by Danielle Tobb ‘17
Eating habits formed during adolescence have an impact on the rest of one’s life. Forming poor eating habits during the teen years can potentially evolve into obesity, diabetes, or heart disease later in life. Current unacceptable eating habits need to be improved if teens want to be fit for the duration of their lives. Below are five restaurants in Olney and Rockville that were rated based on healthiness. To be considered “healthy,” meals must have a healthy amount of saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. The restaurant also needs to offer sides of fruits or vegetables, and fried foods cannot be a majority of the menu. Lastly, entrées containing less than 600 calories must be available, and gluten-free/vegetarian options are a necessity.
Freshii (*****) Located in Rockville, Freshii is a healthy foodie’s dream. Freshii’s salads and wraps consist of an assortment of fresh vegetables and low-fat dressings. The noodle/rice bowls are packed with protein-rich foods such as tofu, chicken, steak, or turkey. For an even healthier meal, the bowl can also be prepared with a kale or quinoa base. If that isn’t enough, Freshii also has a juice and smoothie bar. Ranging from a Mighty Detox Juice to a Powerhouse Smoothie, this restaurant has it all. There are no fried foods on the menu, and most of the offerings can be made vegetarian or gluten-free.
Vegetable Garden (*****)This Chinese restaurant in Silver Spring puts a unique spin on the typical healthy foods. The menu is completely vegan, and most options are gluten-free. One may be skeptical to try a vegan restaurant, but the meals are truly delicious. A staple on the menu is the Yellow Bird, which includes zucchini, yellow squash, mushroom, carrots, and tofu. The Vegetable Garden uses only organic ingredients. Astonishingly, items have a healthy amount of sodium in them, despite being a Chinese Restaurant.
Silver Diner (****) The eatery in Rockville and other Montgomery County locations is a pioneering restaurant in heart-healthy options. The restaurant dedicates an entire section on their menu to healthier options, including grilled flounder with reduced sodium ginger teriyaki sauce and fresh veggies. The Silver Diner also has an substantial number of gluten-free and vegan meals, and offers meals that are fewer than 600 calories on their menu. This restaurant offers a scrumptious and fairly inexpensive way to eat out in a healthy way, as long as one avoids the fried, tempting diner foods.
Panera (****) The chain’s menu features one of the largest varieties of healthy options compared to other fast food establishments. A stable meal for health-conscious individuals is the Power Mediterranean Roasted Turkey Salad. This item off of Panera’s secret menu (a list of healthy options that are not officially listed on their regular menu that you have to request) is packed full of all-natural, antibiotic-free turkey, romaine lettuce, red onions and other vegetables. Panera also makes available to its customers a book containing all of the calories, cholesterol, etc. found in every meal and item sold at the eatery. Although this sounds like an overwhelmingly healthy restaurant, be careful not to order high sodium items such as the broccoli cheddar soup. Overall, Panera is a good option for individuals who want to eat out, be health conscience, and not blow a wad of cash.
The Mykonos Grill (***) The Greek restaurant in Rockville offers a menu that allows diners to eat smaller, healthier portions. Mezedes, or small plates, include vegetarian options such as the melt-in-your-mouth Spanakopita. Entrées are always served with a large amount of fresh vegetables. The Mykonos Grill extends a traditional and healthy Greek meal to all that eat at their restaurant. However, be sure not to order the fried squid, as it is very high in calories and fat. Also beware of their dips, which are very high in fat content. The Mykonos Grill offers a twist on the traditional “heart-healthy” food.
*=met no criteria
**=met 25 percent of criteria
***=met 50 percent of criteria
****=met 75 percent of criteria
*****=met all of the criteria