Even with a surplus of good-for-you restaurants in New York, most of us know that the best way to ensure you’re getting a healthy meal is to it cook at home. Which is easier said than done. Factor in lack of time, lack of kitchen space (or know-how), and the enjoyment of dining out with others.
Fitness instructors feel the same way—but it’s also kind of their job to eat well. With that in mind, we asked 10 top New York trainers how they navigate the menu at their favorite local haunts. Here’s where they go to eat and what they order. —Randi Eichenbaum
“I’m a huge fan of oysters,” says Rilinger. “I could eat them everyday.” But while the fitness buff could probably slurp ‘em down with the best of them, you’ll find her sticking to mostly lean proteins and vegetables.
The Spot: Alta
The Dish: They have the best Brussels sprouts in the world. They’re sautéed with apples, toasted pistachios, a little crème fraîche, and drizzled with balsamic reduction. I make these at home from time to time, too.
Any Drinks With That? The Hollywood. (Yes, I created and named this drink.) I love tequila but refuse to drink calories. It’s Silver tequila (preferably Don Julio) with club soda and a splash of fresh grapefruit juice and a lime.
Stevenin is in the fortunate position of having healthy food at work–no soda machines here. Just a Fuel Bar and a clean food menu. Though she sticks mainly to protein shakes and salads, she doesn’t go in for food restrictions after hours. “My motivation for working out is so I can eat the foods that I like,” she says. “Special shout out to garlic knots!”
The Spot: Westville
The Dish: Turkey burger with no bun, side salad, and Dijon mustard. They also have a great assortment of vegetables, so I’ll order a few and split them with someone at my table.
Any Drinks With That? I’ll have one or two glasses of wine with dinner. It might be a few extra calories, but the fact that it helps me keep my sanity living in a city like New York is worth it!
Barden, a former gymnast, focuses not only on the food on her plate, but each item’s nutritional composition. “I try to look at my plate and make sure I have a good piece of protein, a lot of vegetables, and some fat. I have occasional starches as well,” says Barden about her Paleo choices.
The Spot: I love August in the West Village and the Smith in the East Village.
The Dish: My regular order is a steak, vegetables, and potatoes.
Any Drinks With That?: Because I don’t drink during the week, I’ll have a glass or two of wine with dinner while eating out. Usually Prosecco!
The popular yoga teacher splits her week between cooking at home and eating out, the latter of which she enjoys doing with company. “There is such a lovely communion around food and friends,” she says.
The Spot: Siggy’s
The Dish: I order the wild organic salmon. It comes with a green (I like the kale) and forbidden black rice. It’s a clean and simple dish, nourishing and delicious. I don’t like a bunch of sauce, so the simpler the better for my taste.
Any drinks with that? I either get a green juice from the bar or a glass of wine or a beer. Not one more than the other. I rotate!
Fruit, vegetables, and fish are the mainstays in Jacques’ diet, along with plenty of green juices and almond butter. “I swear almond butter goes with everything,” she says. And while she aims to cook at home as much as possible, because of her late teaching schedule, Jacques looks for healthy takeout and delivery options. “Sometimes I feel like Seamless is my best friend.”
The Spot: Candle Café
The Dish: They have an amazing kale salad and an avocado tartare, which is avocado and tomatoes, that I love. I try and have an avocado a day. (I also love pineapple. I usually have a little bit of pineapple at night.)
Any drinks with that? I try to avoid drinking during the weekdays and save having a glass of wine for when I’m going out with friends. Sometimes my fiance will pour a glass of wine though and we’ll share.
Katia Pryce, founder of KP DanceBody
Stereotypically Paleos get depicted as body builders and CrossFit devotees, not lithe dancers like Pryce. But the Tracy Anderson and Bari Studio alum finds the diet works best for her, and still allows for socializing. “The 85/15 rule in Paleo allows about three cheat meals a week. I usually save those for when I go out to eat with friends so I don’t have to be the ‘un-fun’ friend on a diet. No one likes that!”
The Spot: Hu Kitchen
The Dish: Bacon, egg, and kale sandwich with Hu bread (they make their own grain-free bread) for brunch. You can also create a bowl for lunch or dinner. I like to get the root vegetable mash with Hu Joe on top—it’s grass-fed beef spiced perfectly!
Any drinks with that? No liquor on Paleo, but red wine is accepted, and always enjoyed.
The California-bred yogi does lots of cooking at home and eats out only once or twice a week. “I’m a huge advocate for home-cooked meals,” she says. And while all proteins are good by Nicks, eating out is the only time she’ll indulge in bread. “I never buy bread to have at home,” she says.
The Spot: Maison Harlem
The Dish: I order the trout whenever it’s offered as a special. It’s literally the best fish I have ever had—pan seared with dill and marinated in white wine sauce over a bed of vegetables. The dill is the secret.
Any Drinks With That? Champagne and Sancerre.
The contemporary dancer says she eats about 90 percent organic and tends to cook most meals at home—she even packs her lunch during the week. So when going out to eat, she focuses on the quality of ingredients. “I’ll admit I’m a bit of a food snob, and I like to know my food is high-quality, fresh, and full of goodness,” she says.
The Spot: The Farm on Adderley
The Dish: I’m definitely a creature of habit. The Farm’s kale salad is amazing with celery root, lemon, olive oil, and Parmesan. It’s simple but delicious. Then I’ll usually order fish for dinner. This summer it was a fantastic pan-roasted fluke with summer corn and purslane.
Any drinks with that? Of course! If it’s summer, I’ll have a glass of Sancerre or Rosé and I love Malbec or Pinot Noir when it’s colder. I’m Italian. I was raised with wine at the table.
Britton Darby, owner and instructor at Moksha Yoga NYC
The Canadian credits yoga for the way she thinks about food. “I’m a choositarian,” the former vegetarian says of her own made-up term. “Part of my development in my yoga practice is learning how to read cues from my body on an ongoing basis and feed it accordingly.”
The Spot: Café Asean. They’ve become a staple for many of the Moksha instructors.
The Dish: The Gaeng Kheow. It’s a green curry with jumbo shrimp in it and tons of really fresh vegetables. It’s perfect for colder seasons. It’s really very nourishing.
Any Drinks With That? If it’s the right occasion. If I’m sitting down with a friend or fellow yoga teacher we’ll probably pair it with a nice glass of wine.
Lori Abeles, instructor at SoulCycle
“I don’t rule anything out,” says the former TV producer of her day-to-day diet, who for the last three-and-a-half years has led high-energy and motivational indoor cycling classes on the Upper West and in Tribeca. “I have to handle varying tastes with my kids and partner. I gotta be open-minded all around!”
The Spot: Haru
The Dish: They have the most incredible yellowtail and jalapeno with ponzu, which is clean, delicious, and beautiful. And I love their spinach sesame appetizer with spinach, sesame, and soy.
Any drinks with that? In the winter I love hot sake. And then sometimes my boyfriend will get a Sapporo, so we’ll share that.
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