Healthy Eating Guide To DC
May 8, 2019
Welcome To Washington, DC.
It has got the the nation’s history, the four seasons, and the city life. It’s filled with diverse communities & cultures, delicious restaurants, museums, and yes, the White House.
Washington, DC is awesome. But it’s big and sometimes hard to locate healthy eating spots. You’ll find endless happy hour havens and booze-filled brunch spots on every corner, but I know true Washtonians (is that a thing?) value a healthy lifestyle.
As a Nutrition Coach who grew up in Maryland and spends a lot of my time in DC, I’ve got my healthy hot spots to make clean eating easy and effortless. So to help you out, I’ve compiled my go-to Healthy Eating Guide To DC.
Whether you are visiting for a long weekend or just moved to town, this healthy guide to Washington, DC is a perfect place to start. No matter which side of town you’re in, you’ll know where to grab a nutritious bite.
- Chaia Tacos
- Plant-based, seasonal tacos? Sign me up! I recommend taking it easy on the cheese and going heavy on the veggies.
- My Usual Order: 1 mushroom taco (no cheese), 1 asparagus or carrot taco + beet pickled egg or fried egg (weekends only). Love the carrot slaw for a side.
- Farmer’s Fishers Bakers
- A farmer-owned sustainable restaurant in the best location! A must for special occasions or a DC first timer. Stick to the protein + veggie dishes here and you’ll be good to go.
- My Usual Order: Purple + Black Kale salad (light or no cheese) or Coconut Curry Mussels to start (skip the bread) followed by Simply Seared Sushi Grade Tuna or Lemon Herb Brick Chicken.
- South Block (3 Locations)
- Smoothie Bowls, Cold Press Juice, Oat Milk Matcha = you’ll find me here after the gym. Be weary, some smoothie contain sherbet, but they’re easy to modify and there are healthy options.
- My Usual Order: Small matcha latte with oat milk for a pick-me-up, the Evolution Bowl no honey + collagen powder, Or a cold pressed juice of whatever I’m feeling.
- Turning Natural
- Juices, smoothies, and food! It’s a quick and easy stop for a healthy breakfast or lunch.
- My Usual Order: The Petey Green Juice for an delicious juice boost. The Muhammid Ali Smoothie (no mango + swap out pineapple juice for almond milk). The Chickpea or Mushroom Salad for an afternoon snack attack. Salad bar for a light lunch.
- Sweet Green
- A classic DC build your own salad spot. I prefer to make my own healthy concoction with as many veggies as possible. Avoid tortilla chips, bread crumbs, and the heavier cheese options aka blue cheese and burrata as well as the Caesar dressing.
- My Usual Order: Changes all the time, but recently I’ve grooved on a combo of kale and spinach + scoop lentils or roasted sweet potato + beets, carrots, spicy broccoli, cucumbers, shredded cabbage, spicy sunflower seeds, asparagus + snap peas, hard boiled egg (sometimes), avocado, lemon squeeze, olive oil, red chili flakes.
- The Little Beet
- A 100% gluten-free menu – say what?! This grab-and-go spot is perfect for a quick yet nourishing breakfast or lunch. They have dairy-free, vegan, soy-free, and nut-free options aka food allergy friendly.
- My Usual Order: Brussel Hustle (the best name), Jack Bowl, or Poke Bowl over 1/2 greens + 1/2 quinoa or build my own creation and top with Turmeric Tahini. I’m also always down for the Rise bowl for breakfast.
- Beefsteak (3 Locations)
- Think Chipolte assembly line, but WAY more vegetables. This isn’t my #1 healthy hot spot, but it’s worth a mention as sometimes you’ll find yourself in a bind for a casual healthy lunch and a Beefsteak might be in sight.
- My Usual Order: 1/2 greens + 1/2 grains bowl with all the veggies especially the curried roasted cauliflower with Green Curry Sauce.
