Healthy dining on Valentine’s Day

In Fitness, Sports

It’s time to put some New Year’s resolutions to the test with the first potentially calorie-loaded holiday of 2013 upon us, Valentine’s Day.

Skip the chocolates and hit the town at one of the many local spots promoting healthy choices.

One of Fullerton’s own, rich in history and flavor but low in fat, is Rutabegorz. Just southeast of Chapman and Harbor on Pomona Street, the evolved coffee house has become known as a hippie hangout. The unique artwork on the walls pales in comparison to their unique, ever-changing menu. They have a wide variety of dishes that are vegetarian or use lean protein.

Rutabegorz has a wide range of flavors including Hispanic inspirations such as their chicken enchilada verde, which has white meat chicken, cheese, olives and onions in corn tortillas, topped with cheese and green sauce. Brown rice and beans are served on the side.

The restaurant also boasts some Asian inspiration with their veggie mu shu medley, which has stir-fry style vegetables and mushrooms on a bed of brown rice. This dish is topped with thin almonds and hard noodles to add a little crunch.

The menu includes an array of sandwiches and wraps including a Greek-inspired falafel wrap. It also comes with hummus on the side.

Ruta’s artwork is something to come for, but its chili is something to come back for. They offer three to six daily soups as well as two kinds of chili. Ruta’s Killer Chili is a vegetarian chili made with pinto beans, soy protein and seasonings, topped with cheddar cheese and tomatoes.

If you’re looking for something casual and vegan, the Loving Hut in Orange could be just what you are looking for. Located in Orange on Tustin Avenue just south of Chapman Avenue, its is a little spot that offers up big tastes at reasonable prices. Most dishes are around $10.

Many of the items on this menu are Asian soup, noodle and rice dishes with a bit of Hispanic influence. Some of the highlights are the hainam grilled rice, which is a grilled soy veggie filet with seasoned rice and vegetables with chili sauce, and the royal noodle soup, which is rice noodle with soy protein, tofu, king mushroom and fresh herbs, with a twist of lime and a hint of jalapeno.

The Loving Hut has an assortment of classic sandwiches and burgers, made with vegan-friendly substitutes. The choices range from a Philly sandwich or BLT to the BBQ burger, a garden soy patty with BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles.

If you’re headed north, the Seafare Inn in Whittier proudly cooks up entrées that have been approved by the American Heart Association.

Their menu has a wide variety of fish and other seafood. If you stay away from the lobster tail, there are many lean choices on their menu including salmon, red snapper, catfish, a calamari steak and a crowd favorite, the grilled pecan crusted tilapia. You can choose healthier cooking styles like broiled or grilled.

Seafare Inn also has a couple of chicken dishes like the grilled lemon pepper chicken breast. All meals come with side options including salad, cole slaw, baked potato or tomatoes.

If you head to Los Alamitos Blvd just south of Katella, there is a lowfat Chinese food restaurant called Fortune Cookies. Fortune Cookies restaurant cooks with canola oil and uses all-white-meat chicken, lean cuts of beef and seafood. Brown rice can also be substituted for white rice.

They have a selection of appetizers, including minced chicken in lettuce cup, which has finely chopped chicken and vegetables with spices.

Their chicken entrées range from mild to hot, like their broccoli chicken and garlic chicken. The broccoli dish is cooked in a light mild sauce while the garlic chicken has a kick along with the Asian style vegetable.

They have lean beef entrées such as the mongolian beef, which has bamboo shoots and green onions. In the filet mignon French style, the meat comes cubed and served on a bed of lettuce.

Fortune Cookies in Los Alamitos also showcases some healthy seafood dishes like the shrimp with lobster sauce. The shrimp is accompanied by water chestnuts, peas and carrots with mushrooms in an egg white sauce.

There is also another section on the menu for vegetable courses. The veggie chop suey brings together snow peas, water chestnuts, broccoli, carrots and bean sprouts in a flavorful dish. Each menu item here was under $10.

Finally, if you’re heading south toward a romantic sunset at the beach, stop at Seasons 52 in Costa Mesa, which boasts a menu where every item has less than 475 calories. They have a huge menu, as well as many specialty menus. Whether you are vegan, trying to go gluten-free or watching your weight or sodium intake, Seasons 52 has just the menu you are looking for.

If you ask for a lactose free menu, there will be many choices including the oak-grilled filet mignon with potatoes, fresh vegetables and roasted mushrooms.

They may also offer you a low sodium menu with either a prix fixe, three-course meal or a la carte options such as lemon-chili crusted salmon roasted on cedar plank, with carrots, fresh asparagus and potatoes.

If you prefer a gluten-free diet, another menu awaits you. There are appetizers and salads along with entrées including oak-grilled beef, chicken or market fish selections that can be made to order using salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil; it comes with roasted potatoes, asparagus and carrots.

The vegetarian menu has a wide range of flavors including sonoma goat cheese ravioli simmered in tomato broth, roasted garlic, fresh basil and their vegetarian tacos made with black beans, roasted peppers, pico de gallo, guacamole and cilantro, topped with sour cream.

Seasons 52 has a couple of other specialty menus worth taking a look at, as well as some sweet treats. Show that special someone how much you really care by making healthy choices you can both enjoy.

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