Healthy Places to Eat Around Santa Monica

A first glance of the food options around Santa Monica College is grim in terms of health offerings. Look within, and you find Carl's Jr. Look beyond the boundaries of SMC, and close by are the comparably healthy Subway and another fast food chain in Burger King. Even when students make the jaunt over to Lincoln Boulevard, they are greeted by Tommy's, El Pollo Loco and a Domino's Pizza. Surrounded by meal options that guarantee a ticket on the one-way obesity train, it can be difficult to find healthy food in the short period of time that the lunch period allows. After all, Santa Monica is a large area, with many places tucked into small corners of strip malls and business parks. However, if you have the time, the patience and the money to look around, there are plenty of healthy places to eat in Santa Monica during your off time.

For your consumer ease, five healthy restaurant selections have been selected, most of which within a mile of SMC's main campus. Each with their own distinct flair, all of these restaurants will fail to disappoint as well as leave you feeling satisfied that you made the healthier choice that meal.

At 609 Broadway resides Juliano's Raw, offering healthy dishes made entirely of natural foods comprised of fruits, vegetables, roots, leaves, nuts and seeds. As much as this sounds like mulch, wait until you are presented with a Bacon Western Double Cheeseburger. Of course, this isn't your normal Carl's Jr. Western Cheeseburger, as this burger is made of mushroom and nuts. No, that is not a typo. What you are eating, the delicious burger that you are digesting after reading this article, is not actually meat at all. Moreover, if you sample any of their sushi, the normal fish ingredients have been supplemented with pumpkin seeds and other vegetable substitutes. Ever tasted a meal or a glass of water that still had a bit of soap in it? Not at Juliano's Raw, where the only cleaners they use are all natural: vinegar and lemon juice. Juliano's Raw is open daily from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.

If eating vegan is your thing (and even if it isn't), then Real Food Daily is the obvious choice of healthy Santa Monica cuisine. Listed at 514 Santa Monica Blvd., Real Food Daily offers gourmet vegan meals that make you completely forget about your current love affairs with meat and cheese. Just try the Better With Cheddar Nachos, with cheese made of melted cashews, and you'll discover how easy it is to eat healthy while not losing the flavors of the foods you love. With weekly specials, laundry lists of salads and sandwiches, and a meal plan based on the five elements of Eastern health philosophy, Real Food Daily offers up something for everyone. Real Food Daily open for lunch and dinner daily, with brunch served on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Two miles from SMC's main campus at 1023 # B Montana Ave. sits Kreation Kafe, serving organic breakfasts, lunches and dinners from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Using primarily food products purchased at the local Santa Monica Farmer's Market, Kreation Kafe offers patrons breakfasts comprised of organic Santa Monica Farmer's Market eggs, cold tapas on their lunch menu that are 100 percent vegan, and series of combination plate dinners that showcase their healthy food range, from chicken breast kabobs to their grilled vegetable platter.

If you are willing to spend a bit more time away from campus, the Third Street Promenade offers not only entertainment and popular shops, but also one of the better health options for Italian cuisine in all of the South Bay. At 1319 on the Third Street Promenade is Bravo Cucina, providing customers with authentic Italian meals that use natural and organic ingredients to complement the cozy brick and wood dining area inside. Open from 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily, Bravo Cucina's low-fat/lowsalt menu keeps health at the forefront of the meal, but does not take away from the more important flavor.

Last, but not least, is the mother ship of all healthy eateries: Whole Foods Market. With over 270 locations spanning two continents, Whole Foods Market is the healthy equivalent of your local supermarket, but jam packed with only the finest natural and organic products. Featuring a sandwich counter, brick-oven made pizza, an Asian cuisine counter and countless buffet items spanning multiple cultures, Whole Foods Market achieves popularity by health and by diversity, offering many of the foods you have at home in their healthier versions. Located at 500 Wilshire Blvd., if you aren't too starved for your meal, stocking up on many of the items available can transform your kitchen from unhealthy to wholesome in a heartbeat.

With all of these healthy options at your disposal, it's easy to transform your diet and lifestyle based on which way you turn the steering wheel. Of course, while the foods may cost more than what you may be used to spending on meals, your body will pay you back in the long run for the lack of processed meals your digestive tract will have to deal with. Eat and be merry, Corsairs!