March is National Nutrition Month, a campaign begun by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to inspire folks to eat healthier and incorporate more physical activity into their daily routine.
Are you ready to dive in?
Philadelphia may not have a reputation as the health-food capital of the world (thanks, cheesesteaks and soft pretzels!), but a growing number of health-centric restaurants are giving locals more options for nutritious eating than ever before.
Here are five wholesome dishes to add to your menu during National Nutrition Month. And the good news – you can find these fresh, whole foods at a host of fast-casual joints around Philadelphia.
1. Ziggy Burger at HipCityVeg
Photo courtesy of HipCityVeg
A good veggie burger can be hard to find, but Philly-based HipCityVeg gets it right with its Ziggy Burger. The 100-percent organic soy patty is topped with strips of smoked tempeh, a protein-rich superfood that’s been shown to, among other things, help lower cholesterol and boost muscle recovery after a workout. From there, it’s piled high with vibrant, locally sourced vegetables like lettuce, pickles, tomato and red onions. Go extra healthy and opt for caesar salad instead of the fries, and then splurge on the vegan milkshake of the month: the Mint Matcha Madness. It’s made with organic soy ice cream and milk and blended with ultra-healthy matcha green tea powder and peppermint, which is great for digestion.
2. Guacamole Greens at sweetgreen
Photo courtesy of sweetgreen
A salad during National Nutrition Month may be a bit on-the-nose, but the health benefits of a heaping bowl of fresh vegetables and whole grains can hardly be overstated. You’ll find all that in abundance at salad emporium sweetgreen, which operates six locations in the Philadelphia region. Head over for lunch one day to try the Guacamole Greens salad. It’s loaded with vitamin-rich mesclun greens, avocado for a boost of healthy fats and sustainably sourced roasted chicken (which can be replaced with tofu for a vegetarian option). A smattering of tortilla chips give it a welcome crunch. Expert tip: The lines at sweetgreen, especially at lunchtime, can be burdensome. For hassle- and stress-free service, place your order via the restaurant’s app. Then all you have to do is walk in and pick it up.
3. Green Balance smoothie at Sip-N-Glo
Photo courtesy of Sip-N-Glo
When you’re in a salad rut (it happens to the best of us!), it can be hard to get your daily dose of green vegetables. That’s where the Green Balance smoothie at Philly-based Sip-N-Glo Juicery comes in. The nutrient-packed drink is loaded with not one but two powerhouse greens: kale and spinach. That’s blended with an almond-milk base and a helping of chia seeds and a plant-based chocolate protein powder that gives it an earthy chocolate milk kind of taste. It clocks in at a meager 231 calories and provides a whopping 26 grams of protein. You can boost the nutrient profile by adding in some superfoods like goji berries, spirulina or almond butter.
4. Hummus at Dizengoff
Photo courtesy of Alexandra Hawkins
The Mediterranean Diet is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It’s characterized by mostly plant-based ingredients like olive oil, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables that have been shown to boost heart health and promote longevity. For a quick and delicious Mediterranean-inspired snack, head to Dizengoff for a hearty helping of hummus. The restaurant makes it fresh every day with olive oil, chickpeas and a rich — and healthy! — sesame seed-based mixture called tahini. You can have it plain with freshly baked pita, a chopped salad and Israeli pickles, or topped with a rotating selection of garnishes like avocado, peppers and walnuts.
5. Dessert at Sweet Freedom Bakery
Photo courtesy of Sweet Freedom Bakery
After all this healthy eating, you deserve something sweet — but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice good nutrition. South Street’s Sweet Freedom Bakery cranks out some of the most delicious vegan treats in town, all while avoiding gluten, refined sugar and sometimes-problematic ingredients like soy, peanuts, corn and eggs. You can’t go wrong with one of the cookie sandwiches, which is basically a hefty dollop of coconut milk-based frosting smashed between two vegan cookies. The Magic Bars are also, well, magical, made with ingredients like brown rice flour, vegan chocolate chips, coconut oil and maple syrup. Go ahead, indulge yourself — but remember even the most wholesome desserts should be enjoyed in moderation.
Eating a well-balanced diet is key to any healthy lifestyle, but sometimes even the healthiest among us can find ourselves under the weather. If you’re feeling icky, remember to stop into a vybe urgent care center near you for quick, efficient treatment. We treat all kinds of common ailments — from colds and seasonal allergies to pesky aches and pains — and offer routine check-ups to make sure you’re running on all cylinders.
Be well, but if you’re ever in need of quality healthcare, stop into your local vybe urgent care and be seen.