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Healthy eating in LA

Where do all y'all like to eat out in LA when watching your calories? Any good suggestions about places and/or dishes you like when you're keeping it healthful?

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  1. the spot in hermosa beach
    bhrat bazaar/ samosa house in culver city/west la
    shamshiri in westwood
    thai boom
    simply wholesome in inglewood
    rahel on fairfax
    ayara thai cuisine near LAX

    9 Replies
      1. re: hungrygirl106

        At The Spot in Hermosa, the Spot Chef salad with Tahini dressing and lots of extra warm savory sauce on the side.

        At Shamshiri, they make an unbelievably tasty lamb fesenjan ... that's pureed walnut/pomegranate sauce with a lamb shank. A really healthy appetizer option is the panir al sabhzi, which is a bunch of fresh herbs, delicious feta, walnuts and pita... sounds basic but so worth it (sprinkle the red sumac powder on it). For dessert though, you have to have the rose ice cream.

        1. re: Cinnamon

          that lamb fesenjan at shamshiri is VERY caloric, WELL over a thousand calories for the dish.
          their vegetarian ghormeh sabzi, though, is much more calorically reasonable--especially if you can control yourself around the rice and bread with which it is served.

          1. re: Cinnamon

            I LOVE the Spot's Mexican sauce. I'm a die-hard carnivore, but I always go back for their enchiladas.

            1. re: EliseT

              next time have them douse your food with the mexican sauce AND get their salsa on the side.

              1. re: westsidegal

                I'm partial to the Dear Bubba. I basically can't order anything else. It sounds boring, but it's great. Collards, beans (I get pinto), brown rice, with their savory sauce, salsa, and cornbread. The cornbread is a little dry and not sweet enough, but is reasonably palatable with some honey on it.

                All that said, I would not recommend this place to someone who doesn't like kinda boring 70s style veg food. I took the gf there yesterday because we were in the South Bay, and she hated it (granted, that's the reason I've avoided taking her there before). I should have given her a warning against ordering anything Mexican on the menu - she got the tacos and didn't like them at all.

          2. re: hungrygirl106

            at ayara thai cuisine they have a whole portion of the menu called 'from the wok.'
            i'd order anything from that portion and have them make it with tofu. if you order the prik king tell them you want them to make it 'easy on the oil'

            at thai boom, my two favorites are:
            the green mango salad made with steamed tofu
            pla prik pao made with steamed tofu and ordered "easy on the oil"

            both these restaurants will be happy to serve brown rice instead of white rice (much healthier).

            1. re: westsidegal

              Keep in mind that anything stir fried, even vegetables, is usually dropped into the deep frying oil for just a few seconds.

          3. re: westsidegal

            Persian food, healthy?!? oh nononono. the only thing that would fit that description is the sabzi (fresh herbs) as an appetizer. Fesenjan is one of the heaviest persian dishes that is practically all pureed walnuts. Yes, nuts are healthy, but that doesn't mean more nuts are healthier.

            If anything, ask for white meat chicken kabob ("chicken barg") and ask for NO butter. A lot of dishes in restaurants have clarified butter (ghee) dribbled over and brushed over everything to make it extra tasty. Control yourself with the rice (I know, it's hard) or ask to swap with a green salad.

          4. *Sashimi at Sushi Gen in downtown, or Z's in Alhambra
            *The butterfish with sizzling soy dressing dish at Roy's. I ask for extra veggies and no rice.
            *At almost any Greek place: chicken kebob, no rice or pita, with tabbouleh and hummus.
            *If I'm eating fancy, I'll get a rare filet mignon with a side of steamed spinach.
            *Extra spicy tuna roll box from Famima!! (they have nutritional info on all their prepackaged foods). Oh and their almond tofu is a good, lo-cal dessert.
            *The Eggs from Hell from Coffee Table in Eagle Rock, but I ask for egg whites only, and easy cheese and no potatoes. It's just a very spicy eggwhite scramble with black beans, salsa and one tortilla.
            *I can usually find pretty healthy soup (non creamy) at various lunch spots, so that and a side salad is satisfying.
            *Lots of places have healthy salads - just ask for the dressing on the side. Favorite salad places include Daily Grill, Granville Cafe in Burbank, and lots of cafes (names escape me at the moment) in the downtown area that specialize in salads.


