Healthiest Houston Restaurants [y]
After living in San Diego and Austin, I thought I had healthy dining down. I’d eaten at vegetarian, vegan, and raw food restaurants and had sampled cleansing juices, wheatgrass shots, and Kombucha (although tempeh and spirulina still scare me). I was familiar with nut cheese, chia seeds, and bee pollen granules so, although I was looking forward to exploring the healthy side of Houston, I wasn’t anticipating any surprises.
Green Seed Vegan
Raw Vegan Restaurant in Houston
Green Seed Vegan caught me off guard. For one thing, the menu bragged about serving chlorophyll-rich live foods, which forced me to dredge my memory of high school science. I knew that chlorophyll was the stuff that makes plants green, but when did the word transition from an answer on a biology test to a health food buzzword? And what were its alleged benefits?
Apparently chlorophyll is the caped crusader of pigments. It neutralizes free radicals, oxygenates the cells and, is a natural deodorizer. The darker the leafy green, the more chlorophyll it contains.
When my panini was ready, I eyed it with some suspicion. Would it taste like a science experiment? The ingredients seemed innocuous enough: mushroom, a little sweet potato, sunflower seed pesto, and spinach (where said chlorophyll presumably lurked).
Turns out, this was one of the best paninis I’ve ever had. I often find the ratio of the exterior to filler out of whack in a panini, but this was perfectly in balance. The bread was thin, light and crunchy. The sweet potato played off my zesty, super fresh, blueberry pineapple smoothie perfectly.
Lane wasn’t bothering with a conversation. She was too busy plowing through her caramelized plantain, nut butter, and spinach panini. I expected her to complain about the spinach, the odd man out in this combo, but she grudgingly admitted that it worked. She also endorsed the piña colada smoothie.
- Price: $25 for two paninis, two smoothies, and a decent tip.
- Style: Eco-chic. The décor was chlorophyll green and gray.
- Location: 4320 Almeda Rd, Houston (cross street Wheeler Ave).
It’s in a transitioning neighborhood, located next to Peggy Park, but with some grittier boarded up buildings a few blocks in the other direction. There are two or three parking spaces on site.
A Moveable Feast
Best Health Food Restaurant Houston
We picked this spot as much for its name as for its health creds. While we both appreciated the literary reference, Lane would dump me for Hemingway, given the chance so I knew we had to try A Moveable Feast. We were not only ones with this plan. The line was almost to the door when we arrived. It did move rapidly, but not at fast-food speed.
This restaurant has plenty of healthy options. According to their website, they ‘do not use trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, MSG, propylene glycol, artificial anything, or very much salt. We don’t even own a deep fat fryer.’ There are some vegan dishes and iced green tea if you want an extra dose of antioxidants. That said, A Moveable Feast is a great option for those wanting to eat clean, but who do not wish to force other members of their party to do the same.
I loaded up on good fats with an avocado and salmon sandwich, served on a ciabatta roll. The fish was perfectly grilled and the roll fresh. Lane opted for the beef tacos with Spanish rice and beans. She was impressed with the high quality of the meat and that the taco shell didn’t crack at the bottom and leak its contents all over the place!
Be warned that the dessert display case may prove a worthy opponent to your best intentions. The shelves groan under the weight of huge hunks of cake that, if dropped, could break a toe. They also have chewy chocolate chip cookies that can best be described as the love child of a cookie and a brownie.
- Price: Sandwiches start around $5 and salads at $7. The South of the Border section of the menu is slightly pricier but that is due to the quality of the ingredients. There are limited wine and beer choices, but you can BYOB for a $5 corkage fee.
- Style: Although a store is attached to the restaurant, there is plenty of separation between the two spaces. Counter service. Indoor and outdoor seating is available.
- Location: 9341 Katy Freeway, Houston, in the Echo Lane shopping center.
Sunshine’s Vegetarian Deli
Houston health food store & vegetarian deli
Sunshine’s Vegetarian Deli is a community hub that helps folk embrace a healthy lifestyle. It’s a bit like wandering into someone else’s dining room for a meal. There are heated discussions about control of the stereo and everyone is greeted by name. Think Cheers, only with smoothies rather than booze. On the flip side, as out-of-towners, no one knew our names so we felt like guests at an (admittedly welcoming) table.
Stop on by, if you’re near Mac Gregor Park and have the urge to cleanse. I definitely felt virtuous sipping on the Purifier Juice, which contained veggies, beets, apples and ginger. Lane happily slurped her way through the Almond Lovers smoothie, a banana, almond, and soy combo that was equally tasty and filling.
- Price: Budget-friendly.
- Style: Most people order to go. One side of the deli is a health food store, while the other side has a few tables, so it’s low on the atmosphere.
- Location: 4915 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Houston (cross street Old Spanish Trail). It’s one of the last holdouts in what appeared to be a neglected, downtrodden strip mall. Plenty of parking.