Guilt-free Gourmet

Eating healthy. When you hear this phrase, what comes to mind? Calories? Carbs? The doughnut you’d like to be eating instead? Although the definition is different for everyone, there are a few tenants of healthy eating we can all agree upon: eating fresh, eating a balanced diet and everything in moderation. Fortunately for those of us in Lower Alabama, many of our local restaurants offer a variety of healthy dishes so you can maintain your diet while out on the town. Whether you’re strictly vegan or just looking for a healthier version of your favorite meal, there’s something in town for you.

If you’re looking to cut down on white bread or carbs, wraps can be a healthy alternative. Café 219 offers wraps made on spinach, tomato/basil or garlic/herb tortillas, with healthy fillings such as baby greens, sun-dried tomatoes, hummus, grilled chicken and eggplant. Pair the dish with a bowl of fresh, homemade tomato basil or asparagus soup for a hearty lunch.

Café 219 • 219 Conti St. 438-5234.

Sometimes salad gets a bad rap, but the salads at Camille’s Sidewalk Café are both delectable and wholesome. Choose your pick of three salads packed with protein with less than 300 calories: the Caesar Salad, a classic with creamy Caesar dressing, parmesan cheese and croutons; the Bangkok Thai Salad, a mountain of lettuce, carrots, grilled chicken, crunchy noodles, water chestnuts, sprouts and sunflower seeds, topped with sesame Oriental dressing; and The House, which comes in at only 152 calories and is topped with pepperjack, black olives, carrots, tomatoes, sprouts and sunflower seeds. As an after lunch treat, try a smoothie. The Blueberries Cozumel, made with blueberries, peaches and honey, is Camille’s best low-cal option at 189 calories.

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Camille’s Sidewalk Café • 5817 Old Shell Road. 343-0200. 

Less food does not mean less filling for two of Mobile’s beloved local restaurants. Kitchen on George and Café 615 both offer small portions of their favorite culinary delights. Kitchen on George, which also makes a point to use local ingredients and create seasonally-inspired menus, serves dishes tapas-style, on small plates and bowls. This allows customers to control their portion sizes and still enjoy healthy, flavorful dishes such as roasted red pepper hummus and blackened salmon. Café 615 has what it calls “lite bites, ” and offers dishes such as traditional grilled bruschetta and Thai pork lettuce wraps. The dishes may be smaller than you’re used to, but they’re equally as tasty.

Kitchen on George • 351 George St. 436-8890. 

Café 615 • 615 Dauphin St. 432-8434. 

Searching for a meatless menu? The Sunflower Café II has one of the largest varieties of vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes. The café’s stir fry options, which include lemongrass, Thai curry and sesame ginger, are all vegan and vegetarian-friendly and wheat, lactose and gluten free. The café also has wraps, sandwiches, appetizers and pasta dishes that are vegan and vegetarian-friendly. Two other restaurants that boast interesting vegetarian options are Mediterranean Sandwich Co. and Ollie’s Mediterranean Grill. Both offer classic Mediterranean fare perfect for a vegetarian diet. Ollie’s offerings include hummus or baba ghannouge with fresh pita, vegetarian grape leaves, falafel with tahini and tabbouli with hummus. Meanwhile, Mediterranean Sandwich Co.’s options include vegetable or portabella gyros, a falafel burger, a roasted vegetable and cheese pita and Tzatziki dip.

The Sunflower Café II • 3952 Airport Blvd., Suite B. 345-0495. 

Mediterranean Sandwich Company • 274 Dauphin St. 545-3161. 2502 Schillinger Rd. S. 725-0126. 

Ollie’s Mediterranean Grill • 1248 Hillcrest Road. 634-9820. 1850 Airport Blvd. 607-6004.

What is your favorite healthy dish or restaurant in Mobile?

text by Amber Franklin

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