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Maybe you’ve actually firmly resolved to drops some pounds with the coming of the New Year, or maybe (like myself) you’re simply regretting the 10 billion calories you consumed over the last months of 2012 and you’re determined to get back to a more humane, less gluttonous, dietary routine. Either way, it’s never a bad idea to consider developing healthier eating habits. Now, I adore fat-filled foods such as fried chicken, burgers, or mac & cheese as much as any other food fanatic. I love donuts as much as I love my own children (slight exaggeration). But I try to be relatively health-conscious in my dietary choices throughout the majority of my week and I know that finding a nutritious meal when dining out can be a challenge. But some establishments are doing things right, providing excellent options for anyone looking for a healthy yet palatable meal.
I’ve searched all over Little Rock for house-baked, stone-ground whole wheat bread, and I’m convinced the best is found at Old Mill Bread. Here, whole wheat flours are milled daily, you won’t find any additives or preservatives, and no bagged mixes are ever used. Many of their healthiest breads have no added fats, oils, or sugars. Their honey whole wheat is gently sweetened only with pure clove honey. Our family goes through a loaf of the stuff in about two days. Their whole wheat bread is also sold as bags of dinner rolls, which make an excellent, filling snack when you need a quick morsel in a pinch. Their Sesame Sunflower is also beautifully done and incorporates sunflower seeds, flax, and sesame into their whole-wheat loaves. For a sweeter treat, you might opt for their Cranberry Orange, which incorporates tangy cranberries and orange zest into their whole-wheat mixture. For lunch, you might consider their healthier sandwich options such as roasted turkey with cranberry mustard or the grilled chicken breast with fire-roasted red and green peppers. There are few sensations as intoxicating as walking into Old Mill after they have recently removed a few fresh loaves from the oven.
Most likely, healthy eating is not the first thing that comes to mind when you step foot in The Flying Fish. But despite the restaurant’s deep-fried, artery clogging image you can actually select a number of more heart-friendly dishes. Order your seafood grilled and you’ll only lose some flavor but potentially save yourself a hefty serving of fat and oil. Go with their grilled salmon filet, which comes to you light pink, soft, and still full of flavor. The grilled red snapper is similarly a fabulous fish that comes out flaky and moist, never needing to touch the deep fryer. These can be paired with grilled vegetables and beans for a complete meal that won’t leave you feeling like Mike Tyson just used your tummy as a punching bag.
Perhaps it’s their proximity to the Arkansas Heart Hospital, but the folks behind the menu at Milford Track are working hard to bring you meals that are nutritious but never leave you longing for flavor, and they are doing a spectacular job. Daily house-made pastas may be accompanied by tender grilled vegetables and grilled chicken. They dress their pastas lightly in sauce, nothing is swimming in butter and cheese. Even some of their richer sauces (alfredo, parmesan) are offered in low fat varieties. Furthermore, their sandwich options will likely appeal to anyone looking to shed a few pounds…try the “Earl of Sandwich” with sliced, low-fat turkey, hummus, grilled sweet peppers, and cucumbers on multi-grain bread or the “Garden Sandwich” with grilled vegetables, vinaigrette, purple onion, Bib lettuce, and tomato. Salads are no slouch either. Go with the strawberry spinach salad with lemon grilled chicken or praline pear salad with walnuts, organic spring mix, tomatoes, a sprinkle of feta, and sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. For the uber-healthy, just choose the original garden salad with lettuce, tomato, carrots, squash, zucchini, and peppers…a remarkable bargain at only $3.