Put most simply, metabolism is the term used to describe the chemical processes responsible for maintaining life.

There is a lot of information surrounding this subject – especially when it comes to exercise and nutrition. With that, of course, comes myths. Below are 5 common myths about metabolism, debunked!

Myth #1: Your metabolism stops working as you get older.

Due to possible loss of lean muscle mass, your metabolism can slow down slightly as you age, but the amount is very little. By building a lean and muscular body through diet and exercise, you can maintain a fast metabolism, even as you age.

Related: do you know your resting metabolic rate? Or why it’s important? Find out here! Plus a resting metabolic rate calculator you can use.

Myth #2: Eating [insert “magic” food here] will boost your metabolic rate.

Unfortunately, no “magic” food will help speed up your metabolic rate. Yes, some studies have shown that green tea and hot chili peppers temporarily boosts them, but the boost is not great enough to show significant results physically.

Myth #3: Eating late at night after 8 PM can cause weight gain and slow your metabolic rate.

Very little evidence supports the fact that eating late at night can slow things down.  However, many of us do not choose the best snack options in the evening. It is the excess calories and poor food choices that can lead to weight gain, not necessarily eating past 8 PM.

Related: want to indulge a little bit? Check out this post on how to practice mindful eating while you do to decrease calorie consumption & later cravings!

Myth #4: You cannot lose weight because of a slow metabolism/ you cannot gain muscle because of a fast metabolism.

Many of us believe we have a slow or fast metabolic rate due to previous success/failure of our goals. The best way to determine how fast or slow your metabolic rate is to complete a Resting Metabolic Rate test. This test will tell you the appropriate number of calories to eat daily. Even with calculators and apps out there to provide this information, many recommendations are inaccurate and only provide an estimate.

Myth #5: Very low calorie diets can jumpstart weight loss.

Eating fewer calories than your body burns each day is essential for weight loss. However, creating too large of a caloric deficit can be very harmful for our bodies.  By severely limiting calories, your body begins to take energy from other sources. This can lead to your body burning more muscle than fat. Over time, it can also lead to a weakening of your bones.

Interested in setting up a consultation with Chelsea? Email her at crice@ffc.com!

Post written by FFC registered dietitian Chelsea Rice.

Meal planning. The concept seems so simple, yet can be very daunting when you’re up to your ears in Tupperware and can’t possibly seem to find the time to make a grocery store run.

It may appear easier to revert back to the old ways of winging it during the week, but trust us when we say meal planning will make eating healthy much easier and save your sanity down the road. Here are 5 tips to implement to actually make planning and meal prep a staple of your weekly routine.

Step 1 – Dedicate the time.

Dedicate a specific time each week (preferably a consistent time) for meal planning, grocery shopping, and prepping (at least a little bit) in advance. This will save you time and money during the week.

Step 2 –  Create and save meal ideas.

Look through your cabinets to see what ingredients you already have and check what’s on sale at your grocery store to get the wheels turning on what to cook for the week. Also, use Pinterest, cookbooks, and other websites to bookmark your favorite recipes. All these tools can help you come up with ideas for breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks. If it helps you, write out which days you will eat which meals.

Remember: it’s okay to repeat some meals during the week. Keep it simple by having similar breakfasts during the week, or making extras at dinner for lunch the next day.

Related: set up a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with one of FFC’s on-site registered dietitians – click here!

Step 3 – Make a list.

Using your meal ideas as an outline, create a list of the items you still need (remember to check if you have any of the ingredients already before you go!) Make sure you write down amounts from the recipes so you don’t buy too much extra.

Step 4 – Hit the store.

Now that you have your list, make a trip to the store and vow to only buy what’s on your list. (I dare you!) Easier said than done, but if you have it written down already you’ll be more likely to stick to only what you need.

Step 5 – Prep a few items.

Cooking protein ahead of time (don’t forget the spices – here are 6 you definitely need to have on hand), chopping vegetables so they’re ready to be cooked, or putting together lunches in separate containers so they’re all ready to go are all time savers once the week gets under way.

There you have it, 5 easy ways to make sure you’re set up for success! Now it’s your turn – give meal planning a try this week and let us know how it goes by leaving a comment or tagging #FFCChicago!

Post written by FFC Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.