- Every now and then, I need my burger fix! Bareburger offers collard green wraps, so you can eat your burger, love it, AND still feel light afterwards. You really won’t miss the bun! Warning: this menu is not 100% clean, focus on the collared green bun and watch out for the fried sides.
- My Usual Order: I customize a grass-fed beef burger with veggies in a collard green wrap and occasionally a side of pickles or sweet potato fries because come on, right?!
- Fruitive (2 Locations)
- Another smoothie gem in town with good bites for breakfast or lunch.
- My Usual Order: The Cacao Pow (no maple syrup add chia seed and hemp seed) for breakfast on the move OR 3 Collard Tacos for a tasty lunch.
- Voted the best veggie burger in DC and I’m here for it. A perfect spot for my vegetarian dudes and dudettes.
- My Usual Order: The Shouk Burger will not disappoint. It’s definitely my favorite one in town. I prefer it over greens with roasted cauliflower or in the bun with no sides. Side note: the fries and falafel are very heavy in my opinion and didn’t fit the healthy bill I was looking for.
- Hip City Veg
- 100% vegan + 100% organic non-GMO ingredients (yay for non-GMO soy ingredients). This is a solid spot for my Vegan eater friends.
- My Usual Order: The Ziggy Burger (I prefer tempeh to tofu) with 1/2 the bun or the chopped Mediterranean salad with added arugula or spinach for more nutrient dense leafy greens.
- Hello delicious date night! I have heart eyes for Hazel’s Turkish and Mediterranean inspired dishes. With an emphasis on local ingredients and seasonality, what’s not to like?
- My Usual Order: The menu changes with the seasons, but go for the the veggie appetizers. Last time, I went crazy for the Roasted Carrot appetizer. You can’t go wrong splitting the Whole Roasted Fish or choosing the Grilled Lamb Sausage.
- Busboys + Poets (Multiple Locations)
- This has something for everyone so if your BFF is not digging on dining at a super healthy spot, she’ll be happy here and so will you.
- My Usual Order: I usually stick with the salad section of the menu. The Quinoa Salad with grilled chicken or the Salad Nicoise are my go-tos.
- The Protein Bar & Kitchen
- Easy place to swing by and pick up a green smoothie or a post workout bite. If you work in the area and forgot to eat breakfast or bring lunch, this is your place!
- My Usual Order: Green salad with Coconut Curry Soup for lunch or an Oatmeal bowl topped with nut butter for breakfast. If you’re grabbing a smoothie, I recommend removing the agave nectar to keep it clean (it’s not needed with all the fruit).
- Flower Child
- New to DC, I first discovered Flower Child in AZ + CA. It is probably one of my most frequented restaurants for a quick + casual dinner that always hits the healthy spot.
- My Usual Order: I mix it up here since I’m a regular. The Vietnamese Salad with Salmon or The Chopped salad with Chicken + Lemon Avocado Dressing are solid salad choices. Building your own bowl is also a fav of mine because it feels like a homemade meal. I mix up the protein and love a double order of the sauteed spinach + red chili glazed sweet potato.
- Jrink (6+ Locations)
- A convenient stop to pick up a cold-pressed juice, smoothie, or an immune boosting shot if you’re feeling run down.
- My Usual Order: I opt for the veggie-based green juice to get a giant dose of greens into my body. I also grab the digestive shot -100% ginger- if my stomach is acting up and needs some soothing (it’s super strong, so be ready to throw it down the hatch like a champ).
H Street Corridor
- If you like chicken, Farmbird has your back. No freezers, no fryers, no microwaves = Lindsay approved. However, be ready to dodge the tempting Mac & Cheese.
- My Usual Order: I prefer a chicken plate with two sides. I’ll go for the chicken breast and pair it with super greens + avocado basil topping. I go for a side of greens and can never say no to roasted sweet potatoes.
- DC Harvest
- A healthy upscale dining spot means this is my kind of place to be wined + dined. They source their food from local farmers and the menu is seasonal aka a win-win!
