Where To Find Healthy Eats in CT: 2017 Edition

April Guilbault

We usually post our “Healthy Eats” roundup at the beginning of January, when everyone is recovering from their holiday-induced food stupors. Indulgence ruled the roost for one-too-many weeks, so January brings a time of detox “get it all away from me” vigilance. After thinking about all of this healthy food, though, we realized that healthy eating isn’t just for those first weeks in January; it’s for all twelve months. I mean, man cannot survive on pork belly and butter alone (can he?).

Knowing that many of our readers are vegan, vegetarian or just plain into moderation and wellness, we know you will find this list useful the whole year through. Take note, many great healthy eating establishments are continually popping up, so this is just a smattering of what’s out there. Also, be sure to check out our past two years of “Healthy Eats” articles and please don’t hesitate to chime in with your faves if they don’t appear here. We love a healthy new discovery! p.s.-We cannot leave you without the gentle reminder that dark, dark chocolate is technically good for you (…and the crowd goes wild…).

Driftwood Diner

171 Post Road, Darien

www.driftwooddiner.com

The recently opened Driftwood Diner is not your typical diner....it’s a finer diner serving delicious, rustic, honest, diner-inspired comfort food. From classic, nostalgic flavors to new twists on old favorites, the streamlined menu covers traditional diner ‘greatest hits’ from short-stack pancakes to grass-fed beef burgers served in a bright and charming atmosphere. Anyone seeking healthy fare will be happy to find vegan, vegetarian and Mediterranean options, as well. Healthy breakfast items include avocado multi-grain toast topped with an organic sunny side egg, roast tomato and pickled vegetables, bircher muesli (chilled oats, apple, greek yogurt, cinnamon) or huevos rancheros with sunny organic eggs, resting on a bed of zesty pico di gallo, feta, smoky black beans, lime crema, avocado, and flour tortillas. Local ingredients fill the all-day menu that spans a variety of dishes.

Embody

Westport, Darien, New Canaan

www.embodyfitnessgourmet.com

EMBODY begins 2017 with its most revolutionary menu yet! Their latest edition of its fitness inspired menu is as rich in function as it is in flavor. Whether you eat vegan, paleo, or anything in between, Embody has the perfect offerings for all manners of healthy eating, embracing all forms of lean proteins and nutrient-dense veggies and fruits-this is not your typical health café or juice bar. Try their vegan Twisted Chia protein shake alongside our Paleo Chef Bomb salad, for instance. Diversity in healthy food selections and fast and friendly service makes Embody a top pick for healthy eating in CT. Embody has 3 locations in Fairfield County: Embody New Canaan, its newest store, located on Forest Street sports a beautiful street storefront and plenty of parking. Embody Westport begins its 5th year of business located conveniently in Saugatuck area and Embody Darien will have a new home soon, as they have outgrown their original location and are excited to expand offerings in a new space to the broader community (currently it is in the Equinox Fitness Club on Heights Road, and will be relocating just down the street in the Noroton Heights Shopping Center in March). Their mission says it all: To uncomplicate the simple act of eating well.

Garelick & Herbs


Southport, Saugatuck, New Canaan, Greenwich

www.garelickandherbs.com
Purveyors of colorful, clean foods! The cases of Garelick & Herbs are filled with colorful, healthy foods made from scratch with ingredients that you can feel good about; you can even watch our chefs chopping and preparing right before your eyes. Now that’s food transparency! Enjoy coming in to visit us and prepare yourself for the scent of homemade goods being baked in our in-house bakery (swoon). Jason Garelick is committed to bringing the finest the finest locally grown vegetables, free range poultry, and a selection of wild Alaskan salmon into G &H. Paola Garelick has been creating menus that give you fresh, flavorful and exciting gluten-free and vegan options. Their soups are all house-made and are now labeled to make it easy to find vegetarian, dairy free and gluten-free choices. Stop on by and enjoy tasting the difference. 

The Granola Bar

Westport, Greenwich

www.thegranolabarct.com

The Granola Bar has developed a loyal following in the Fairfield County area, fulfilling its mission to give the people what they want.  All day breakfast and lunch includes freshly made eggs, avocado toast, sandwiches and wraps, salads, parfaits and, of course, granola.  Add to that artisanal coffee, signature smoothies and an array of baked goods. Many fans of the restaurant commend their dedication to serving fresh, healthful dishes and offering a multitude of gluten-free and paleo options for diners. For the first time since opening in 2013, The Granola Bar has debuted a “Classics Menu” that will remain a staple at all current and future locations. New additions include the long-awaited Acai Bowl, Raw Oatmeal, a tasty Breakfast Salad and an abundance of new toppings for their famed Avocado Toast - and that’s just breakfast! The Upper West Side, a favorite from their original menu, has returned to the delicious list of salads. The Granola Bar is also introducing their house-made paleo bread with the addition of the Paleo Turkey Club, although the delicious bread can be subbed on any menu item. It’s no surprise as to why the restaurant has become an instant favorite. 

