After you read this, you’ll be a pro at finding healthy restaurants. Learn how to tell apart low-quality food from truly healthy options. Ask the questions that give scams away.
We tend to think that if the restaurant food tastes good, it must be healthy. In reality, the main ingredients — oils, veggies, meats, fish, eggs, spices, etc. — makes a world of difference. It’s almost impossible to find organic restaurants where all of the ingredients are certified but there is another trick to finding quality food.
What to Search for
The “Farm-to-Table” option is usually a good choice when it comes to your plate. Some restaurants partner with local farms to bring seasonal produce, meat and eggs. The farms may or may not be certified organic and it’s a good idea to ask at the restaurant about their farms’ practices. Listen for sustainable farms that follow organic practices and don’t spray.
If the restaurant you are considering is not on our listing or you are searching in a specific area, here are a few tips:
- Search “farm-to-table” followed by café, restaurant, etc. You can search “organic,” too but you’ll likely end up with coffee shops that offer organic coffee where the food may not be certified organic.
- Go to each restaurant’s website and look for information on where they source their food. If the restaurant went the extra mile, that information will be easily available. If you can’t find it, assume they use the cheapest ingredients. As a final resort, you can call them and ask:
- Where do you source your food from? — if they don’t know, they can ask the chef. If you get no good answer, assume the worst.
- Are your eggs organic? — if they say that they are “cage-free,” read the post on how to recognize misleading labels and you’ll understand why that’s not good enough. You’re looking for “pastured” or “pasture-raised.” It’s rare that farms that pasture their chickens go for the organic certification, too, and when they do, their eggs end up being too expensive for restaurants.
- Are your meets grass fed? — if they don’t know, assume the worst
- Is the fish farm-raised or wild-caught? — there’s plenty of information on the elevated toxicity in farm-raised sea food and the hazardous use of antibiotics. If you are desperate and eat farm-raised sea food, plan to do a detox after or at least take some activated charcoal to help expel the toxins. This is the brand I’ve been getting lately — Nature’s Way.
- A high-end restaurant may not have as much information — while we tend to assume that the size of the bill correlates to the quality of ingredients, that is not always the case. Always assume the worstuntil you are told otherwise. Ask!
It’s your right to know — so ask the questions! Your body deserves the best.
Listing of Restaurants
For me and my family, looking for good food options on the go has been a challenge, so we gladly share a recommended list of eateries. The food chains we love are Chipotle, Bareburger and Dig Inn — Make sure to always ask what is organic or sustainable as options and practices change.
The key takeaways are always ask about what you order. If your server doesn’t know, assume the worst— you’ll be served food made with the lowest quality ingredients. Restaurants that go the extra mile to get the best ingredients, go the extra mile to tell you about it.
Author: Milla, Organic World Club