 

We’ve made it past the holidays, but we’re not out of the woods yet! The time of year that we become inundated with opportunities to overindulge on sweets at work, at office parties, and family gatherings continues into this month – especially with the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day and even Mardi Gras. It’s easy to justify why you can eat and drink whatever and however much you want. You think to yourself that you have committed to eating healthy, you work out hard, and that you deserve a day off— “cheat days”, if you will. Not so fast. Here are a few reasons why cheat days are a bad idea.

What are “cheat days”?

The thought behind a cheat day is that you schedule a specific meal or meals during the week when you basically eat anything you want, mainly foods that have been deemed “off limits” other times. You eat according to certain guidelines or a designated eating plan during the week, but when it comes time for your scheduled “cheat” meal (or day), all of that goes out the window.

Some may argue that giving yourself days of indulgence is giving yourself a needed break from your diet. That these cheat days provide relief from your weekly routine, and help you stick to healthier foods in the long run. It’s a way to reward your constraint and to satisfy your cravings.

Are these “cheat days” actually a good idea, though? Do these designated days of indulgence actually help you reach your health goals, or do they just keep you spinning your wheels?

What’s in a name?

The phrase “cheat day” itself suggests that what you are doing is something that is not allowed. When you designate foods as either “good” or “bad”, you are setting yourself up for feeling guilt and even overindulgence. When a food is deemed off-limits, you may actually think about and crave that particular food even more up until the day you are allowed to eat it. By that point, when that food is front of you, it’s very easy to lose control and overeat.

Categorizing foods as “good” or “healthy” can also have negative consequences. When you think something is healthy, you may not concern yourself with portion control, whether it’s a “normal” day or a “cheat” day. Remember, there actually can be too much of a good thing.

It’s more difficult to bounce back.

If you allow yourself one designated cheat day, it is easy for this to spill over to the next day, especially if it’s on the weekend. For example, let’s say you go out with your friends for lunch on a Saturday and end up eating pizza. You may feel that because of this you have already ruined your diet for that day and decide to indulge in an unhealthy meal for dinner as well. To make matters worse, you may even feel as though you ruined your diet for the whole weekend, so Sunday becomes an unhealthy eating day, thus allowing you to justify that you will just start again on Monday.

You shouldn’t use food as a reward.

Using cheat meals as a reward for sticking to your diet and eating healthy all week can be a slippery slope. Using unhealthy foods as a reward can lead to or perpetuate unhealthy food habits. You shouldn’t only be allowed these foods at certain times. You can still be healthy and eat these types of foods during the week, as long as you’re not having them every single day or bingeing on them.

How then do you stay on track without any cheat days? Here are 3 easy ways to eat healthy anyway:

1) Listen to your body and appetite.

By paying attention to your body’s hunger cues and eating what you want, you will more than likely end up eating a more sensible amount of it. Intuitive eating has shown to have a positive effect on weight and wellbeing.

2) Indulge in treats once in a while.

Including a properly portioned treat into your daily eating routine can break up the monotony, as well as continue to motivate you to stay on course and enjoy your meal time. These small indulgences can help ensure you don’t feel the need to go overboard.

Related: have questions on nutrition or want to set up a free 30-minute consultation? Click here!

3) Savor every bite.

Once you take a bite of any food item, take a moment to actually taste, smell, and experience that food as a whole. When you consciously take the time to be mindful about the food you are eating (more on how to eat mindfully here), it becomes much easier to tap into your satiety cues.

The Bottom Line

There really is no need in designating a cheat day to reward yourself. Denying yourself most of the week and then overindulging on one specific day “off” just promotes feelings of guilt, anxiety and shame around eating, and in turn can sabotage the goals that you are trying to achieve.

Instead, stay in tune with your body and make everyday a great day by listening to your appetite, periodically adding in some of your favorite foods in small portions, and savoring each and every bite of everything you eat. This sustainable approach will help you think of all of your eating as enjoyable, and that’s what will ultimately help you stay on track to reach your goals, as well as live a healthy lifestyle. Do you have tricks to stay on track without cheat days? Let us know in the comments!

Post written by FFC Registered Dietitian Mark LeVine. 

 

Inflammation” is the new buzzword, and for an important reason – it’s often a good indicator to us that something is going on we need to attend to. For example, inflammation can happen as a result of injury.

