The one Christmas present you got that you weren't asking for? Ah yes, the dreaded holiday weight. It's inevitable. In Minnesota, consistent days of celebrating the holidays means one thing -- consistent days of eating tons of food, and not just any food but big, holiday meals and lots of sweet treats.
So now that the holidays are nearing an end, it's time to get back to regular eating habits and hopefully shed those extra pounds. But that doesn't mean you have to stay cooped up inside only eating bland vegetables and gnawing on whole grains. There are plenty of places to get your local and your healthy on around the Twin Cities.
Here's just a few of our favorites. Feel free to comment and share your favorite healthy eateries, as well! I'm sure there are a number that I've missed -- healthy eating isn't exactly my strong suit.
Birchwood is a little neighborhood-oriented joint that's not only serving up great food but local, fresh and healthy food. The menu is full of options, from breakfast and brunch to gourmet dinners. The cuisine is always nice and light, not heavy and weighed down, and doesn't compromise for flavor.
The message at Good Earth is simple -- "The more direct our connection to the plant, the better off we are." This applies to the quality of their food, the flavors coming from their kitchens and the tight knit relationships with local growers and organic suppliers. At Good Earth, the food is natural, not processed, and in turn a treat for the tastebuds as well as the waistline.
For more than 20 years, Trotters Café has been an institution of local, fresh flavors and high-quality ingredients. Sandwiches are prepared with whole grain bread, homemade whole grain breadsticks accompany salads and fresh soups and the dinner entrees have a way of making crisp vegetables the star. Check the website to see "What's Fresh" and find dishes to match.
Tanpopo Noodle Shop
Japanese cooking is not always the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of healthy cuisine, but perhaps it should be. At Tanpopo, the dishes are made with the finest, freshest ingredients, including as much organic items as possible, and contain no MSG. Locally grown products from the city's farmer's market make the menu sing through seasonal dishes and the best of hot soba or udon noodles.
French Meadow Café
At French Meadow, whether it's the finest in brunching or the tastiest tidbits in lunching, the fresh ingredients and organic emphasis make eating healthy here a breeze. Vegan and vegetarian entrees are plentiful, offering enough zest for even the biggest meat eater to ditch the protein for a night. And I have yet to try an organic pasta dish that I haven't liked.
Healthy is no joke at Ecopolitan. Here organic, vegan raw isn't just a few options on the menu, it's the entire thing. Their focus on 100 percent uncooked, plant-based meals with 100 percent organically grown ingredients is truly incredible. There are no additives here, no toxic processing -- just clean, and healthy, fresh food.
Spoonriver has been proud to serve some of the healthiest, most natural fine-dining cuisine since 2006. Here, the ever-growing commitment to serving local, organic food goes beyond the inception of this dining establishment. Miss Brenda Langton, one of its owners, has made quite a name for herself in bringing local, sustainable food into the Twin Cities realm, ensuring it's always combined with delicious flavors and satisfying meals. Langton even shares what she's learned with students and at speaking engagements, all on the basis of good food for a healthy diet.
Sara Boyd is a web producer and columnist at WCCO.COM.
for more features.