‘Tis that time of year when everyone promises to get fit, eat healthy and quit bad habits. Not one for “rabbit food” or overly simple tastes, I’m the last person to say stop eating pizza and burgers. But let’s face it, we could all use a hearty salad or grilled fish now and then.
This list of top 10 healthy and delicious restaurants in Plano are based on my own experience as a food writer, as well as the well-versed input of fellow food lovers and health-conscious diners. Whether choosing vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo or just a little lighter after the holidays, these Plano eateries have something to offer most every palate.
Taziki’s Mediterranean Café
The list’s newest addition to Plano’s healthy dining scene, Taziki’s offers Mediterranean food in a fast-casual setting. Reasonably priced take-home dinners for four are available with advance notice; bring home juicy grilled or roasted chicken, pork loin or lamb for the whole family. It features healthy kids-menu items, a welcome break from the tired chicken nugget scene, although a beloved grilled cheese is also available. If going low-carb or gluten-free, try the hummus served with veggies instead of pita, grilled salmon salad, grilled veggie gyro or any number of vegan platters.
(featured above: Chargrilled Lamb Feast at Taziki’s // photo Jenice Johnson Williams)
Fast casual salads, sandwiches and soups make breakfast, lunch or dinner on-the-go a diner’s dream at Modern Market. Friends rave about the prosciutto and eggs breakfast and the Thai coconut salad with chicken. Finding a meal for most diets – vegan, gluten-free, raw, paleo, South Beach – is a breeze at this place.
Those who still demand big flavors, even when eating healthy, can breathe now, because Thai cuisine offers exactly that. Bold, spicy flavors come in the forms of curries and other flavorful soups at Ruang and fellow local Thai restaurants. Excellent are the Tom Kha and Tom Yam soups and pretty much any variation of its curry. The soft shrimp spring rolls are a great starter that keep it light.
Sushi is a healthier meal option even when not trying to be health conscious. Sushi Haruya is my go-to spot for fresh fish in Plano. Sushi and sashimi are always great ways to eat fresh and light. Not every roll is equally healthy–watch out for the tempura/fried ones. Some favorite non-fried rolls at Haruya are the namesake Haruya roll and the City of Plano roll (made with spicy crab and spicy tuna). The menu also offers other traditional Japanese dishes for those who don’t do sushi.
Dedication to quality ingredients and delicious tasting food make Zoe’s Kitchen one of my first choices when choosing a healthy meal out. Favorites include the spinach roll-ups, kabobs, Mediterranean chicken or its new Live Med salad.
It’s most definitely tough to find a drive-thru serving healthy eats, and that’s exactly where Wholesome Grub cleverly fills a gaping hole in the healthy food market. WG was voted Plano Magazine’s Best Healthy Eating in Plano last year and it makes the list because of its major convenience factor. This one was a favorite among nearly all healthy eaters polled, and it touts vegan, vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free options. Frequent diners recommend the fish tacos, kale chips, breakfast bowl, sweet potato fries and seaweed salad with ginger wasabi dressing.
It’s wintertime, and who doesn’t love a great bowl of pho? Absolutely nothing compares to a hot soupy broth and tender slurp-worthy noodles on a blustery day. Beyond the pho at Pho Apple, one can also find a separate vegetarian/vegan menu including stir-fried tofu and vegetable vermicelli.
Snappy is a salad lover’s paradise. Create a personalized bowl of green goodness, or choose from one of its many pre-designed salads, like the grilled avocado salad (a healthy fat) or the yellowfin tuna salad. Tip: Even the so-called “half” snaps are HUGE and I can never finish one. For anyone who is absolutely starving and just finished a new year’s resolution workout, go big. If not, half size is the way to go.
Tapas (small plates) are the name of the game at Café Izmir; portion sizes are smaller, meaning diners can try more of its healthy selections. The Mediterranean diet has been rumored by some to be the healthiest, so daily eating habits can be redeemed by digging into this type of cuisine as often as possible. Start with hummus, original or flavored, spicy eegra (eggplant) or a mezza platter with a choice of three dips. Share kabobs, dolmas and grilled shrimp for a healthy variety. Vegetarians will be happy with plenty of options here.
Adventurous foodies will love Kesari, a restaurant serving Indian vegetarian cuisine with a variety of North and South Indian homestyle specialties. A nice selection of dosas, thalis, various daily features and curries are offered. Seating is limited; consider calling in an order and taking it to go if in a rush.
Bonus! You lucky online readers get a few more options for healthy dining in Plano.
LYFE stands for “Love Your Food Everyday,” and there’s plenty to fall for on the large menu at LYFE Kitchen. No need to say goodbye to french fries just because you’re on the healthy wagon; opt for baked sweet potato fries. Other favorites are the quinoa crunch bowl, mahi fish tacos, Art’s un-fried chicken and seasonal grilled artichoke hearts. LYFE has many gluten-free and vegan options, and menu items with nuts are explicitly labeled for those with allergies.
If you overdid the ham and turkey over the holidays, Malgudi Garden is the place to go. Strictly meat-free with lots of vegan options as well, the restaurant offers a weekend breakfast buffet serving South Indian breakfast items and hot coffee, a daily lunch buffet and a regular menu during dinner. An assortment of vegetarian pizzas will satisfy pizza cravings.
This healthy list would be remiss without including a few local favorite juice spots. Drink fresh at Nékter Juice Bar (try The Greenie) or the newly-opened I Love Juice Bar (I heart the Pineapple Greens).