by Lisa Bruno
If you had to describe the food options in Hoboken, most people would start to rattle off indulgent items they get at their favorite watering hole. Hoboken does claim to boast more bars per capita than any other town.
But times are changing, Hoboken is now home to over 15 different fitness studios and gym, Work it Out is included as one of the first studios, if you don’t mind us sharing that little fact! Residents are becoming more health conscious and are looking to not just workout more, but also compliment that workout with a nutritious meal.
But where do you go to find these meals? It is hard to navigate with all the different restaurants and stores. We did a little market research and taste tested a variety of places. Try out some of our recommendations and see what jives with your palate.
When you are in need of something fresh, but cannot decide what you feel like, visit Pure Pita. This is a great option if you are a vegetarian as well, tons of different non-meat options. We do not believe that to eat healthy you need to subsist on just salads, so if you are in the mood for some carbohydrates, like we all are, try a pita! Pitas in general are a great alternative to rolls, buns, and other traditional breads for salads, just make sure it is whole wheat. Try out the Grilled Athena Pita for a vegetable overload and ask for a little hummus to kick up the protein. This is a perfect, post-workout meal, when you want to go light and kick-up your nutrient intake. If you are in the mood for greens, their salads come with tons of grilled chicken or grilled vegetables, so much that you could probably take half home and use for another meal (double whammy!).
Don’t forget to visit their neighbor Buddha Press, who just recently opened. You can find a variety of freshly made juices and smoothies. One quick tip when you are looking to order a juice or smoothie. These delicious beverages could be high in calories, so make a wise decision when you are drinking them. We recommend all juices to be incorporated into your day as a snack, not a beverage with a meal. Calories could range from as low as 90-calories or as high as 200-calories. For a lower calorie option look to sip on Green Gold or Zen Master, both have higher quantities of vegetables included, which are naturally low in calories and sugar, but give you a great amount of vitamins.
For smoothies, these can be entered into your daily food selection as a light meal, ranging from 250-375-calories. Smoothies typically have a dairy base; at Buddha Press they create their own non-diary base such as cashew or almond milk. Both are a better option due to lower calories and ideal for anyone with a lactose intolerance. We recommend Green Carnation for a nice blend of fruit and greens, as well as higher calorie, more filing option with Believer, this smoothie should be incorporated into your day when you are on the go and won’t be able to eat a real meal for 3-hours or so.
This place isn’t just about stuffed French toast and empanadas, however both are equally delicious in their own right! La Isla could possibly have the best salad west of the Hudson River; enter the Ensalada de Espinaca y Remolacha, a.k.a. spinach salad. It includes mangos, macadamia nuts, roasted beets, blue cheese and more for a flavorful and filling salad. You can add chicken or shrimp on this delectable salad too. Portion size is perfect, and so is the price, $10.00.
When you are in a rush, there are great places to grab and go breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. There happens to be two places on the same block of Washington Street that fit this bill – Basic and Aspen Market. Basic is a vegan, vegetarian’s dream. You can grab a variety of different sandwiches and salads that are premade, or something frozen for low prep time. Then a few steps away, Aspen Market has a fresh, hot and cold, pre-made meal items that range from steamed vegetables, grilled chicken and more. When you are purchasing food that you serve yourself, just watch your portion size. Any meat protein, like chicken or salmon, should be the size of your palm and quantities of grains like quinoa, brown rice should be the size of your first. The good news is, as long as the vegetables are steamed with minimal sauce or butter, you can have unlimited amounts of those!
The truth is, you can find a variety of healthy options at even more places than what is listed here. You just need to make smart decisions. Look for items on the menu that are grilled, baked, broiled. Steer clear of anything that is described as ‘crispy,’ which implies that it is fried. Also, watch your portion size. If you are ordering out and want to treat yourself to something decadent, eat half and take the other half home. That way you can fulfill your decadent taste, but won’t blow your whole diet for the day.
There’s so much to be discovered in this one-square mile, so go out there and see what it has to offer. If you stumble upon another healthy spot, leave a comment and share it with us!
Lisa Bruno is the co-founder and director of business development at Work it Out Fitness Studios<http://www.workitoutgym.com> in Hoboken. Bruno is an avid fitness and nutrition enthusiast (and has been since a very young age). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Food & Nutrition and is currently pursuing her certification as a Registered Dietitian.