Balancing a foodie lifestyle with a healthy one can be difficult, especially in the southeastern United States, where fried chicken and barbecue are a separate food group and sides of mashed potatoes and gravy are almost always guaranteed to be heaping foot-high mounds. However, as the American population has become more health conscious over the past decade, Knoxville has also jumped on the bandwagon of incorporating local, delicious, healthy restaurants that offer more than a disappointing kale salad.
This juice bar offers a wide variety of trendy health foods. Located on Broadway, Java Juice Box gives customers a taste of nutritionally dense foods, including cold-pressed juices, smoothie bowls, smoothies, toasts, and hemp oil-infused drinks. Java Juice Box is most popular for its smoothie bowls, which can be made with either an acai berry or pitaya (or dragon fruit) base. Customers can customize their bowls by choosing various toppings, such as nut butters, nuts and seeds, and fruits. Java Juice Box also offers toasts with toppings like avocado, nutella, peanut butter, and almond butter. The mostly-raw juice bar’s newest addition to their menu is hemp oil-infused drinks. As CBD becomes more popular in health communities, it is no surprise that Java Juice Box has adopted to add hemp oil in various drinks. Customers can choose a hemp oil-infused smoothie, coffee, or juice. Java Juice Box also recognizes the juicing trend and offers a collection of juices for a one day, three day, and even five day juice cleanse.
If you are interested in expanding your palate while also having a healthy dinner, Gosh Ethiopian on Sutherland Avenue will meet both of those needs. Gosh provides a unique dining experience as each meal is served atop a pancake-like bread, called injera, which is essentially made out of teff flour. The spongy bread is even the national dish of Ethiopia, so it comes as no surprise that the bread is central to the meal. In fact, meals are served without forks because injera is used to scoop up the meal toppings. Worry not— you can ask for a fork if you don’t enjoy getting messy. Thrill-seeking eaters can choose from a vegan/ vegetarian or omnivorous menu. The vegan/ vegetarian menu includes flavorful spiced lentils, split peas, cabbage, and collard greens. The menu also caters to omnivores through its wide selection of slow-cooked beef, lamb, and poultry.
The Tomato Head prides itself on the fact that they use fresh ingredients. In fact, their tagline is “Food gotta cook – don’t come out of a can!” This quirky, healthful restaurant has something for everyone. Due to its popularity, the Tomato Head has two locations, one in Market Square and another in The Gallery Shopping Center on Kingston Pike. The Tomato Head menu can fill the need for any craving as it is made up of appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and sweets. Even though seeming “junk” foods are portrayed in the menu, the ingredients are clearly listed underneath each menu item, which allows customers to know exactly what is in their food. The Tomato Head also allows hungry guests to customize their meal, which aids guests in making healthy choices. The hip joint provides options for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans.
Nestled in Windsor Square on Kingston Pike, Sanctuary Vegan Cafe has a quick fix for anyone wanting a healthy alternative to comfort food. The menu holds a wide range of items, from the health bomb of a kale spinach salad to a salty, vegan cheese-filled Philly Cheesesteak. Though every menu item is vegan and uses organic ingredients, omnivores will also enjoy
the vegan fare has many menu items, such as the seitan bacon and cheese burger, which closely mimics real meat and cheese. Also, customers should know the cafe is dedicated to the vegan message as all of restaurant’s profits are donated to a farmed animal sanctuary in Sweetwater, called the 4Them Sanctuary.
Nama Sushi Bar, which has recently expanded to three locations (Downtown, Bearden, and Cedar Bluff) adds an extra oomph of culinary flair to already-healthy sushi, poke, nigiri, and tartare. The sushi bar’s menu is filled with obscure foods, such as the “Tuna Tartare,” which includes sweet chili rice, tuna, soy tobiko, salt and vinegar chips, sriracha, and cilantro oil, according to the Chef Specialties portion of the menu. For the less adventurous healthy eater, Nama also serves sushi classics, such as the “Cali” roll, which is made of three simple ingredients: crab, avocado, and cucumber. The Nama menu also accommodates vegans and vegetarians with a vegetarian menu that has incorporates healthy meat alternatives, such as tofu.
Though Knoxville is in the heartland of restaurants that serve textbook southern foods, those wanting to eat healthily in Knoxville need not worry. Clearly, Knoxville provides a slew of locally owned and operated restaurants that can easily accommodate the “clean eating” trend sweeping across the nation, so next time you’re in need of a healthy meal, visiting these local restaurants will help both your healthy lifestyle and local Knoxville businesses.
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