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Summer is Coming...Where to find 'skinny' food

I love to eat, love to drink, but with Summer fast approaching, I tend to choose lighter fare or healthy food more so than Winter time. Where are your 'go to' places for healthy food? I realize everyone will probably have their own definition of 'healthy', but for the most part, take out, a particular dish or restaurant that doesn't leave you feeling like you have to unbutton your pants, do a lap around the block or detox from a ton of butter and richness? My stand by is the Fresh Rolls from Le's (formerly Pho Pasteur). Thai lettuce wraps are another favorite. For those chowhounds looking to keep the waistline trim, what do you eat?

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  1. I like the cafe at Brookline Healthworks for lunch.

    1. I am looking forward to returning to Grezzo for more raw food, but now with really good in-season produce! Check out the recent Globe article / review - 3 stars! http://www.boston.com/ae/food/restaur...

      1. You got it messed up, you're supposed to detox during the winter when it's dark, cold, dank and downright boring. Summer is here, time for fried clams, burgers on the grill, homemade ice cream, lobster rolls, chips, gin & tonic's and beer!

        1 Reply
        1. re: treb

          I actually agree with you! I try to keep it healthy during the week and go nuts on all of the above (sub rose and margaritas for the g&t for me) on the weekends. Some times I start my 'weekend' on Wednesday.

        2. I've been really enjoying the salads at City Slicker cafe -- nice mixture of greens, excellent toppings (perfectly ripe avocado, grape tomatoes, grilled chicken) and a roasted garlic dressing that is positively addictive. Actually makes me WANT a salad.

          City Slicker Cafe
          588 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

          1. "Healthy"? I'm.....I'm sorry, I'm unfamiliar with that word. Is it French? ;-b

            I actually have a few favorite spots to go to for healthy food when the weather gets warm. They include:

            -- Strip T's, Watertown (fresh soups, salads, sandwiches--love the Thai rollup there)

            -- D'Agostino's, Arlington Heights (good-to-excellent subs that I usually take on hikes or just to chill out outside--they have a terrific ham and cheese sub)

            -- Panera (DON'T LAUGH--I actually like some of their sandwiches, including the sierra turkey)

            -- Vinny's Superette, Somerville (again, excellent subs and sandwiches that I take to places such as Piers Park in Eastie or other outdoor areas nearby--my favorite might be the meatball sub, which isn't really healthy, but whatever)

            5 Replies
            1. re: hiddenboston

              This is my problem with "healthy" food at restaurants. The Sierra turkey sounds, by ingredients, to be a fine sandwich, and then you look on the Panera Bread site and discover these numbers for a half sandwich.

              Sierra Turkey Sandwich Cheese Focaccia - half portion
              Nutrition Facts
              Serving Size 6.75 ounces (192g)
              Servings Per Container 1
              Amount Per Serving
              Calories 480 Calories from Fat 240
              % Daily Value*
              Total Fat 27g 42%
              Saturated Fat 6g 30%
              Trans Fat 0g
              Cholesterol 45mg 15%
              Sodium 990mg 41%
              Total Carbohydrate 40g 13%
              Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
              Sugars 3g
              Protein 19g
              * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:
              Calories 2,000 2,500
              Total Fat Less Than 65g 80g
              Saturated Fat Less Than 20g 25g
              Cholesterol Less Than 300mg 300mg
              Sodium Less Than 2,400mg 2,400mg
              Total Carbs 300g 375g
              Dietary Fiber 25g 30g
              Calories per gram:
              Fat 9 • Carbohydrate 4 • Protein 4

