that I have a mental stopping point. If I'm still hungry, I can always eat more.

          1. I order apps, or split the main course with my chowspouse. That way we're eating only half as much and get to enjoy the entire presentation.

            1. Just came from the Barbary Fig. Had warm tuna, onions and black olives on a pita, followed by white bean rabbit cassoulet over a potato galette. This place has the best light food in town. Lots of vegetables and seafood, perfectly done and bursting with flavor.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Michael Florey

                Oh wow. That sounds wonderful. I need to get back there soon.

              2. I feel I must share my opinion on this thread, especially in light of my recent msg treatise
                in the Little Szechuan thread. For healthy and delicious food, go to Ecopolitan and order
                the Alfredo 'Pasta' dish. It's my favorite thing there, they use raw zucchini for the noodles,
                (this is a raw food restaurant),and make a wonderful creamy sauce out of macadamia
                nuts and cashews, rosemary, shallots, & olive oil, also some marinated mushrooms are
                in there, on top of a huge bed of excellent greens. Also they have a great parfait dessert
                with frozen almond/banana icecream and fruit in a huge parfait glass. Great smoothies/shakes too, including ones with young coconut which is an ecstatic
                experience. You can get just a young coconut opened for you and drink the water inside
                which is wonderful. Get the borscht if they have it. Don't be in a hurry though, they
                prepare stuff to order, which can take some time even though no cooking is going on.

                1. Thanks, Faith, for the report on Ecopolitan! I've been meaning to go there, especially as I want more vegetarian/vegan meals in my diet. The zucchini "pasta" sounds great! And the organic smoothies look really yummy.

                  I love young coconut juice, too - I always order it when I see it at one of the more "authentic" Vietnamese restaurants around town. I've had it at Hoa Bien and several other places along University Ave. in St. Paul. I'm pretty sure that Jasmine Deli has it, too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed about the nutritional figures - I *think* young coconut is better for you than coconut milk from a mature coconut...


                  1. Our favorite place for a quick healthy bite is the deli at Intelligent Nutrients on E. Hennepin.

                    Great salads, sandwiches and smoothies.

                    We also like stopping into Holy Land or the Eastside Coop on Central for a quick takeout bite. (The Holy Land buffet is a dieters most delicious nightmare.) Of course, if you're not already in NE, these might not be great choices.

                    1. Over the years, I have become less happy with Good Earth - and at least favor the variety that French Meadow offers. Even though soup and sandwich can get boring, there is a place called Urban Harvest (complete with a coffee bar area), that serves up some fantastic soups, salads and sandwiches with a variety of spreads, etc. - and they always have at least vegan soup option as well.

                      Also, Yum! Bakery over there on Excelsior - seems to be so darn trendy, but the food is pretty good and reasonably priced. I feel some of the portions are bigger, but if you split with a chowfriend, I think you'll be pleased by all of the choices.

                      Also, with tending to be high in sodium, pork bulgogi from Mirror of Korea, or your favorite Korean restaurant is a good option. I usually find the portion is big enough to share, eat a small portion of rice, and enjoy the myriad of little dishes that accompany Korean food -specifically kim chee (accustomed taste -but it is fermented pickled cabbage), marinated bean sprouts, another version of kimchee with squid in it and root vegetables - to name just a few.

                      Also, splitting a burrito at El Burrito mercado could be an option done right. Since it is cafeteria style -you can't really get chips unless you buy them within the super mercado - the salsa verde and salsa fresco are zingy and really well spiced so I don't miss my usual blow out of sour cream and cheese toppings. Since the meat is plentiful and flavorful - I can usually be stuffed without feeling like I've totally fallen off the wagon. I know- burritos and low cal? Not necessarily-but at least the option of incorporating it into a healthy lifestyle.