Holiday Detox: Clean Eating Options at Restaurants in the D

By: Amber Ogden | January 2, 2015

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the holiday season is behind us and we’re already into the New Year! It seems like 2014 was just yesterday, er, well, I guess it was sort of just yesterday. Still, we’re into a new calendar year and getting ready to go onto bigger and better things!

Let’s not allow one of those “bigger” things to be our waistlines, shall we? If you’re anything like the average Metro Detroiter, it’s likely you consumed the equivalent of your own weight in Christmas cookies and holiday dinners over the course of the past few months. Now, it’s time to detox!

Just because you’re trying to eat better now doesn’t mean you can’t allow yourself to have any fun. You can still meet your girlfriends for lunch, or head out to dinner with your family without going crazy, calorie-wise. Here are a few restaurants in the Metro Detroit area where you can stick to eating clean:

The Big Salad, with several Metro Detroit locations, allows you to choose from pre-designed salads or build your own. Sandwiches, soups and wraps are also on the menu, and you can pick a healthy pair to create your own tasty combination.

With all the different toppings and dressings offered, there are over 17 million different ways to create a salad here! Try the Apple Walnut Salad (with granny smith apples, honey smoked bacon, walnuts, romaine lettuce and balsamic garlic dressing), Alaskan King Salad (with crab, broccoli, peas, chow mein noodles, spinach and wasabi dressing) or Caesar Salad (with romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, croutons and Caesar dressing).

The Clean Plate, 45629 Hayes, Shelby Twp., is a vegetarian restaurant with plenty of fresh and healthy offerings. This restaurant utilizes organic ingredients from local farms, so you never have to feel guilty about what you’re ordering. The menu consists of soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, featured entrees, smoothies and more.

The Michigan Salad (mixed greens with goat cheese, balsamic raisins, maple candied walnuts, cucumber, tomato, white navy beans and the recommended maple balsamic or honey mustard dressing) or daily soup (served with Avalon organic bread) are great light choices.

Open-face sandwich melts include the Grecian Melt (marinated artichoke hearts, sautéed red onion and bell peppers, arugula, olives and feta or vegan cheese on organic bread, served with roasted beets, mixed greens and Greek dressing) and Mushroom Melt. You can even enjoy Mac and Cheese without the guilt! It’s made with gluten free quinoa pasta and a sauce made of almond milk, butternut squash, cauliflower, garlic and Dijon.

If you enjoy The Clean Plate, be sure to check out its sister restaurant, Cacao Tree Café, 204 W. 4th St., in Royal Oak.

The Lunch Room, 407 N. 5th Ave., Ann Arbor, is a vegan restaurant that uses organic produce and the finest ingredients possible. When trying to eat clean, what better place to be? Starting your New Year’s healthy eating routine off here is more than a solid idea.

Sandwiches include the T.L.T., a vegetarian take on the B.L.T. (made with tempeh, lettuce and tomato), which can also be prepared as a gluten free salad. As for entrees, try the Lumberjack Salad (with romaine lettuce, marinated tofu, carrot-radish pickle, tomato wedges, olives, red peppers, red onion, cucumber and toasted walnuts with a ginger citrus vinaigrette), Burrito Bowl (gluten free, with black beans, corn, cumin-lime rice, avocado, cashew sour cream, lettuce and pico de gallo) and Pad Thai (noodles with spicy coconut milk peanut sauce, tofu, red bell pepper, cilantro, cucumber, crushed peanuts and lime).

Seva, with locations in Ann Arbor and Detroit, has similar menus at each location, including a special featured menu for the week. The completely vegetarian menu includes a fresh juice bar, as well as full bar (just because you’re eating clean doesn’t mean you can’t have the occasional glass of Chardonnay, right?).

Ann Arbor’s menu includes General Tso’s Cauliflower (tempura battered with sesame seeds, served with sweet and sour chili sauce), Chargrilled Vegetable Salad (with chargrilled mushrooms, red and yellow peppers, zucchini and red onion, served on lettuce with your choice of sesame crusted goat cheese or homemade almond “cheese”) and Artichoke Spinach Hummus Wrap (with carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and lettuce in a whole wheat wrap).

The menu in Detroit features similar menu items, and you might enjoy the Chickpea Chopped Salad, Cilantro-Peanut Stir Fry or Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadilla.

The Inn Season Café, 500 E. 4th St., Royal Oak, has been serving up vegetarian and vegan dishes with fresh, local and organic ingredients for over 30 years. The café has picked up numerous awards over the years, and always has a great daily lunch special.

The Bleu Cheese and Walnut Salad, Mediterranean Salad and Brown Rice Salad (with red peppers, cucumber, scallion, celery, carrot, fresh herbs, pecans, currants, garlic lemon and olive oil served on a bed of mixed greens) are all great healthy options. If that doesn’t fit your fancy, you can make your own!

The Big Baprawski (tempeh “burger” patties with regular or vegan cheese, lettuce, tomato and sautéed onion on a whole grain bun, served with coleslaw and tortilla chips) and Shanghai Noodle Factory (whole wheat noodles served with shiitake miso sauce and your choice of tempeh, tofu or sea vegetable) are a few of the tasty entrée options.

It’s early in the game, so you may find yourself wanting to revert to your old ways when the first sugar craving hits. Try your very best to resist, and enjoy a healthy meal in the D instead. Happy New Year, and happy eating!