By Jan Norris
Ah, those New Year resolutions — here they come again.
If they include eating healthier, you’re in luck — a number of spots will put you on the right road in South County.
Along with a dine-in meal — breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner — many of them also offer meal plans to provide their foods at home. They can be customized for number of days per week, as well as menu choices.
To understand some of the terms on these menus, here’s a brief rundown:
Gluten free: Foods free of products containing wheat, barley, rye and triticale. The strictest restaurants do not cross contaminate with gluten products — crucial for people with celiac disease.
Vegetarian: Foods free of animal flesh or byproducts. Some vegetarians are ovo-lacto, meaning they will eat eggs — including caviar — and dairy products, or consume byproduct foods where no animal is killed; thus these dishes are marked vegetarian.
Vegan: Totally animal-free foods (these foods have “no mother or a face”). Includes products such as honey, produced by insects.
Raw: Primarily organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, sprouts and seeds. No food is warmed beyond 118 degrees. Not necessarily vegetarian (raw milk, sushi, and carpaccio organic meats are eaten by some raw foodists).
Paleo: Unprocessed foods that would have been obtained by hunter-gatherers; wild, natural foods. Typically lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, sprouts and seeds. Grass-fed and wild game meats are paleo. Dairy, refined sugar, wheat and farmed grains and legumes are avoided.
Sustainable: Briefly, foods that are environmentally and economically friendly, provide social benefits for growers, harvesters and their communities, and those that avoid wasting natural resources. This group of foods has a long list of attributes.
Locally grown: This can mean a wide region, especially in South Florida, where growing season is a short fall and winter. Ask for farm names and confirm with the farms, if you are concerned.
Here are some restaurants where you can find some of these foods on their menus:
A few are casual upscale restaurants, such as True Food Kitchen in Town Center, Boca Raton. Gluten-free, vegan, paleo and grass-fed are a few of the terms you’ll find on the menu. Along with full service, as well as takeout or delivery, it offers customizable meal-prep services.
Overall, True Food Kitchen offers a lot of options, especially for groups dining out with a variety of tastes. From pizzas, sandwiches and bowls to full entrees that can be customized, the restaurant strives to accommodate its diners. It is linked to Dr. Andrew Weil, a noted cookbook and healthy food author.
Farmer’s Table in the Wyndham Hotel in Boca Raton offers a number of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as more traditional fare from sustainable and local sources. Chef/owner Joseph Giannuzzi is known in the community for his “green” food objective — healthy and sustainable.
Raw salads, vegan quinoa or chicken meatballs, pasta made from squash and vegan cheeses are some of the items on the seasonal menu. Side items emphasize plant-based foods, and Buffalo drumettes are made with cauliflower, served with a vegan ranch dip.
With baby back ribs and roasted salmon on the menu, there’s a dish for everyone in your group.
At Gary Rack’s Farmhouse Kitchen on Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach (also in Boca Raton in Royal Palm Place), the dishes lean more paleo than vegetarian or vegan, but each is available. Bison meatloaf, shrimp and grits, and a buffalo meat burger served with a roster of vegetables give meat-eaters healthier options.
Pizzas with cauliflower and seed crusts are gluten free, and some are vegetarian and vegan.
Greens are organic, and some vegan offerings include a vegan-veggie burger, as well as an avocado Caesar salad.
Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar, at 1841 S. Federal Highway, Delray Beach, provides a full restaurant and wine bar experience. The emphasis is on seasonal fare, using local ingredients with unusual sauces and sides.
The roasted mushroom toast appetizer has a white bean-cashew “crema,” along with a charred cipollini, pomegranate and sorrel combo. There’s a warm butternut squash dip, and organic hummus served with an Israeli apple-celery slaw and naan.
Both grass-fed beef and bison burgers are available, as is a wild-mushroom cheese steak sandwich. Three entree bowls are on the menu: quinoa and vegetables; black beans and rice; and Korean vegetable fried grains. They are available with proteins such as chicken, shrimp, salmon and organic tofu.
One section of the menu is devoted to plant-based vegan, including an all-veggie burger, eggplant parmesan, pumpkin ravioli and an “Impossible Chorizo Burrito.”
Joey and Victor Weiss, a wife and husband duo, run Joey’s Home Bakery Gluten Free in Boynton Beach, at 1532 SW Eighth St. You can find a full roster of baked goods, including their new gooey cinnamon bun, and loaves of bread, pastries and treats — all gluten free. Many offerings are paleo and vegan, including cakes, cookies and quiches.
All products are baked in-house, including their gluten-free bagels. They offer both delivery and takeout. Specialties are on the board.
A number of small cafés dot Pineapple Grove in Delray Beach with healthy offerings in a casual, counter-serve atmosphere.
At Roots, in the Delray Beach Market food hall, you’ll find a variety of bold flavors in the vegan dishes, such as squash tamales with a cashew sauce, hearts of palm tacos and Buffalo fried cauliflower. Find the unusual jackfruit used on a Reuben sandwich. Counter takeout and communal seating are available.
In Boynton Beach, the Organic Kitchen and Mercantile, at 640 E. Ocean Ave., is open for breakfast and lunch with farm-raised meats, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free foods. The restaurant features a small café, takeout, and meal delivery plans.
The menu includes granola bowls, croissant sandwiches, brioche, and California style huevos rancheros. Organic, pasture-raised hen eggs, vegan cheese and nitrate-free bacon are featured.
Salads such as grilled artichoke arugula, a tahini green kale, and King Caesar can be dressed with chicken breast, sea scallops and local soft-shell crabcakes.
Buddha bowls and numerous sandwiches also are on the menu. Sides include air-fried veggies and potatoes.
In Boca Raton, the Living Green Cafe is set in the Fifth Avenue Shops at 2202 N. Federal Highway. A variety of sandwiches and wraps with vegan and gluten-free offerings are available. The specialties are fresh juices and smoothies, along with coffees and teas.
Brunch is served every day. Goat’s toast — vegetarian multigrain toast, avocado, dill, red onion and goat cheese, served with a side of greens — is a star offering.
Also on the menu are gluten-free, vegan pancakes; a protein omelet; the hippy omelet (avocado, onions, spinach, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and pesto); and a Greek bagel (with Greek yogurt, blueberries, honey and orange zest).
The establishment is also a small grocery with the same green products and fresh produce on the menu sold in a green-market format.
The Healthy Spot, a small takeout-only juice bar, is in the Shops at University Park, 141 NW 20th St., Boca Raton.
Smoothies, protein coffees, and energy teas start the menu, with healthy snacks in the mix such as protein waffles and protein donuts, as well as a donut “shot” that purports to “control hunger and reduce fat.”
Acai berry bowls and “loaded” teas have healthy properties spelled out on the menu. Power smoothies have flavors such as choco-peanut butter, strawberry shortcake and double chocolate.
Foods can be customized (sugar- and gluten-free) or come with certain macros added.
The shop has online ordering for pickup.
The New Vegan, a popular spot in Delray Beach for creative and house-made vegan foods, has closed. Fans of the Johnson family’s soul food offerings made completely from plant-based sources, including a take on fried chicken, now must go elsewhere for vegan, gluten-free and soy-free foods. No word on whether the establishment will open elsewhere to the public.
Jan Norris is a food writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org