            1. Rahel
              Follow Your HEart
              Sashimi anywhere
              Real Food Daily
              The Dressing Room
              Gelson's Salad Bar

              1. Vegan Plate in Studio City.

                I'm not a vegan or vegetarian, but my wife & I went there for dinner one night and I was PLEASANTLY surprised at how good the food was

                2 Replies
                1. re: mechugena

                  I've always wanted to try it..are there a lot of nuts and peanuts?

                  1. re: Diana

                    I don't recall exactly. It's Thai-style vegan food, so there's a lot of soy. They do have Almond Milk on the menu as a drink...boy how I love that stuff!

                  1. I second Real Food Daily and The Spot. As far as veg places, Native Foods is mostly higher fat stuff, but I like their macrobiotic bowl. M Cafe de Chaya (macro place on Melrose) is decent... mostly vegetarian, but a lot of fish options too. I'm not sure how low-fat their desserts are, but they're pretty good.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: will47

                      I am obsessed with M Cafe -- love, love, love it.

                      1. re: will47

                        at least their bowls (my personal favorite is the rockin' morrocan) are portion controlled.

                      2. I like M Cafe de Chaya lot because the food actually tastes good, but it makes no claims to be low-fat, low-cal or low-sugar for that matter. Many of the dressings are quite oily, and the barbecue seitan sandwich is quite tasty but must have about 1000 calories. I love this place but let the eater beware.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Chowpatty

                          Chowpatty, you are absolutely right about M Cafe. It may be more healthful than other places, but it's still got the potential to be a calorie-fest. When I'm being "good," I order the teriyaki bowl with steamed vegetables and either black cod or salmon. I measured the contents of the bowl at home and found that the dish breaks down to 1 cup of brown rice, 2 to 2.5 ounces of fish, and the rest is the steamed veggies, which I did not measure. So if nothing else, I know that particular item is a good choice. Meanwhile, I also love their spicy kale salad, which probably isn't as low-cal and low-fat....

                        2. Daichan in Studio City (same little plaza as Nozawa) has many very healthy dishes. Last night I had salmon "kawachi" which was a nice piece of salmon in a sweet/sour vinegar sauce topped with cabbage, scallions, tons of that delicious pink pickled ginger, lettuce, radish. This came in its own large bowl, with a separate bowl of rice (I chose brown rice for an extra buck), cold steamed carrots and green beans, shredded green cabbage, and a little of the cold Japanese spaghetti w/mayo (which you don't have to eat if you're really watching it). It was extremely delicious and satisfying and a lot of food for about $10.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Debbie W

                            Sounds great. Does anybody know of a place on the other side of the hill (ideally West Hollywood-ish) that offers something similar?

                          2. Gelson's (deli salads (watch out for mayo tho), fresh carved turkey breast, etc.)

                            Fish King (they'll grill any fish they've got and although they typically do slather on lemon-butter or teriyaki, I ask that it be grilled w/ olive oil only and they're happy to do it. I usually do a half pound each of wild salmon and either ono, snapper or tilapia.)

                            When I'm trying to eat healthy my diet usually centers around protein and fruit. (And caffeine.)

                            4 Replies
                                  1. re: hungrygirl106

                                    Fish King is a GREAT fish market in Glendale, with a little 'galley' off to the side where they sell prepared food. Their prepared salads aren't nearly as good as those at Gelsons but they do have a calamari salad that isn't bad, and an octopus salad that is killer.

                                    They have chunks of various sashimi grade fish too if you like to slice your own to add to a salad or whatever.


                            1. GOOD CHOICES:
                              California Chicken Cafe/Koo Koo Roos (generally rotisserie chicken is not bad)
                              Wendy's for salad & small chili
                              Sushi or salad

                              OKAY CHOICES:
                              In N Out cheeseburger meal (only 600 calories with diet soda, but there is high saturated fat, better than other burger joints)

                              THE WORST:
                              Corner Bakery (over 1000 calories for salad and more than 100% of your daily saturated fat!)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: WHills

                                I've never heard of Corner Bakery (good thing because I can only imagine a 1000 calorie salad would be vile) but I would think Souplantation would be the worst option -- way too easy to overeat. I mean, there are, literally, buckets of chocolate pudding at that counter.

