Thursday, January 7, 2016

Resolve to Eat Mindfully for a Healthier New Year

Holiday excesses propel desires for new year successes. Perhaps that involves de-cluttering closets and desktops, hitting the gym, unrolling the yoga mat -- and cleaning up your plate. Atlanta restaurant menus prove mindful eating doesn’t mean monastic. Break from those push-ups and take a look at these healthier choices.

An invigorating stroll through Virginia-Highland leads to a savory square meal at 
Atkins Park Restaurant & Bar. Focus on every tender morsel of the herb-roasted Springer Mountain Farms chicken, dried cranberry and Brussels leaf salad, and creamed corn mashed potatoes ($16).

In Poncey-Highland, 
Café Highlands does a makeover on that faithful friend, falafel on warm pita. Their recipe uses black-eyed peas instead of garbanzos and adds a fried green tomato, cucumber and za'atar-yogurt dressing. Served with fries; we won’t tell if you sneak a few ($9).

Ormsby’s on Atlanta’s Westside plates an heirloom beet salad guaranteed to reboot your resolve to eat more veggies with its vibrant palette of arugula, Brussels sprouts, hearts of palm and tangy citrus vinaigrette ($9).

FLIP burger boutique in Buckhead and West Midtown (as well as Birmingham and Nashville) simply request lettuce wrapping a favorite burger to “leaf” the bun carbs behind. More power packers: the turkey burger with Monterey Jack cheese, crushed avocado, pomegranate ketchup, tomato and alfalfa sprouts ($8); raw tuna tartare patty with Asian pear, pine nuts, compressed veggies, mango sphere and avocado purée ($14); and the seared chicken-topped, veggie-loaded FLIP salad with pickled cukes, cauliflower and red onion ($10).

Pasta has its place on Italian tables, equally so, the fresh, crisp insalata di bietola at 
Bellina Alimentari in Midtown’s Ponce City Market. The colorful salad of roasted beets, escarole hearts and ricotta salata is punctuated by red wine vinegar dressing ($8).

Follow a power walk through Piedmont Park with the Mother Nature Salad at 
HOBNOB Neighborhood Tavern in Midtown. Grains and veggie gains are yours in this mix of quinoa, cucumber, edamame, avocado, garbanzos, tomatoes, pickled onions, cranberries, candied pecans and HOBNOB basil vinaigrette ($11.50).

Tipping toward tapas in Midtown? 
10th & Piedmont’s coconut scallop ceviche kicks blah days to the curb and jazzes taste buds with coconut, cilantro, spicy pepper, avocado and tortilla chips ($7.50).

Pulling up to Guy Wong’s 
Le Fat in West Midtown for a Vietnamese fix won’t weigh you down. Opt for Goi Cuon/summer rolls ($6), Goi Du Du/papaya salad ($10), Cai Xoan/kale salad with mango chickpea dressing ($7) or Bún/chilled vermicelli bowl with herb salad, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrot, crushed peanut and crispy spring roll and choice of sliced pork, chicken, shrimp or lemongrass beef ($16).

At Midtown’s 
Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar, choose a healthy Moroccan couscous with Israeli pearls and squash in harissa broth ($14) -- or achieve that goal of trying more locally sourced charcuterie meats and cheeses.

Check off the salad and seafood boxes on the “eat more” list at 
The Big Ketch Saltwater Grill in Buckhead and Roswell. The Mediterranean quinoa bowl with Meyer lemon vinaigrette and the tropical salad with toasted macadamia nuts, tropical fruit salsa and Key lime mango dressing are consummate salad choices, and guests can opt in on healthier blackened or grilled cooking methods for salmon, mahi-mahi, grouper and ahi tuna.

Lighter side tapas at 
Smokebelly BBQ in Buckhead won’t derail your diet plans. Try piquillo pepper hummus with carrots, celery and house-made crackers ($6.50), gluten-free and vegan jalapeño-cornbread cakes ($7.50) or chilled farro and green bean salad ($4.95). Smokebelly’s “skinny fixin’s” menu has even more options.

In The Shops Buckhead Atlanta, 
Gypsy Kitchen power plays tapas and snacks to eat solo or share including pickled beets ($6), marinated octopus salad with citrus and fennel ($8), roasted cauliflower and quinoa salad ($6) and grilled Spanish octopus ($15). Neighbor The Southern Gentleman knows there’s no sleeping on the job. Stay alert with lunch choices such as Boston bibb lettuce salad with pickled shrimp ($12) and roasted kabocha squash salad with Georgia pecans and onion vinaigrette ($10).

Jogging by one of the 27 
Willy’s Mexicana Grill locations in Atlanta (or Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport)? The Southwest chicken salad recharges the weary with crisp greens, chargrilled chicken, black beans, pico de gallo, corn salsa, Jack cheese, homemade guacamole and tortilla strips ($7.75).

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