Maikana

www.maikanafoods.com

A recent addition to the health world of Fairfield County, Maikana Foods provides unique and creative “power bowls”. What is a power bowl, you say, and what does Maikana mean? It is the fun way to pack in nutrients and proteins while allowing for innovative and unique combinations- all in one bowl. Oh, the power! Mai Kana means “come and eat” in Fijian (chef/owner Jamieson Van Loan is Polynesian American, hailing from the beautiful islands of Fiji. Yeah, you can be jealous now). So, come and eat a quinoa bowl with turmeric-roasted sweet potatoes, lemon-scented shredded chicken, baby spinach, toasted pepita seeds, red onions, roasted sweet corn, pomegranate seeds with a cranberry maple chia seed dressing. Or muffins, parfaits, and soups! Maikana operates as an online business at this time, giving you the convenience to hop online, order a delicious bowl, and have it delivered to you by lunch the following day; talk about an easy way to harness that power (bowl). Free delivery to Darien & Norwalk and they hope to expand their delivery within the next few months, so keep an eye out for Maikana Foods in your neighborhood.

Nature’s Temptations

32 Prospect St., Ridgefield

www.naturestemptations.com

Nature’s Temptations is a Natural Food Market, Juice Bar, Café & Deli that promotes health and wellness in their local community and is committed to providing the highest-quality organic foods and natural products available. They even support local causes that contribute to the betterment of the environment and community (nice!), all the while striving to create an exceptional customer experience and making the world a better place. Their educated staff will listen to your health goals and challenges; they have a Naturopathic Physician available for free (yes, free!) 10-minute consultations and a Holistic Health Counselor on staff, too. These folks are there to help you choose a personalized approach for your optimal health and you’ll find lots of products for special diets including wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, raw, kosher, along with organic juicing options and seasonal juice cleanses. Stop by and support a local business that’s been nourishing and supporting the community for over 25 years and you’ll be doing something good for you, too!

Bar ‘Bucha

597 Riverside Ave., Westport

www.barbuchaelixers.com

Forget beer on tap…Kombucha on tap! But what *is* Kombucha? It’s a non-alcoholic fermented probiotic-laden tea that’s great for immunity, digestive health and detoxing the body from the bad stuff. Bar’Bucha offers a multitude of Kombuchas by the bottle or on tap. You can even have “mocktail” parties here or corporate events if you are looking for something new and different.

Bloodroot

85 Ferris St., Bridgeport

www.bloodroot.com

For almost 40 years, this feminist bookstore-and-cafe has been serving up organic, seasonal, ethnic, ever-changing menus. “Be prepared for pleasant surprises”, the listing says...ok, we’ll go for it. We love surprises. With an intriguing vegan and vegetarian menu offering items such as Chinese bean curd rolls, Shittake quiche, Mulligatawny soup, and decadent yet homey desserts customers are continually satisfied. Lunch, dinner and brunch are served, along with a wine and beer list, some of which being organic. All have been selected for a taste that is unique and memorable...just like the restaurant itself.

Boost Juice

16 P T Barnum Square, Bethel

www.boost-juice.com

Quick healthy options for lunch (sandwiches, wraps, salads) and oodles of healthy juices, smoothies, and protein shakes blended with whey protein. They offer 1-5 days juice cleanses to get rid of those pesky toxins and waste and BoostCycle is even attached for some on-premise cycling. There is no excuse to ditch your daily exercise and healthy eats when you can Boost it all in one place.

Catch a Healthy Habit

39 Unquowa Rd., Fairfield

www.catchahealthyhabit.com

Raw, vegan, gluten-free options and all super-healthy...catch it if you can! Head here for “pizza” with almond, olive and tomato crust and cashew cheese or “lasagna” with zucchini pasta and “tacos” in Romaine shells. Are you getting the picture? Smoothies, juices, raw desserts, salads and soups round out this extensive and raw-tastic menu.

Edge of the Woods Natural Market

379 Whalley Ave.,New Haven

www.eotwm.com

Begun in 1977, EOTW is the New Haven areas’s largest natural food market. With a juice and sandwich bar, hot bar, salad bar, deli and pizza section, bakery, produce, vitamins, health items, and gifts, flowers and plants, you can find anything healthful that you are looking for. It’s family run and loved. Check out their website for coupons, specials, and to sign up for their newsletter. 

Fragrant Basil

11 Main St., Norwalk

www.fragrantbasiljuicecafe.com

Breakfast (omelettes, parfaits, Big Bowls), lunch (salads galore, quinoa and chickpea burgers, wraps, paninis), soups, stews, homemade beverages (Hot Maca, Agave Lemonade, Matcha, homemade Hot Chocolate) and an extensive juice bar menu of fresh cold press juices and blended juices. They also offer a Pulse Juice Fast for 1-7 days and a kids’ menu. All served up with a bit of tropical flair.