Additionally, if it’s happening on the inside of our bodies, it may feel like bloating – and it can cause heart disease, diabetes and other issues. So how can we prevent or reverse this inflammation? Food is our best bet.

As people who are trying to be healthy, we need to stop thinking of food as the enemy. Food can be our best friend if we choose the right kinds, the right amounts and use it in a way that is nice to our bodies. Here are 3 tips to reduce inflammation in your diet and the diseases it may cause!

  1. Eat a diet chock full of fruits and vegetables.

Aim to fill half your plate at each meal with these nutrient-dense items, about 5-7 servings per day. One serving is 1 cup raw, 1/2 cup cooked. As I tell my clients, non-starchy vegetables are “free” – eat as many as you’d like! These are great for snacking or for the stress-relieving crunch we all desire. Make sure you eat the rainbow, meaning you chose many different colors each day. The different colors of produce give them different nutrients and antioxidant properties. Also, a variety of foods in our diet can improve the health of our gut, leading to great health overall.

How-To: I turn vegetables into comfort food by spiralizing them into noodles, blending them into smoothies or pancakes, dipping them in a homemade yogurt dip, or making fried rice with cauliflower “rice”. I also enjoy fruit as a dessert by sprinkling cinnamon on it and baking it.

  1. Season your food with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices!

Flavor is key to keeping healthy eating interesting, so why not flavor your foods AND add healthy properties? Use the following herbs and spices to get the best anti-inflammatory benefits: ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric, and cayenne pepper. You can also practice mindful eating by focusing on the different flavors while you eat!

How-To: I love to add rosemary and thyme to chicken breasts, ginger to my morning tea, and cinnamon to just about everything!

Related: click here to schedule a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with one of FFC’s on-site registered dietitians!

  1. Drink water, lots of it.

Water helps flush out your system throughout the day, it helps you stay full, and it has zero calories! Aim to drink half your bodyweight in ounces (i.e. 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces water). For more tips on how to stay hydrated, check out this post!

How-To: I like to add lemon to my water, but you can also choose lime, cucumbers, mint, or even ice. Please don’t add sweeteners – natural or artificial – as these will cause you to crave more sweets later.

Which of these tips have you tried?! Which are your favorite? Let us know in the comments or share on social using the tag #trainingforlife!

Post written by FFC Oak Park Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.

 

In response to our readers’ suggestions, we put together a list of more of our favorite resources – a list of some of our favorite nutrition books written by the nutrition experts themselves. Add these RD-written nutrition books to your must-read list and you won’t be disappointed!

Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD

As I always tell my clients, if everyone only ate when they were hungry and stopped when they were full, we’d all be at a healthy weight. The truth is, we eat for many reasons and usually aren’t very mindful about it.

Intuitive Eating is a nutrition philosophy that dives deep into the mindfulness of eating and focusing on hunger cues instead of constantly counting calories.

Related: click here to sign up for a free 30-minute nutrition consultation with an FFC registered dietitian.

No Whine with Dinner by Liz Weiss, MS, RD and Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD

These dietitians have a blog called Meal Makeover Moms, and have put together many of their favorite kid-friendly recipes for those struggling to put healthy food on the table for the whole family. BONUS: 50 secrets for getting picky eaters to try new foods. Hey, this could work for your spouse, too!

Eat Your Way To Happiness by Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD

They say money can’t buy happiness, but in my opinion, a plate of nutritious food sure can! This book lays out how to make small changes in your everyday eating habits to help you feel happier about your weight, your energy levels, and your mood (and chocolate is on the list!)

There you have it! Looking for more nutrition books and info? Be sure to also check out this post on the best FREE nutrition apps you can use to stay on track. Have you read an inspiring book written by a registered dietitian? Please share below in the comments!

Post written by FFC Oak Park Registered Dietitian Amy Silver.

 

Have you ever sat down in front of the TV screen with a big bag of popcorn and before you know it, you’ve reached into the bag and discovered the entire thing has magically disappeared?

If you are like most people, this is something that happens more often than we like to admit. This is an example of mindless eating – eating without paying attention to what or how much food is being eaten.

