Keeping It Light: 48 Hours of Healthy Eats in NYC

By Christina Valenziano,

You know how you walk down a grocery aisle looking for, I don’t know, spaghetti sauce, and there are probably 30 different types and brands of spaghetti sauce? And your brain can’t comprehend the massive amount of spaghetti sauce – they all look delicious, but you never know which one to choose. That’s what dining out in New York City feels like– too many choices.

If there ever were a city that activated a choice overload in your brain, it’s the Big Apple. Every street is packed to the brim with eateries left and right, what feels like millions of restaurants of all types and sizes.
And for someone who’s got just 48 hours in the city that never sleeps, that can pose as a real problem. And more specifically, someone looking for healthier eats in NYC. Sure, you can find greasy Chinese food or cheesy pizza on every street corner, but where do you go when you’ve got matcha on your mind? Or toast overflowing with creamy avocado with peppery arugula and vibrant radishes?

After spending just 48 hours in the city, I compiled a short but sweet list for you to use next time you find yourself staring up at skyscrapers towering over you, wondering where the heck you’re going to eat a healthy lunch. Let’s start with what wakes us up…

Coffee

Culture Espresso

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Get your morning java at Culture Espresso. Photo by Author.

If you’re a straight-shooter, go-getter, goal-digger ready for efficient caffeine consumption (espresso), Culture Espresso is for you. This independent, locally-owned coffee shop has been giving its customers the productivity juice they need since 2009. They are preparing and serving coffees carefully chosen from Heart Coffee Roasters out of Portland, Oregon. In addition to cups o’ Joe, Culture serves cookies freshly baked in-house, including their amazing chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies. What’s better than a fresh-from-the-oven, hot and melt-ey chocolate chip cookie while downing a cup of coffee? The answer is nothing.

Think Coffee

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Work and fuel up at Think Coffee. Photo by Author.

If you’re looking for a place to get some work done while in town, or just simply sprawl out because you can, Think Coffee is the perfect place for you. Definitely bigger than my college apartment, this shop is like a coffee wonderland, complete with all of the tables and chairs your heart desires. Utilizing blends from such places as Ethiopia, Mexico, Nicaragua and more, Think will surely quench your coffee craving.

Chalait

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Get artsy at Chalait. Photo by Author. 

Never had a matcha latte? Let Chalait break your matcha virginity with their various matcha options like a Matcha Cortado, Matcha Americano, Matcha Iced Tea and more. You’ll be mesmerized by the minimalist decor, gorgeous white marble tables, and of course, the latte art. This chic coffee shop will be sure to brighten your day.

Birch Coffee

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Enjoy a real-life conversation at Birch Coffee. Photo by Author.

Remember when we used to talk to one another? You know, before we had our noses in our phone screens, running into light poles and texting so fast that our thumbs become invisible? Birch Coffee is trying to change the way we interact, the way we communicate, and the way we enjoy our coffee. Their simple solution? No WiFi. Before you run far, far away, trust me – their coffee will have you planted in your seat, deep in conversation. One of the coziest shops I encountered in the city, you’ll probably want to relax here all day.

Pushcart

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Latte art at Pushcart. Photo by Author. 

The ultimate coffee shop corner… Pushcart, another wonderful option for the pastry + coffee combination, bake all of their pastries fresh daily. A business built on passion, the Pushcart vibe was like no other – a feeling of community envelopes you as you walk through the doors. And don’t worry, the lighting is perfect for capturing that Instagram shot of your latte art.

Breakfast

Black Seed Bagels

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Nothing better than a bagwich in the city. Black Seed Bagels, photo by Author.

If you’re an avid Instagram-junkie, you’ve probably heard of this place, for the simple fact that city dwellers galore have spread their shots of bagel epicness across the sea of social media like no other. There is nothing like these hand-rolled, wood-fired baked bagels – you can taste the love in between each poppyseed. Do yourself a favor and make it a point to grab a bagelwich from Black Seed. You won’t regret it.

Chalait

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And we’re back. Not only was Chalait a great option for some caffeine refueling, but I am salivating thinking back on the epicness that was their Classic Avocado Toast for breakfast. Not only are the menu options fresh and on the healthier side, but their uniqueness shines with each recipe. Miso Butter Toast? Muesli Toast? Smoked Salmon Benedict with RICOTTA? Count me in times three.

Liquiteria

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It tastes better than it looks! Liquiteria, photo by Author.

If you’re looking for an energizing breakfast to fuel your all-day sightseeing spree in the city, this is the place for you. Nutrient-rich breakfast options full of flavor and their smoothies (and smoothie BOWLS) are out of this world. Take a break from your regularly scheduled NYC diner and treat your tastebuds to an Acai bowl from Liquiteria.

Lunch and Dinner

The Butcher’s Daughter

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Butcher’s Daughter has healthy food that tastes as good as bad food. Photo by Author.

A New York and Los Angeles favorite, The Butcher’s Daughter does not disappoint. A primarily vegan menu, this cafe and juice bar is equal parts charming and scrumptious. For someone who is neither vegan nor vegetarian, I would recommend this spot to anyone in a heartbeat. The flavors are outstanding and, trust me, you won’t miss your steak.

by CHLOE

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Grab a chocolate chip cookie at by Chloe. Photo by Author.

A 100% vegan, plant-based restaurant, by Chloe features some of the most unique yet mouthwatering food combinations I’ve seen. Chef Chloe Coscarelli, chef and partner at by CHLOE, was the first vegan chef to win a television cooking competition (Cupcake Wars on Food Network), proving that her vegan baking skills are killer. Key: make sure you grab one of her chocolate chip cookies while you’re there – they’re nothing short of heaven.

Cafe El Presidente (Tacombi)

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Get the fresh guacamole at Cafe El Presidente. Photo by Author.

Okay, so Mexican food doesn’t always fall under the ‘healthy food’ umbrella. But we all deserve a little indulgence here and there, right? After a day of lighter eats, your stomach deserves the homemade totopos and chunky guacamole at Cafe El Presidente. Here you’ll find some above-the-bar cocktails and some of the best tacos you’ve had. The tacos themselves are actually quite small, so make sure to order at least three tacos!

 

Looking for some cool New York hotels to spend the night while enjoying the best healthy eats in NYC? See here!


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