- My Usual Order: Farm Shoot Salad to begin, followed by the Pan Roasted Virgina Fluke or Walnut Encrusted Turkey Breast.
- The Dabney
- When you want a decadent dining out vibe that makes you feel like you’re on a magical vacation, but also know you’re eating high quality food… The Dabney is where it’s at.
- My Usual Order: Small plate style, I’d choose to share the Oysters, Hearth Roasted Spring Vegetables, Fluke, Lamb, and Strawberry Rhubarb Salad with whomever my lucky dinner mate is that’s letting me choose the food.
- Le Pain Quotiden
- It might be a chain, but it’s the food which always tastes fresh, clean, and full of flavor.
- My Usual Order: The Sunny Side Breakfast Bowl or The Avocado Tomato Omelet for breakfast. Lunch time I aim for a salad like the Zucchini Noodle Salad with added protein to keep me full + happy.
NoMa / Northeast
- Union Market
- Warehouse-like food market with a host of artisans offering charcuterie, empanadas, gelato & more. I love the vibe here and although it’s not a healthy haven, there are plenty of options.
- My Usual Order: I’ll stop at Neopol Savory Smokery and grab a salmon salad sandwich on gluten free bread or head over to South Block and pick up a smoothie so I can sip and stroll.
- St. Anslem
- A higher-end dining experience that has the perfect setting for a date night or celebratory event. The ingredients are high quality and you can taste the difference! The head chef touts the food as simply prepared and expertly grilled – can’t beat that!
- My Usual Order: Grilled Green & White Asparagus for an appetizer with a grilled meat or seafood entree. Swap out the richer side dishes for the veggie options.
- True Foods Kitchen
- Popping up across the country and I’m not mad about it. I love True Foods Kitchen and recommend it to all my clients. The food is clean, but also super satisfying. I like to come here for dinners or late lunches and chill out on the patio.
- My Usual Order: Everything. JK, but I think I’ve had nearly every item on the menu. I enjoy sharing the raw crudete appetizer and depending on the weather will opt for something warming like the curry with tofu or shrimp OR light like the kale salad with grilled chicken or salmon. They also make a pretty mean burger and you can request a side of 1/2 kale salad +1/2 sweet potato hash – aka winning at life.
- Puree (2 Locations)
- All organic, non-pasteurized, cold-pressed juice! This is super high quality and if you’re a juice lover, your new go-to sipping spot. I love that everything is in GLASS bottles. Let’s get rid of that plastic stuff already.
- My Usual Order: Totally depends. I typically go with what my body is asking for when it comes to a juice stop.
Grocery Stores I Go Wild For
- Whole Foods
- Whole Foods is for real whole pay check, but this is where I shop mostly as it has more options than most grocery stores in the area. Instacart + Amazon online shopping also make it easy to order groceries when life gets crazy. I prefer the one on H street.
- Yes Market
- Yes Market feels good to walk in. It’s got that natural vibe and tons of healthy packaged food products. I pop in here often for a fresh pressed juice or a granola bar if I need a snack. They’ve got lots of great options.
- Mom’s Organic
- Maybe it’s just me but could walk around Mom’s Organic for hours. NERD ALERT, I know it. But, Mom’s carries super clean packaged food products. I am always discovering a new healthy protein bar or a coconut yogurt that’s not available at Whole Foods.
- Eastern Market
- Farmer’s markets are always where it’s at. There are multiple in DC so do a quick search if you’re new to the area. I like to swing by Eastern Market on a Sunday and pick up some healthy ingredients for a fun dinner.
Hope you find this guide to Washington, DC helpful. This city holds a place in my heart and while it’s not quite a Los Angeles (the healthy food Mecca), it’s 100% possible to chow down on delicious nutrition approved food here.
P.S. If you have a hidden healthy gem that’s not on the list, please comment below and let me in on the low down. Always on the hunt for healthy new spots!