When I was little, I ate sticks of butter like lollipops. (Truth be told, I still would if health care and new pants weren’t so expensive.) I confess this only to prove that I am not a stick person who subsists on quinoa and kale. I don’t use “juice” as a verb, I eat cheese every day, and I believe seitan is the work of the devil, so if you’re looking for a guide to the city’s most organic tofu or whatever, I can’t help.
But if you’re a regular person looking for healthier fare that’s flavorful and satisfying, Nashville’s got many ways to lighten up.
The Top 10 Healthy-ish Eats in Nashville:
I’ve already publicly seethed about the silliness of their name, but EiO (“everything is organic”) is about as on brand as it gets for healthy-ish food. They’ve got all the aforementioned granola-y stuff (granola included) but they also offer bowls, juices and sauces that are savory and satisfying.
- Mushroom Bowl
- Hair of the Dog Juice (tomato, carrot, celery, cayenne)
- Roasted Chicken with Coconut Curry
Did you know a typical meal out starts at 1200 calories?
It’s true according to Nourishwise, a Nashville service that offers nutrition information (fat, calories, protein) for limited dishes at local restaurants.
The good news: Mitchell Deli’s famous Turkey Avocado sandwich is on the list at 770 calories and 30 grams of fat. I assume some of those 30 grams is “good fat” from the avocado, but you can check out all your Nourishwise options on the app, including:
- Turkey & Brie
- Roast Beef & Cheddar
- Nourishwise Salad
The app costs $5/month, and the first month is free.
With several locations, there’s always a Frothy Monkey nearby.
Healthy items include:
- Quinoa & Black Bean Burger
- Make-your-own salad
- Fresh soups, and
- The PMP sandwich (prosciutto, mozzarella, provolone, avocado, lettuce, tomato, basil mayo)
The last one is a stretch for health food, but if you’re craving pizza, the flavors in this sandwich make for a tasty lighter alternative.
West Nashvillians rejoice: Woodlands Indian Vegetarian cuisine has reopened on West End after a months-long closure.
Their buffet offers some of the best Indian and best vegetarian cuisine in town, as well as gluten-free options. Plus the food is well-spiced, impeccably sauced and packed with protein and grains, so your carnivore friends should have no complaints.
- Coconut Tomato Soup
- Baingan Bharta (roasted eggplant with tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices)
- Coconut Curry Cauliflower
- Titan Up (salmon, tuna, purple cabbage)
- Shoyu (classic tuna with sweet onion)
- Ponzu Kale (salmon, red onion, kale)
They’ve also recently rolled out a new zucchini noodle option if you’re looking to limit your carbs, and you can build-your-own poke bowl or burrito.
Kalamata’s has the best hummus in town, full stop. Served with warm pitas, paprika and a drizzle of olive oil, it’s so earthy and creamy you could almost replace all other dips in your life with it — almost (Pancho’s forever).
Other healthy options include:
- Tomato Florentine Soup
- Grilled Chicken Salad (anything with their zingy, herby salad dressing is fantastic)
- Lamb Gyro with Rice
Pro tip: Get a pint of hummus and pitas for your next party. Sabra won’t stand a chance.
Full disclosure: If you’re going to eat healthy-ish at Bajo Sexto, you’re going to have to turn down the Animal Nachos, which basically have erry damn thing in the kitchen on them, are awesome and would require you to work out for 24 hours straight to burn them off.
That said, Bajo is serving some lighter Mexican fare, especially on their specials menu or through the Nourishwise app. They’ve also got a delicious Skinny Paloma if you’re splurging on some spirits.
- Crudo or Ceviche (market fish)
- Sexto Salad (chicken, pico de gallo, cilantro-lime vinaigrette)
- Chipotle Chicken Taco
This new hotspot answered a lot of East Nashvillians’ prayers for fast, fresh, healthy fare.
The menu is small, straightforward and eclectic, so it should please a number of palates.
- Cold Borscht
- Farro Salad (Miso ranch? Yes, please.)
- Roze Bowl (Featuring the trifecta of fiberful foods: lentils, quinoa and kale)
The locally sourced, sustainably raised food at Butcher & Bee will leave you full of food and pride for your socially conscious eating choices.
From fire-roasted carrots to shaved celery salad to maple citrus beets, you can’t go wrong with whatever’s in their seasonal rotation.
- Whipped Feta (I said healthy-ish; Don’t @ me)
- Grilled Cauliflower
- Chicken Shawarma
Also, as soon as they put the Seared Wild Mushroom back on the menu, BE ABOUT IT. I would happily trade my next five steaks for one of those.
While I will never be able to cosign seitan, my vegetarian friends insist East Nashville’s Wild Cow is the best in the biz for that sort of thing.
They’ve got inventive bowls that boast big flavors (buffalo and peanut sauces) as well as what I’m told is the best approximation of a French dip a vegetarian could hope for.
I die as I type that, Unsung Nashville. Don’t say I never did anything for you.