              Ingredients: Focaccia with Cheese (unbleached enriched flour [wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid], water, natural wheat sour, salt, rye flour, wheat gluten, malted barley flour, soy lecithin, ascorbic acid, enzymes, olive oil blend [extra virgin olive oil, canola oil], yeast, calcium diphosphate, fava bean flour, dextrose, malted barley flour, distilled monoglycerides, wheat flour, wheat starch, soy lecithin, enzymes, ascorbic acid, asiago cheese [pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes], olive oil blend [extra virgin olive oil, canola oil]), turkey breasts (turkey breast, turkey broth, salt, brown sugar, sodium phosphate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite), chipotle mayonnaise (soybean oil, sour cream [cream, skim milk, corn-starch-modified, lactic and citric acid, gelatin, mono and diglycerides, guar gum, carrageenan, sodium phosphate, natural and artificial flavor, lactic acid culture], water, egg yolk, chipotle in adobo [chipotle pepper {water and dried chipotle pepper}, tomato paste, distilled vinegar, soybean oil, sugar, salt, spices, onion and garlic powder, caramel color], chipotle pepper puree [chipotle pepper, water, salt, vinegar, citric acid], distilled vinegar, contains less than 2% tomato paste, high fructose corn syrup, salt, mustard flour, polysorbate 60, natural hickory smoke flavor, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate as preservatives, caramel color, calcium disodium EDTA added to protect flavor, xanthan gum), red onion, field greens (may contain any of the following: frisee, wild arugula, mache, radicchio, green romaine hearts, tango, mizuna, green oak, green chard, lolla rosa, red chard, red romaine hearts, red leaf, red oak).

              1. re: smtucker

                27 grams of fat? No wonder I like it so much! And that's for a half sandwich? Wow. So that means that I usually have between 108 and 135 grams of fat at one sitting for a "healthy" meal (plus chips)? Good Lord, irony can be pretty ironic sometimes...

                1. re: smtucker

                  Yeah, I wouldn't call any of those subs and sandwiches "healthy" either. "Nice to eat outside" sure, but "healthy"? No.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    Hmmmmm.........(damn)........I know--the steamed pork and shrimp spring rolls from both Pho Hoa and Pho So 1 in Dorchester. I've brought those over to Castle Island a couple of times on a hot summer evening. Nice and light and summer-y.

                    There. I DO eat healthy stuff every so often! :-D

                  2. re: smtucker

                    I guess this might be a bit harsh, but, for goodness sake. It's focaccia! (Bread made with olive oil.) And cheese! Smothered in mayo! You expect that to be low-calorie?

                2. Rami's in Coolidge Corner has great Chicken Shawarma and the ingredients are really fresh and clean tasting. Bottega also in Coolidge Corner has the best sandwiches that you don't feel guilty about eating. Tomato Mozzarella sandwiches I hope are healthy. New England Soup Factory in Brookline Village has Gazpacho that is so good and skinny tuna salad which I live on. Sushi at Fugakyu always makes me feel as though I have eaten something healthy. JP licks has great fat free frozen coffee yogurt twists that feed my sweet tooth.

                  1. 1. The Clam Box, Ipswich
                    2. Farnhams, Essex
                    3. Village Restaurant, Essex
                    4. Fried Seafood Platter, almost anywhere decent
                    5. Everywhere else I like to eat all year round: Italian, Chinese, Steak, etc
                    6. Work out at the gym all year round
                    7. Everything in moderation.

                    1. If you like the fresh rolls from Le's, try the ones from Xinh Xinh in Chinatown. Salad rolls are my favorite, but I find Le's to be a bit disgusting. (Though maybe I didn't try the right kind? Both the tofu and the pork were flavorless and hard to get down.) I also like bun from vietnamese places. Big bowls of vermicelli, meats or tofu, and salad-y stuff. Very light and tasty.

                      Mostly in the summer I eat huge piles of fruits and vegetables from farmer's markets. They're starting up soon!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: maillard

                        I'm with you on Le's rolls, and the ones from Xinh Xinh are fantastic. I like the ones at Pho Hoa too.

                      2. Here's a post that's a few months old, but might be helpful


                        1. I've joked before that I lead a secret double life of health nut by day, chowhound by night, so anytime I can have a meal that satisfies both of my food personalities at once, it's a beautiful thing.

                          Enthusiastically second City Slicker. Not only are their salads tasty; they also have a number of pretty healthy (or at least solidly nutritious) entrees like swordfish and salmon, accompanied by a bunch of fairly healthy sides like sauteed broccolini, asparagus, and roasted potatoes.

