Ken Eats Gainesville

Eating healthy is hard enough, but eating healthy when going out to eat is even harder. Not only are options usually limited to sad salads and boiled poultry, but there’s so much fried everything to entice you. I’m not one to talk because I am a round mound of restaurant bound Asian fury. But luckily for you, there are a number of healthy options available around town.

For instance, Root & Pecker at 5408 NW 8th Ave. has a number of healthy options available from salads that aren’t actually sad to healthy sandwiches and smoothies. Their California Club is one of their most popular sandwiches and I personally enjoy their raw broccoli salad. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options available, as well, including a Vegan Stack made of nuts, seeds, and veggies served on gluten-free onion bread with cashew aioli. The Zesto Pesto is a pistachio pesto sandwich with avocado, lettuce, tomato, and sprouts, served on white sourdough bread.

Next door to Root & Pecker is Big Island Bowls, an island-inspired concept that started as a food truck in St. Augustine and is now serving really good smoothies, acai bowls, and the latest craze; poke bowls. This is the type of place people can’t wait to show off on Instagram. And rightfully so. Not only are their acai bowls delicious and good for you, they look pretty too. Take the Shaka Bowl, for instance, blended acai with almond milk, homemade granola, strawberries, shredded coconut, and a honey drizzle. Or the Maui Bowl with blended acai, organic apple juice, homemade granola, strawberries, blueberries, and kiwi. The poke bowls are equally pretty and healthy with wild caught ahi tuna on a bed of jasmine rice and various toppings. There’s even a vegan option made with creamy avocado instead.

Sababa, located in the Sun Center, is another fantastic option where the food is a bit more filling, but still good for you. Their homemade Israeli cuisine is delicious, and includes shawarma, schnitzel, pita with hummus, and some of the best falafel in town. Snag a pita sandwich stuffed with their housemade falafel and fresh veggies for $7.99, or one with their chicken shawarma sautéed in a blend of Israeli spices for $8.99. Almost the entire menu is vegetarian-friendly with plenty of gluten-free options as well.

Eating out doesn’t have to be a gorging of heavy foods and huge portions, these are just a few of the many healthier options we have around town. So the next time you’re feeling lazy at home but also full of extreme guilt and shame for eating a giant hamburger and a basket of fries, know that there are healthy places out there to help ease that feeling. Enjoy!

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