Mindful, or intuitive eating, on the other hand, is the practice of paying full attention to the experience of eating/drinking. It is realizing the color, smell, texture, flavor, temperature, and sound (crunch!) of the food we are eating.

Intuitive eating is important because taking the time to fully experience the act of eating not only makes us more aware of what we are putting into our bodies, but can also keep us from overeating, which can eventually result in weight loss (and a much healthier relationship with food). Read on for 4 ways to practice mindful eating.

4 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating

Eat in silence.

This means you are not sitting in front of the TV and eating, driving and eating or on your cell phone or social media while eating. It is eating in an electronic-free zone in order to fully be engaged in the eating experience.

Slow down.

Try taking a bite of food and putting your fork down in between bites. It is harder than you might think. Eating shouldn’t be a race, and it takes your brain 20-30 minutes to register the feeling of fullness.

Related: want to schedule a free nutrition consultation with one of FFC’s on-site registered dietitians? Click here!

Pay attention to flavor.

Explore tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami), textures (crunchy, chewy etc.), and smells (sweet apple scent, smell of garlic etc.) of your food.

Try eating just one meal a week mindfully!

Mindful eating should be appreciating, respecting, and enjoying the food you eat everyday. It can be practiced on salad or even cake! It is easy for everyone to try mindful eating with the foods they love.

Related: similarly to scarfing your food down, cheat days aren’t the best idea. Check out this recent post to see why & how you can eat healthy and indulge occasionally anyway.

Do you have any tips for mindful eating or questions about how to eat more mindfully? Let us know in the comments!

This post was written by FFC Registered Dietitian Alicia Huggler. 

 

There is a LOT of information on nutrition out there – especially in this day and age! What do you do when you find varying facts, opinions and best practices The FFC Registered Dietitians have taken care of that for you and compiled a list of their favorite nutrition books and food documentaries. Check them out!

Related: want to set up a free nutrition consultation with an FFC registered dietitian? Click here!

Top Nutrition Books

  • In Defense of Food (Michael Pollan) – a great read-turned-documentary, this book explores the Western diet and its “edible food-like substances” that will keep you interested and educated.
  • Salt Sugar Fat (Michael Moss) – the food version of “big Pharma”, this read explores the processed world of “big food in America” to look at the reasoning of decisions made in the industry and the impact on products.
  • Mindless Eating (Brian Wansink) – a look at different studies conducted by Brian Wansink, a professor of consumer behavior, into what causes mindless eating.
  • The Good Gut (Erica & Justin Sonnenburg) – this book covers the impact good bacteria has on weight management and our immune system.
  • Food Rules (Michael Pollan) – an outline of 64 straightforward principles to help us decide what we should be eating.

Related: in addition to this list, check out this list of 3 registered dietitian-written books!

Top Nutrition Films

  • That Sugar Film – a good insight on what sugar actually does to the human body, and sneaky places it finds its way into our diets to watch out for.
  • Fed Up – a look into why our population is increasingly having adverse reactions to and getting sick from the food we’re eating.
  • The Men Who Made Us Fat – a 3-part series that includes information on food policy, as well as a deep dive into food marketing and messaging.
  • Supersize Me – a social experiment exploring what happens when you eat only things you can order off of the McDonald’s menu for a month (as demonstrated by director Morgan Spurlock.)
  • Forks Over Knives – a look at what happens when the concept of “food as medicine” is applied, with great information about plant-based diets.

Did we miss one? Let us know in the comments, or share your suggestions with using #FFCChicago! 

Post written by FFC contributor.

 

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice a well-deserved night out just because it can wreak havoc on your diet! However, it can be tough to find those delicious AND healthy restaurants when you want to dine out. Have no fear, we’ve compiled a list of some of the hottest hangouts in the area; check out these 5 healthy restaurants in Lincoln Park!

Summer House – 1954 N. Halsted St.

Escape the winter blues and find yourself on the beach! Well, not quite, but this California-style American restaurant is like a beach house transplanted from its sister restaurant in Santa Monica.

The wood-fired grill cooks up menu items spotlighting seasonal, locally-sourced products. Check out the bakery counter on your way out for pastries, muffins and Lettuce Entertain You chef and partner Jeff Mahin’s famous cookies.

