In today’s society, I can happily say, we are seeing a much higher percentage of people taking the initiative to lead healthier lifestyles. One of the first and most important steps to leading a healthy life is your diet. The food that we eat has one of the biggest effects on our bodies and overall health. Of course, the easiest way to ensure that you are eating the best quality foods is to prepare it yourself. This allows you to know exactly what ingredients are being used and the cooking method in which your food is being prepared. But, in this day and age, a lot of people are constantly on the go and unable to cook every meal for every day, often leading to eating out on a regular basis. Plus, who doesn’t love to get out every once in a while and enjoy some social time at a restaurant with friends or loved ones? But, unfortunately eating out can be a little tricky, often leading people to stray from their healthy diets. Well, here are some tips that will allow you to eat out while maintaining your healthy lifestyle.

  • Know before you go. With a large majority of the population having smartphones we have the internet right at our fingertips at all times. Most restaurants have websites that will contain their menu options. By looking over the menu beforehand it will give you a chance to go over each option more efficiently, getting a better idea of what each meal contains.
  • Avoid temptation. When at a restaurant, it is common for the waiter to bring a basket of bread to the table before you have even placed your orders. While you may tell yourself that you will simply not eat any of the bread, oftentimes people will give in and have a slice or two if it is placed in front of them. To avoid this, simply ask the waiter to not bring your table any bread, guaranteeing that you don’t eat any. Another temptation that we often deal with is side dishes. Many meals will come with chips, french fries, bread, or pasta, which are all things that we should stay away from. To avoid giving in and eating any unhealthy side dishes, ask your server to either substitute them with fresh vegetables or to leave them off of your plate entirely.
  • Ask questions. Pretty much all menus provide you with the basis of what each meal contains. But what about the smaller details that allow you to know whether or not the food you are eating is actually healthy for you? While you may think you are making healthy choices there is always the fine print. The servers are there to help, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. The most important questions to ask are based on meat and fish. When ordering a dish with any type of meat or fish ask questions such as- Is the fish wild-caught? Are your red meats grass-fed and finished? Was your poultry fed a non-GMO diet?
  • Be aware of portion size. Meals at restaurants are often two, or even three, times larger than what is suggested. A lot of people will ignore the feeling of being full and make the effort to finish their whole plate, simply because it’s in front of them and they feel as though they have to. A good way around this is to ask your waiter to put half of your meal in a to-go box before it even reaches your table. That way you will not feel the need to finish an entire two servings in one sitting, while also having a meal for another time.

While these tips will be a major help in ordering at any restaurant it can still be difficult, especially if the number of healthy options on the menu is very limited. So, to help, here is a list of the top 10 healthiest places to dine at the Jersey Shore. These great local restaurants will guarantee high quality, healthy, and delicious meals.

  • Local Urban Kitchen (Point Pleasant & Wall Township) – Local Urban Kitchen is a healthy and affordable alternative to fast food. They use the freshest ingredients, buying a lot of their products from local vendors. Their menu offers a wide variety of options and offers multiple substitutes in order to please each individual customer. Whether you are a meat-eater, a vegan, a vegetarian, eat gluten-free, or dairy-free, they have options for everyone.
    • Popular Menu Item: Crabcake Benny – two poached eggs, two jumbo lump crabcakes, spinach, tomato, and hollandaise.
  • Talula’s (Asbury Park) – Talula’s is a restaurant/bar that specializes in freshly baked goods and handcrafted pizzas, all cooked in a wood-burning oven. Aside from their high-quality organic pizza, they also have gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian meal options. Talula’s also has delivery service, so you can get top-notch food right at your doorstep.
    • Popular Menu Item: Rocket Pizza – fresh mozzarella, arugula, olive oil, lemon, aged gouda, and garlic.
    • Popular Cocktail: Ol’ Toro – tequila, chartreuse, lime, grapefruit, and agave.
  • Cavé (Avon-By-The-Sea) – Cavé is New Jersey’s first, and only, paleo restaurant. They have a simple philosophy- eat like our ancestors, only better. All of their items are based around the Paleolithic lifestyle, eliminating all of the harmful food products that our bodies are not designed to ingest. All of their food is 100% gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free. Cavé is also a BYOB, so feel free to bring along any gluten-free beer or organic wine of your choosing.
    • Popular Menu Item: Grass-fed Beef Short Rib Bowl with Root Vegetables
  • Seed to Sprout (Avon-By-The-Sea) – Seed to Sprout is a vegan eatery and juice & smoothie bar that specializes in healthy, whole, and simple foods. All of their food is made with whole, organic ingredients, that are purchased locally whenever possible. Their food is 100% vegan and preservative-free. They also have a small grocery store where you can purchase quality, organic foods, and everyday essentials for your kitchen.
    • Popular Menu Item: Seed Salad – marinated kale and mixed greens topped with shredded carrots, beets, cabbage, sprouts, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, and raw sauerkraut. Dressing Choices: creamy tahini, apple cider vinaigrette, date balsamic, or sesame miso.
  • Good Karma Café (Red Bank) – Good Karma is a vegan café that is committed to using only the finest ingredients and guarantees that they are at least 90% organic. All of their vegetables, grains, tofu, tempeh, and nuts, are free of pesticides that are not irradiated.
    • Popular Menu Item: Earth Burger – their homemade tofu, sunflower seed, and brown rice patty baked until golden served on a whole grain bun with vegan mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and red onion.
  • Harvest Local Seasonal Cuisine (Farmingdale) **Take Out Only Due To COVID-19**
    – Harvest is a full-service restaurant. Their focus is on preparing wholesome foods from local farmers and bakers while offering gluten-free and healthy meals. They have a creative menu in which they are constantly adding new and delicious meals. This restaurant is BYOB.

    • Popular Menu Item: Duck, Duck, Duck – Duck 3 ways; smoked moulard breast, Rohan duck rillettes, and moulard duck breast prosciutto served with vinegar slaw.