Downtown Dining Decisions

It’s finally April, and New Year’s resolutions of healthier eating have fallen off and been replaced with a greater desire to go out for a delicious meal delivered right to your table. Those vows of “bringing your lunch to school” no longer seem realistic, especially when stopping somewhere near ASU’s Downtown campus is so quick.

Bowl of Greens is a great option!

Bowl of Greens is a great option!

Going out to eat near campus doesn’t have to put an end to your resolution of eating healthier. Most restaurants Downtown include just-as-good, healthy options in addition to some of the less nutritious items on the menu.

Here are some students’ favorite spots downtown and their healthier options:

Corner Bakery Cafe – Arizona Center
Many students on the Downtown campus rave about Corner Bakery, and with good reason! Their fresh, comforting food and relaxed environment make it ideal for studying or hanging out with friends. A few food swaps also make it a healthy choice.

  • Egg whites: There are lots of breakfast scramblers and sandwiches that can be high in calories. Asking for only egg whites instead of the whole egg can drop the calorie count by almost 200 on some dishes! It hardly tastes different and still offers plenty of protein and flavor.
  • Combos: Staying healthy is all about portion control. Corner Bakery makes that easy by offering sandwich and salad combos. You can still have half of a sandwich or soup, but you can also pair it with a low-calorie salad. My favorite is the California Grille Panini paired with a garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette, which is a filling 410 calories.
  • Pastries: If you can’t walk by their pastries without giving in, indulge in the oatmeal raisin cookie — the healthiest option — and enjoy it!

Jimmy John’s – CityScape
Sub sandwiches delivered right to your door might be the greatest invention of all time, especially with Jimmy John’s’ unbelievable French bread (which has fewer calories than their seven-grain wheat bread option — even though the wheat sounds healthier). It’s my go-to for when I’m looking for something super quick and just have that craving that can only be satisfied by Jimmy John’s.

  • Turkey Tom: I’ve tried a few other sandwiches, but I always go back to the classic Turkey Tom. Order it with extra veggies and light mayo, and you have yourself a well-rounded, healthy meal!
  • Unwich: If you’re really trying to cut carbs or gluten, try the unwich –sandwich fillings in a lettuce wrap. I recommend ordering extra meat so you’re not sacrificing too much flavor or filling protein.

Matt’s Big Breakfast – 825 N. First St.
Matt’s Big Breakfast is classic breakfast served in a classic diner and perfect for a weekend brunch!

  • Classic Breakfast: It can be hard to sacrifice a plate of waffles for a bowl of fruit, so I encourage you to get both. Just fill up a little on the fruit first, then dig into the less-healthy dish. Still enjoy it … just take some home for tomorrow’s breakfast.
  • Oats: Oatmeal is one of those healthy carbs that is necessary for optimal health and should be integrated into your diet. Ask for the toppings, such as milk, raisins and brown sugar, on the side and sweeten it as you go, so you don’t overdo it and save some calories. Still feel like you’re missing out? Get a side of bacon, hash browns or eggs so you still get a taste of the good stuff.

Starbucks Coffee – Taylor Place
Starbucks always has picturesque pastries on display that can easily lure a hungry college student in. If you look just below the sugary treats, you’ll see many delicious options that have significantly more nutritional value.

  • Protein Bistro Box: It’s the perfect combination of protein, healthy carbs and healthy fats in a portable box. There is plenty of flavor and it will keep you full for hours.
  • Evolution Products: Evolution, the relatively new brand that Starbucks is carrying, has some great granola bars, drinks and bags of nuts that fit perfectly in a “clean” eating plan.
  • Fruit: If there isn’t fresh fruit, there are dried fruit and bottled smoothies that offer a wide range of fruits to sip on. It’s still sweet, but not 500 calories per treat like the iced lemon pound cake is.

Bowl Of Greens – Walter Cronkite Building
Almost any choice you make at Bowl Of Greens will be healthier than other restaurants. There are a few choices that provide the most nutrition and plenty of flavor.

  • Vinaigrette: With whichever salad you create or order, get a vinaigrette dressing. It will likely be olive oil-based, which provides all of the omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies need. It helps us absorb all the other nutrients being consumed from the salad.
  • Protein: If you’re building your own salad, make sure you include beans in the four included toppings. If you’re willing to pay a little extra for premium toppings, get seeds/nuts, meat or a hard-boiled egg. Protein helps keep you full so you’re not snacking an hour later.

With smart choices and smarter eating, you can cut down on calories and still enjoy a great meal out!

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