                          A few other nutritious and tasty ideas:

                          Shabu shabu from Shabu Zen or Kaze
                          Grilled veggie burrito from Anna's
                          Roasted beet sandwich from Cafe Kiraz
                          Salads from Houston's and the Vault
                          Brown rice bibimbap from Chocho's
                          Turkey sandwich from Al's or the Italian Cafe (great bread offsets the bland-ish meat)
                          Nearly anything from Baraka Cafe

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: finlero

                            Thanks for the suggestions and the link to the previous posts. Most suggestions are for downtown area. I'm in Cambridge (love the beet sandwich from kirza btw), will travel but tend to avoid the Financial District. Have been meaning to try Baraka for some time and will try Sebastians in Kendall soon.

                            1. re: purslane

                              get the book eat this not this..... it helps when you are out and about!

                          2. I've been trying to slim down since February (finally lost that last 10 lbs of baby weight - and the baby is almost 2!) and I've been eating LOTS of sushi. As long as you don't get something with lots of mayo it's really good for you. I also have a new addiction for lunch - the chicken shawarma roll-up at Aceituna in Kendall. BUT I sub the garlic mayo (love that stuff) for their Turkish hot sauce, which I'm craving right now just writing about it. That hot sauce is so good. It reminds me of sambal oelek, but they told me its a Turkish base and they mix it up in house.

                            1. Japanese is often a good bet, get sashimi instead of sushi and have some miso soup. Maybe a salad too like ohitashi or seaweed. That said when I read "skinny food" I thought of O Ya, haha. makes your wallet skinny too.

                              Vietnamese, the banh mi must be a fraction of the calories of a "wWestern" sub, fresh spring rolls, bun.

                              I often get a kebab on salad from Greek places, go for grilled meat and lots of veggies.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Zatan

                                Big Fresh in Framingham has excellent food. It is a tiny place. You can dine in but I usually do takeout. Its address is listed as 341 Cochituate Road (Route 30) but it is actually on the road that runs between Route 30 and Route 9. From the Route 30 side, turn at McDonalds and from the Route 9 side turn at Walmart. I especially like their chicken meatball wrap and their wild salmon wrap. Their website is bigfreshfood.com/

                                1. re: edgewater

                                  The falafel/hummus/salad plate at Big Fresh is pretty tasty, too. I especially like it with the house-made piccalilli, tahini sauce and harissa. The pita that comes with it is whole wheat, too, I believe.

                                  1. re: bear

                                    Falafel might be tasty, but is NOT low-calorie, especially when paired with tahini. It's deep-fried chickpeas.

                              2. Lest I get slammed for not making any constructive comments (I've had to watch my weight my whole life, so I get impatient with folks who fool themselves about what they are eating) -- my suggestions: Asian noodle soup of any description, but ideally pho. (I'm not anti-carb,) Pho Pasteur is the ideal, but in a pinch I'll do Pho Lemongrass because it's close. Anna's burritos -- no cheese, no sour cream, no guac, but veggies and beans. Sushi of course (avoid spicy tuna, anything "crispy") Everything in moderation, watch portion sizes. (If you get a portion that you know is too big, salt it so it is inedible to prevent grazing when you're done.) Grilled fish, of course. Unfortunately the reason a lot of restaurant food tastes so good is that they add a lot of fat and salt! But I don't believe in deprivation -- as I said, portion control and balance.

                                1. I often get the Viet Vegetarian pho at Pho Viet in the Super 88 food court in Allston - lots of great veggies and nice steamed tofu triangles (but lots of noodles, so you can't be a carb-o-phobe). Pho Viet also has a good chicken salad w/a ton of shredded cabbage - very light - but here, as w/pho, salt is an issue too.

                                  Kabobs on salad w/dressing on the side at Farm Grill in Newton, or any other place are a decent choice.

                                  But really, when I want to eat low-cal, I just don't eat out . . . . even a lot of "good" menu choices are so much higher in calories than what we eat at home . . . .

                                  1. The Other Side at the Hynes T stop has lots of healthy stuff, as well as a small outdoor deck which is perfect for strolling in nice weather, good breakfast/brunch... and a variety of good and unhealthy beer choices..

                                    1. Greek Corner Restaurant on Mass Ave in Cambridge. Grilled meat, chicken or lean lamb, simple rice and lots of salad. Also, the combo platter app is the best thing there....veggies, feta, spreads.....but share it with the table....