Healthy Doesn’t Have to Mean Ho-Hum Making smart dining choices is now as much about choice as it is about smart.

by Amanda Jean Elliott

Another Broken Egg's Quinoa Power Bowl

Healthy eating just isn’t what it once was. With new revelations about superfoods, the benefits of eating locally sourced goods and research that supports focusing on whole foods, eating right is an entirely new animal (or not, if you’re vegan).

“Eating healthy used to be defined by restriction and exclusions,” says Walter Jamison of Mortar & Pestle, a gluten-free local eatery with vegan options and fresh juice. “Now it’s about what can you add to your diet to make it healthier. It’s about inclusion.”

The customer at Mortar is definitely not the average, as the menu is centered around local produce, diabetic-friendly eats and unique options that are allergen friendly.

“My favorite breakfast we have that’s very healthy and balanced is the paleo pancakes, which are made from bananas and flaxseeds and Brazil nuts with a cashew cream sauce,” Jamison says.

While the Mortar customer is clearly looking for a more unique dietary experience, restaurants like Another Broken Egg are increasingly offering new options that run the gamut from decadent to all-out superfood healthy as well.

“We are actually a test restaurant for a new menu, which includes ‘sensible selections,’ including the popular skinny omelet,” says Broken Egg Assistant Manager Gabby Dubroc.

The new addition is made from egg whites with goat cheese and red peppers and is served with fruit. The other new omelet is a Monterey option with egg whites and baked chicken with avocado, tomatoes and a side of salsa.

“It’s delicious,” says Dubroc, whose favorite option on the new menu is the Quinoa Power Bowl, a cold salad with roasted chicken, pickled beets and a unique dressing of local honey jalapeño vinaigrette. Another Broken Egg also offers a granola and quinoa breakfast option with coconut milk and coconut-crusted bananas.

The restaurant seeks a balance between the decadent and the healthy to keep all customers satisfied.

“Our menu is split. We have people from River Ranch where it’s all about City Club and exercise and they run in the mornings, and then on the weekends more families. It’s a fun mix. We have, for example, six kinds of pancakes. We have our regulars that may come every day and eat healthy and then splurge on the weekends,” Dubroc says.

At Dark Roux, the focus on locally sourced items lends the menu toward eating that is healthy yet rich, thanks to the creative efforts of chef and owner Ryan Trahan.

“Ryan is a creative genius. People come in and say, ‘This menu is different than it was yesterday,” says mixologist Paige Hanson. “We’re always using the freshest and best possible produce in season no matter what.”

While you never know what eats Dark Roux may hold, one for the New Year that’s likely to stick around is the Southern Breakfast bowl. It’s a healthy option with redfish, a scrambled farm egg, red onions and savory cane syrup.

New twists on homemade kombucha, a fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened tea with powerful healthy probiotics, will continue in the New Year. “We have the black tea and green tea version and recently started working on different flavors of whatever is in season,” Hanson says, noting recent flavors like blackberry and a lemon/ ginger combo.