The Clean Plates diet
BabyCakes on the Lower East Side is a "Clean Plates" approved spot, because of its dedication to healthy food.
By Lucy Cohen Blatter
We all know going out to eat is one of lifes greatest pleasures (no shopping, no cooking, no washing dishes). Unfortunately, its not always very healthy.
Thats where nutritional consultant Jared Koch and food reviewer Alex Van Buren come in. The two teamed up for the newly released Clean Plates N.Y.C., described as A guide to the healthiest tastiest Restaurants in Manhattan.
The authors criteria for the 75 chosen restaurants were that animal products should be hormone-free (preferably grass-fed), the restaurants should use high-quality sugars and oils, not too much salt and the food should taste good.
There are many vegan and vegetarian places among the listings, but some surprises too.
One of the biggest surprises is Mexican chain Chipotle. Koch defended the move (which he said is causing a bit of a stir) since the chain offers lots of vegetarian options and fresh vegetables and ingredients.
The person who started the company was committed to hormone-free fast food and good food, and theyre still doing that. Within the fast-food category, theyre doing the best, he said.Im pretty adamant about not eating animals that are pumped with hormones and antibiotics, so if youre going out to eat at a place where they serve meat like that, go for a fish or a vegetarian option like pasta, Koch said. He always suggests clients order pasta al dente, which has a lower glycemic index than overcooked pasta and causes less of a spike in blood sugar.
No matter what youre eating, Koch added, if you add a good amount of vegetables, it will counteract the toxic effects.
Koch pointed to the overconsumption of trans fats (now banned in NYC) and refined sugars as Americans biggest eating woes. But there are lots of places in the city that are making delicious desserts with good quality sweeteners, such as agave, honey and maple syrup, he said.
New York is one of the better, if not the best, cities to eat healthy, he said. So many chefs care about their ingredients, and what theyre serving to their customers.
Some Clean Plates-approved restaurants
Telepan (Upper West Side)
Candle Cafe (Upper East Side)
City Bakery (Flatiron) (tip: walk past all the baked goods and hot chocolate and head to back for a wholesome brunch)
Babycakes (Lower East Side)
Uncle Marky's Organics (Midtown East)
Pure Food and Wine (Gramercy Park)(tip: you can go less expensive and more casual around the corner at their tiny outpost One Lucky Duck)
Community Food and Juice (Morningside Heights)