                                1. re: hungrygirl106

                                  Yes, I was shocked about Corner Bakery also until I ran into this site: http://www.calorie-count.com/calories....

                                  It's really terrible for you, and you would never suspect it either.

                              2. check out the Mustard Seed Cafe on Hillhurst in Los Feliz. They have some tasty salads, and everything I've ever had there always tastes very fresh, which makes me feel healthier.

                                1. Jack Sprats at Overland and Pico in West LA or Tender Greens (http://www.tendergreensfood.com/) or the Newsroom Cafe on Robertson (and I think that Eddie opened up another one in Santa Monica as well).

                                  1. The Firehouse in Venice is a place where a lot of people go post Golds Gym workout. Most of the regulars there are on diets, and the menu reflects that i.e. egg whites cooked with no oil or salt, as are the steaks and chicken breasts and pancakes. They offer something I like the "Buffalo Scramble" which is Buffalo, egg whties, cilantro, and tomatoes (it's not seasoned with anything).

                                    For carbs they offer sweet potato, baked potato, rice, steamed broc all prepared bare bones.

                                    They also have other items for the days when you aren't watching the diet (you need one of those now and then).

                                    When I know I have to load up on carbs, I get the blueberry buckwheat pancakes.

                                    1. based on your positive opinion of m cafe (which i also like very much), i would add 2 more places that i do not believe have been mentioned:

                                      axe in venice

                                      ammo on highland (near sanata monica blvd.

                                      1. When I'm trying to be "good" I usually order:

                                        Steamed mussels or clams with a side salad - most bistros have this
                                        Grilled fish (or any seafood for that matter!) - anywhere!
                                        A side of carne asada with or pollo asado with a salad - any taco joint
                                        A turkey burger with no bun (When I'm trying to be healthy I try to keep my carbs down but you could probably have the bun if you're not a carb-watcher)
                                        Sashimi with seaweed salad or octopus salad - any sushi place
                                        Tom Yum soups - any Thai joint
                                        Egg-white scramble with chicken breast, mushrooms, feta etc - my favourite is at the Brickhouse Kitchen in Venice
                                        Chicken barg kabob or beef barg kabob with no bread or rice, side of shirazi salad - any Persian place, I usually order from Tajrish in MDR because they deliver

                                        Sorry I'm not more specific about actual restaurants but I eat all over the place and these are all pretty easy to find options.

                                        1. I love Tom Yum soup with shrimp! Very healthy, too. In my neighborhood I like it best from Simply Thai on Hillhurst - great mushrooms and shrimp.

                                          1. I eat at all the places I love, but I control the portions. Doing that and exercising has helped me lose a lot of weight over the last two years. Depriving yourself of food you like will only lead to colossal disasters down the road when you rebel against your strict, fun-less diet and decide that you're depriving yourself of the things in life that you love. So, skimp calories on the foods that don't matter much to you and keep enjoying the foods that you love within reason. For example, I cut out the cookie that I got in the cafeteria everyday at lunch that was OK, but was hardly memorable. That saved me 150 calories a day or so. I don't miss that cookie at all. But I still eat the tamales, queso fundido, bread, etc. that I love.

                                            1. When you eat out as much as we do, it's hard to strike a good balance. I was hoping to find other good local options in addition to sushi, Ita-Cho, M Chaya, etc.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: hungrygirl106

                                                We eat out often, too. You just have to choose wisely, and sometimes special request the kitchen to prepare dishes. For example, always have them hold the salad dressing to the side; ask for no or less MSG; ask for wheat instead of white. Some dishes can be deceiving; for example, tuna salad with its mayo is quite heavy, so unless it's a salad with tuna on top, avoid.

