Greetings! Today's blog post comes from Environmental Intern Jasmine Jefferies! Enjoy.
We have all grown to love Isla Vista and all that it entails. With that being said, the food establishments in Isla Vista are notorious for being unhealthy. While many go to these places for a quick bite after class, or for a late night meal, there are definitely some healthier options that you can choose while eating out in Isla Vista. Here is a list of Isla Vista’s most popular spots and their healthier alternatives. When you want to eat out and make conscious decisions at the same time consider these options:
Freebirds: Although famous for their monster burrito, that option is definitely not the healthiest to choose from. From Freebirds, the healthiest options are the salads and bowls they offer. The grilled white meat is better than the steak option, as it is lower in sodium and fat. If you want to skip meat in general, then you can substitute the grilled veggie option which includes free guacamole! The rice options are about the same, nutritionally speaking. For beans, the healthier option is the whole pinto beans, or the black beans, versus the refried beans. This switch will save you on calories, extra sodium and a lot of fat. Next up is cheese. Typically Freebirds is very heavy-handed with the cheese. In order to save some calories and fat, ask them for either no cheese or only a little bit. As far as sauces, be careful of barbeque sauce and ranch because they pack a lot of calories, sodium, and sugar for a small amount of product. Try a fresher option such as a freshly squeezed lime wedge, or a pico de gallo. At the end, load on as many vegetables as possible, such as mixed greens, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
Silvergreens: Silvergreens is the best food establishment in Isla Vista, if you are looking for healthy, quick food that tastes amazing. They use tons of produce and make everything fresh. They serve salads, sandwiches, and flavorful side dishes. Although fairly healthy already, the following items are some of the best options they offer. For salad, they have the mezze salad bowl, harvest bowl, and the seared ahi salad. The key with salads is to get their grilled chicken instead of the crispy wontons. Lastly, the most helpful tip for ordering salads anywhere is to get the dressing on the side and stick to lighter vinaigrettes, rather than heavy dressings such as ranch or Caesar. Most of the time, a majority of the calories, sugar, and fats come from the dressing. For sandwiches, the stars are their chicken pesto and the wise vegan. Consider making your sandwich open-faced. Remove the top of the bun to save on calories and reduce carbohydrates. Additionally, you will want to select the grilled meat instead of the crispy meat and also go with the wheat oat roll over the brioche bun. You can also take out the aioli, or ask for it on the side. For sides, they have an ancient grain minestrone and a kale and turkey sausage soup.
Buddha bowls: Buddha bowls offer a simple menu. They have their classic bread bowls and salads. Since no one wants to get a salad at buddha bowls, here are some tips to make you feel a little less guilty about that late night bread bowl. For the bowl, choose the whole wheat option and for sauces, their homemade hummus. If you are choosing meat, the grilled chicken is a better option. Now for the veggies, load on as many as you like, you can even ask for extra veggies. Even though it may be tempting, try to avoid their signature Mac Daddy bowl, as it is very high in calories and fat. One other key tip is to ask for no oil, or very light oil, on the lid of the bowl.
PokiRito and Poke Ceviche: For these popular spots, you can build your own poke bowl/ burrito. There are just a couple things to look for when ordering from these places. For the base, opt for brown rice or mixed greens (or a mix of both). Poke Ceviche also has a quinoa option which is a great source of protein. Again, pile on all the vegetables you can. Some things to be careful sauces and fried toppings. Make sure you choose a lighter dressing, such as a citrus-based sauce. Try to avoid aioli, as this is really just flavored mayonnaise. These bowls are so flavorful that you can completely skip the sauce and not miss out on a thing.
As mentioned, the items listed above are some of the better options these eateries offer. Typically, when eating out versus eating at home, the food is higher in calories, fat, sugar and especially sodium.