Freshii

1 Main St., Westport. 

www.freshii.com

Unique offerings of flavorful, healthy “fast” food at affordable prices. With a diverse menu consisting of organic oatmeal, egg pockets, salads, wraps, burritos, bowls and soups, you will find all that you need to integrate more veggies and healthy grains and proteins into your daily eating. Made-to-order vegetable juices and fresh fruit smoothies round out their menu. Freshii has a chef-designed menu but they also offer the option to customize any dish of your choice. 

Green and Tonic

Cos Cob, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Westport

www.greenandtonic.com

Oodles of grab-and-go foods for breakfast, lunch and snacks all with “dynamic ingredients while keeping the bad stuff out.” Soups (7 Veggie with quinoa...), salads (cauliflower caesar...), wraps (sunflower seed tuna wrap...), cereal bowls (Acai bowl...), cold pressed juices, superfood smoothies, falafel snack packs, granolas, “anytime cookies”...the list goes on and on and you are sure to enjoy it all. 

G.Zen

2 East Main St., Branford

www.g-zen.com

G-Zen in Branford, CT is the CT Shoreline’s premiere 100% plant-based, vegan restaurant. The restaurant was awarded the “GREEN PLATE” Award by Natures Conservancy as CT’s most sustainable restaurant. They source many of their organic ingredients from their own farm called Shadle Farm in Durham CT, hence offering “Seed to Table” cuisine. Enjoy Vegan Nachos, Raw Tacos, Thimble Island “Crab” Cakes, Pure Radiance Salad and much more.There is full service dining (complete with organic wines and beers) and take-out and don’t miss their award-winning food truck called Gmonkey Mobile!

The Organic Market

Playhouse Square Shopping Center

285 Post Road East, Westport

This little store has stood the test of time and is considered by many to be a hidden gem in Westport. The front of the store stocks vitamins, books, and ingredients for your next healthy meal...but the back of the store is really where the action is! Their juice bar is hopping, cranking out fresh juices before your eyes. The Hot Bar brims with new items each day (not just lunch-y offerings, either, you can take home entree-like items for dinner). The fridge stocks to-go foods and they also offer prepared soups, salads, wraps, and sandwiches for take-away, as well. Note: seating is very limited.

Organika Kitchen

3546 Post Rd., Southport

www.organikact.com

A plant-based vegan kitchen where all ingredients are pure, organic, local, sustainable and make up such tasty delights as their veggie burgers, veggie gyros, pulled-pork (with Jackfruit - thought you caught them not being vegan, didn’t you?), and vegan pizza with kamut flour. Their raw treats and desserts that are made only with unrefined sugars and flours and house-made granola, almond milk, Acai bowls, and Tofu Scramble Wraps will get your day off to a great start. Also try their chock-full salads or Italian “meatballs” and baked sweet potato fries. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts and juices.

Pure Alchemy

236 North Colony Rd.,Wallingford

www.purealchemyjuice.com

Organic, fresh, and vegan...just keep adding in the good stuff, as the folks at Pure Alchemy say! You’ll be able to power your road trip with any number of dairy-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free and Paleo options that are available on this exciting menu. Offering plenty of fresh smoothies, juices, salads, wraps, “burgers (veggie nut)”, bowls, and desserts, you’ll be getting to know menu-players like kimchi, hemp seed, chaga, wheat grass and turmeric too. 

The Stand

Fairfield, Norwalk

www.thestandjuice.com

The Stand Juice Company is the real deal. Produce and other ingredients are sourced locally and are the products of close relationships to the many local farmers and artisans throughout Connecticut. With a healthy outlook and appreciation for the land, The Stand is thrilled to provide organic plant-based foods, such as snacks, “sammies” and “leafies” (that’s a salad to you and me) and a myriad of juices to people who have already, or have the desire to start incorporating healthy eating into their lifestyle. 

21 Oak

21 Oak St., Manchester

www.21oakmanchester.com

21 OAK is Edible Connecticut™: fresh and natural plant-based cuisine. They prepare seasonal, vegetarian, and vegan meals, using locally sourced ingredients that focus on nutritional, well-balanced meals with distinct flavors that come through in clear, vibrant tastes. 21 OAK's vision encompasses more than just nutritious and well-balanced meals: green and sustainable business practices are part of that vision. 21 OAK seeks to not only promote sustainable farming practices, but sustainable living practices as well. Heirloom varieties picked at their freshest produce exquisite meals that are served in their modest surroundings-the focus is on food, friends, and fellowship. This is a Plant-Based Cuisine for everyone. Be sure to check out their FB page for daily specials.



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