Meet Jessica Zelenko, our newest Dishing writer. Jessica is going to scout out the healthiest dishes at Jackson’s restaurants for us. Because let’s face it, while we are never afraid of a little pork belly or melted cheese, we just might be doing too much “dishing” and need to start watching what we order. Have somewhere you want her to investigate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. -Cara Rank
When I eat at a restaurant, I’m there to splurge, indulge and eat what I can’t make at home. I want the oysters, the slow-cooked risotto and the pork loin that has been pounded down, wrapped around stuffing and then wrapped in bacon. That is, I want all of this until I’m eating out three times a week and unable to fit in my pants.
If eating out is a rare treat, why hold back? But when your lifestyle has you eating out regularly, you need to balance your diet with some healthy options. Don’t let the desire to be healthy keep you stuck in the home stirring a big pot of rice and beans. In this column, I’m going to hunt down the healthiest options at Jackson’s restaurants.
Now, I am not a nutritionist. I am an average person who tries to live an above-average healthy life. To me, this means lots of whole, unprocessed foods with an emphasis on fruits and veggies. In my quest for personal health, I’ve read countless books and magazine articles, worked with nutritionists, studied first-hand the habits of the seemingly “naturally thin,” and generally become a health nut. My biggest question is always, “How can I be healthy while still being social and fun?”
What are restaurants’ healthiest dishes and how willing are they to adjust to dietary restrictions? I’m here to discover the answer and pass it along to you. Starting with Trio, a restaurant I truly love and respect, which has employed me for the past two years. At , they not only use high-quality ingredients, but they also do their best to cater to individual needs. I’m easily able to adjust food to work for self-imposed or health-imposed restrictions.
My top picks:
Arugula Salad: It doesn’t get simpler or healthier than this basic. Just arugula with lemon juice, olive oil and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, yet it still has an addictive quality.
Seared Scallops: High in protein, low in calories. This appetizer is also a great entrée, just get two orders plated together. This dish has a delicious light poblano pepper and tomato salsa, and just enough roasted corn cream for flavor.
Soup: Soup is a skinny girl secret. As long as it is not a cream-based calorie bomb, soups fill you up, and keep you from over-indulging on less healthy options. Most of Trio’s soups are purees, meaning only a small amount of cream, if any, and a lot of the good stuff, like tomatoes or asparagus.
Sautee Trout: For a dish your dietician would love, try the trout. Simplicity at it’s best; lightly sautéed trout with a serving of ratatouille, a mix of summer squashes in a tomato sauce. This dish is so good you won’t even miss carbs.
Grilled Lamb T-bones: If you are craving some red meat, why not pair it with a delicious summer salad instead of potatoes. This entrée is served with a sweet pea puree, heirloom watermelon radishes and local greens. The salad is so creative and flavorful it will feel decadent.
Wood-oven Roasted Chicken: This is not your mama’s chicken. Roasted in the wood oven and served with roasted heirloom tomatoes. Throw in a side of sautéed spinach and forget you are doing something good for yourself.
There are so many gluten free options at Trio I can’t even begin to list them. For a real treat though, come in for the risotto. You’ll feel like your eating a creamy Italian pasta dish, but not only does this slow-cooked rice dish not have gluten, it’s also dairy free. (Clarified butter is used in the cooking but can be left out upon request.) As for starters, the Watermelon and Prosciutto Salad is not to be missed.
It’s easy to swap cooked-in butter for cooked in olive oil at Trio. Many dishes are naturally dairy-free, such as the New York strip, wood-Ooven roasted chicken, and sautéed trout.
While the options are limited, they are wonderful. Try an arugula salad, verde pizza, which has olives and artichokes along with a basil pesto, and the risotto can easily be made vegetarian by leaving out the house-cured pork belly.
You can easily substitute a side salad or sautéed spinach instead of fries when ordering a burger.