Healthy menu items that catch this RD’s eye:

  • Roasted Beets with Grapefruit Aioli
  • Wood Grilled Mahi-Mahi Tacos with Guacamole
  • Quinoa and Forbidden Black Rice Bowl with Green Curry and Local Veggies

BOKA – 1729 N. Halsted St.

If you have a special occasion coming up, consider this Michelin Star winning gem. Cozy up in a booth and enjoy the eclectic decor while enjoying beautifully executed dishes and craft cocktails.

Healthy menu items that catch this RD’s eye:

  • Heirloom Carrots with Pistachio, Amaranth and Smoked Goat Cheese
  • Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Pears and Sunflower Seeds
  • Coffee and Hazelnut Whole Milk Ice Cream

 

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Blue Door Farm Stand – 2010 N. Halsted St.

This farm-to-table café and artisan’s market, named for Oprah’s former Indiana property, prides itself on featuring fresh, seasonal food and drinks from local farms and farmers’ markets, including Chicago favorites Harvest Juicery and Bow Truss Coffee Roasters.

In addition to offering a catering service, the Blue Door Farm Stand can accommodate private events, offers takeout and local delivery. Lactose intolerant? You can order almond milk in your latte.

Healthy menu items that catch this RD’s eye:

  • Sweet Potato Hummus
  • Baked Parmesan Kale Chips
  • Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad with Maple Tahini Dressing

Related: how a plant-based diet helped this group exercise instructor and personal chef overcome food addiction.

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba – 2024 N. Halsted St.

You don’t have to leave your kids at home when you go to “Chicago’s Original Tapas Bar.” They have a children’s menu, as well as a complete gluten-free menu, including dessert. On Tuesdays take advantage of half-off Spanish wines, or half-priced craft cocktails on Mondays.

Menu items that catch this RD’s eye:

  • House Marinated Spanish Olives
  • Wood Oven Roasted Veggies with Toasted Pine Nuts
  • Seared Sea Scallops with Leeks and Torched Oranges

Dawali Mediterranean Kitchen – 1625 N. Halsted St.

This inexpensive BYOB place has something for everyone, including vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free options.

Some health-conscious plates to consider:

  • Lentil Soup
  • Grilled Veggies with Curry Sauce
  • Falafel Plate with Hummus and Tahini Sauce

So look for these items which won’t undo all of your hard, healthy work because social health plays a role in your overall wellness too!

*Note: All menu items subject to change

Post written by FFC contributor.

 

Ever heard of souping? If you haven’t already, you likely will. Souping has been touted as “the new juicing.” Before you roll your eyes, take a look at what the trend entails and how it can make eating healthy during these colder months easy.

Often shunned for high sodium content, many people wonder if soup is actually healthy. It is! Vegetable and broth-based soups can be both healthful and delicious, packed with all sorts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

A well-crafted soup contains a combination of vitamin-rich vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates. Soups can provide the fiber and protein for a high-volume meal that is relatively low in calories when compared with other foods with similar nutrient profiles.

Look for broth-based soups that have plenty of vegetables and a serving of lean protein in each bowl. Additionally, soups with a serving of legumes (such as beans or lentils) will provide you with quality low-glycemic carbohydrates, fiber, and additional protein along side the extra flavors and textures they bring to the dish. Beware soups that are cream-based as they are typically loaded in saturated fat and extra calories.

While we don’t necessarily promote “fad diets”, souping can be a great way to reset your diet and cut calorie intake while still getting all the nutrients you need with a quick, 30-minute meal. What should you know about souping? Souping is a short-term diet comprised solely of soup.

Pros of the Souping Diet:

  • Souping minimizes blood sugar spikes when compared to juicing because vegetable and legume-based soups are not only inherently lower in sugar compared to juices (which are primarily made from fruit), but they also provide a greater concentration of complex carbohydrates (which are much slower to digest and raise blood sugar).
  • Nutritious soups have protein, which is typically lacking in a juice cleanse.
  • The extra fiber and protein found in soup not only provides more nutrition than a typical juice cleanse, but it also provides more satiety.

Cons of the Souping Diet:

  • Souping often tends to be low in calories – sometimes too low – which may lead to muscle breakdown instead of fat loss.
  • Souping is a short-term “fad” diet, not a long-term solution. Substantive and maintainable weight loss will require more changes to the big (dietary) picture than a soup cleanse will provide.