                                                For the westside, good places include Joan's on Third, The Farm, Coral Tree Cafe. Even with fine dining places like LaCachette and Angelini Osteria (yes, great fish and salads!) offer healthy choices. Chains like Grand Luxe Cafe might be even better because they offer a wider variety for everyone to choose from. Good luck and happy eating!

                                                1. re: chica

                                                  I agree with Chica, it's all about making smarter choices at the places you love. That way, you still get to enjoy the experience of dining in your fave spots without wreaking havoc on your waistline. Everywhere (with the possible exception of sportsbar type joints) has at least a couple of healthy options!

                                              2. I always love hugos -- they do incredible things with mung beans -- but I would watch for the portion size.
                                                Also, Toast -- they have great salads (ask for the dressing on the side).

                                                1. Just spent a day in LA last summer, and found a surprisingly great spot in a mall area in Manhattan Beach, called LA Food Show. I got a tuna burger, which came with a side of broccoli, which turned out to be an entire head, steamed! Not too expensive, and definitely a lot of healthy options. Not sure how the dinner options would be, but for lunch it was fantastic considering we weren't expecting anything special!

                                                  1. Probably a few repeaters, but here goes...

                                                    Sashimi or cut rolls made w/o rice (yes they'll do it... even at Nobu... and I prefer soy paper to nori)
                                                    Shabu Shabu if you don't have the rice or junkier sauces
                                                    Newsroom Cafe
                                                    California Chicken Cafe or Koo Koo Roo for no frills chicken and sides
                                                    Eduardo's/La Salsa/Baja for quick sides of charbroiled chicken mixed w/ heaps of salsa for flavor
                                                    Ralph's salad bar or Gelson's or Whole Foods
                                                    Fritto Misto for pasta sauces w/ veggies subbed for pasta
                                                    Cha Cha Cha's grilled veggie salad w/ shrimp
                                                    Ruth's Chris for a lobster and steamed side dishes and a wedge salad w/o cheese
                                                    Catch 21 for healthy fish
                                                    Mao's Kitchen for Chinese
                                                    Uncle Chen's in Encino for customized chinese w/ or w/o sugar, oil, cornstarch, salt (love their garlic eggplant w/ chicken and/or shrimp and/or scallops)
                                                    Kung Pao Bistro is accomodating
                                                    Jack Spratt's Grille
                                                    Eat Well for omelettes and salads
                                                    Mongolian BBQ w/o noodles or oil, and I get them to clean the grill first (they have to do it every so often anyhoo)
                                                    Delmonico's for blackened shrimp and a pile of steamed spinach and/or ceviche
                                                    CPK for salads w/o the junk and vinegar or their FF dressing on the side
                                                    Sisley for the Chopped salad sans cheese and the grilled veggie app sans oil
                                                    Family likes Tony Romas for chicken and a baked potato (and if you get the veggies you have to specify no butter or they come drenched)
                                                    Maria's for Chicken Primavera (no oil) and the chopped salad w/o cheese
                                                    Jerry's for egg white omelettes (the only thing they do well and clean)

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                      for mongolian bbq, my favorite place is BIG WOK on sepulveda in manhattan beach. unlike some of the other places, they don't try to make you add any pasta, nor do they limit the amount/proportion of tofu that you can have.
                                                      also, despite what their menu says, it is all-you-can-eat at every meal. this allows me to have an all-veggie second course that causes the meal to fill me up well past dinner time.

                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                        One option at Mexican/Salvadoran places is a large soup, cocida, sopa de pollo, shrimp, fish, etc. Filled with broth, lots of veggies and you don't have to eat the rice of tortillas that usually comes with it. In Salvadoran places I ask for the chicken to be served separately and ask for a breast, they're usually more than happy to oblige. Soup fills you up!

                                                    2. Superbowl's Pho Tai for dinner. They have the least greasy pho in the San Gabriel Valley. I always finish the soup and vegatables before eating all of the noodles. I also eat at Zankou too. Usually a roast chicken sandwich or half of the 1/4 white plate.

                                                      I have a salad under 400 calories from Trader Joe's for lunch. Breakfast - oatmeal in vanilla soymilk. You will lose weight and save money eating this stuff!