March 5, 2012

Have you ever returned from a trip with pants that don't fit quite as well as when you left?"  Or come home feeling like you should fast for a few days to make up for the overindulging you did on vacation?"  Me too."  And we're not the only ones.

Traveling - whether it's for work or leisure - often means heavy restaurant meals, limited food options, and other eating routines that don't necessarily mesh with a healthy lifestyle."  But visiting Orange County is different."  Not only does this region offer amazing cuisine, it offers amazing healthy cuisine, so that you can enjoy yourself yet still leave feeling your best." 

Next time you visit sunny Southern California, be sure to work some of these healthy (and certainly delicious) destinations into your itinerary.

Farmer's Markets - We almost hate to admit this to our friends in colder climates, but Orange County farmer's markets are year round."  So whether you're visiting in January or June, you'll find markets with an abundance of fresh, local produce just waiting to be turned into a healthy meal or snack."  On every day of the week except Monday, you can head to a nearby market and stock up on healthy food for your hotel room or gather all the fixin's for a light picnic in the park."  Here's a list of OC markets, plus some ideas for where to go and what to buy.

Native Foods Cafe - Meat-eaters and vegetarians alike will love this vegan restaurant where hearty, seasonal cuisine reigns supreme."  From "bacon cheeseburgers" to veggie wraps and crunchy salads, you're sure to find something appealing no matter your taste."  They also have wheat-free, nut-free, and soy-free menu options, so those with specific dietary restrictions can dine here with ease."  And with locations in Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, and Tustin, you'll be near a Native Foods no matter where you're staying.

Mix Restaurant in the Anaheim Hilton - Local, natural and organic ingredients are the building blocks of Mix's extensive menu, and the quality and taste of the food reflects this philosophy."  Whether you're up for a leisurely weekend morning breakfast, a quick lunch between meetings, or a fine dinner for two, the California-style cuisine at Mix will exceed your expectations."  Just steps from the Anaheim Convention Center, Mix is a great option for business travelers who want to eat healthy and ethically on the road.

Mother's Market and Kitchen - For over 31 years, Mother's has been the go-to natural market for health conscious Orange County locals and visitors."  Shop their enormous selection of organic and specialty health foods, quench your thirst with one of their famous fresh juices, or enjoy a casual meal in the "kitchen" section of the market."  The Mother's employees at all locations are known for being especially nice, so whatever your food needs are when you come, they'll happily help.

"Health Mex" restaurants - All over Orange County you can find incredible Mexican food, and you won't want to leave town without sampling some."  While traditional Mexican dishes can be heavy, much of what's offered in Orange County is prepared in the "health mex" style with emphasis on fresh vegetables, healthier cooking methods, and flavorful yet low-calorie salsas."  From grilled fish tacos to marinated salads to burrito "bowls," the Health-Mex food options in this area are seemingly endless!

Want to do a little of your own research?"  Check out the Healthy Dining Finder, a website that allows you to quickly find healthy restaurants - from fast food to fine dining - all over Orange County.

Image sources: Caprese salad, blackberry salad