Bottom line: nutritious soups can be a wonderful addition to a healthy diet. For some people, replacing a few meals per week with a well-crafted, lower-calorie soup can be a great springboard into making those small dietary changes that eventually add up to big changes.

Related: soups are a great meal to prepare if you are meal prepping. Check out some other meal prep tips here!

30-Minute Recipe: Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Yields 4 servings.

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 – 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP Italian Spice Blend
  • 2 cups sliced green cabbage
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sautee the onions and carrots until softened, 3-5 minutes. Ad garlic and continue to sauté ~2 minutes, until softened.
  • Add tomato paste and spices, stir to incorporate and continue to sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add stock, stirring to combine. Make sure to dissolve any tomato paste lumps.
  • Add chicken pieces, cabbage, green beans, and kidney beans, stirring to combine. Bring soup up to a slow simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and gently simmer until all vegetables are tender and chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Post written by FFC contributor.

 

While a rigorous workout at FFC West Loop can leave you feeling energized and content, dining out in the area shouldn’t make you nervous about derailing your healthy eating habits. After all, getting out and enjoying a meal (or a happy hour once in a while, like these nearby spots) not made in your own kitchen is an event to be celebrated! Check out these healthy restaurants in West Loop that will offer something for everyone – no matter what type of cuisine you prefer!

Greek Islands (Mediterranean) – 200 S. Halsted St.

The “Mediterranean Diet” is widely considered to be one of the healthiest diets around, focusing on high consumption of vegetables, nuts, oils, legumes, fish and whole grains, and low consumption of red meat, dairy products and processed foods. At Greek restaurants like this one, opt for vegetable or seafood dishes, and steer clear of the fried foods, red meats and cream sauces.

Healthy suggestions:

  • Broiled seafood shish kabob
  • Vegetarian plate
  • Fresh whole fish

Haymarket Pub & Brewery (American/Pub) – 737 W. Randolph St.

Pub fare can be tricky when you’re watching what you eat, but that doesn’t mean it’s off limits. While you should probably skip the bun, pass on the fried foods and stay away from pizza, you still have many options to choose from for a tasty yet healthy meal.

Healthy suggestions:

  • Pear salad
  • Vegan chili
  • Grilled chicken breast – No bun
  • Diner-style burger – No bun, 1 patty only

 

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Jaipur (Indian) – 847 W. Randolph St.

Bread, rice, ghee (clarified butter) and cheese are staples in most Indian cuisine, and it can be tricky to see past them to the healthier options. Avoid the fried samosas, paneer (cheese) and malai (cream), go easy on the rice and help yourself to dal (lentils), lean meats, and of course, plenty of vegetables.

Healthy suggestions:

  • Tandoori chicken
  • Mahi tikka
  • Dal makahani
  • Navrattan korma

Sushi Dokku (Japanese) – 823 W. Randolph St.

Traditional Japanese cuisine centers on fresh fish, tofu and vegetables, but more and more these days we’re seeing tempura, mayonnaise-based “spicy” sauces, cream cheese and even fried foods making their way onto the menu. In addition to these, many restaurants offer a wide variety of noodle and rice dishes to choose from, which can be overloaded with refined carbohydrates and sodium. If you’re looking for a lighter meal, opting for the more traditional fare is recommended.

Healthy suggestions:

  • Cucumber and spiced tofu salad
  • Nigiri or sashimi
  • Northern California maki roll
  • Ecuador maki roll (hold the wasabi mayo)

Viaggio Ristorante & Lounge (Italian) – 1330 W. Madison St.

When you think of Italian food, what comes to mind other than pasta, cheese, pasta, tomatoes and… More pasta? While most Italian menus feature more pasta dishes than anything else, there are indeed other options if you’re willing to branch out. If you are looking for a pasta fix, I suggest splitting an entree-sized portion with a friend or loved one, and avoiding heavy cream sauces.

Healthy suggestions:

  • Salmon over mixed greens
  • Chicken Viaggio
  • Pappardelle shrimp and broccollini – Share it or box up half to go!

*Note: All menu items subject to change

Did we miss one of your favorite spots? Let us know in the comments!

Post written by FFC contributor.