The Best Healthy Restaurants in Charlotte


Healthy Eating in Charlotte - Yafo Kitchen - KiraSemple.com

Charlotte is filled with amazing restaurants and some delicious comfort food classics! Hello BBQ, fried pickles, biscuits, and so much more. I love food and feel it's a great way to get to know a city's culture and culinary fabric. I made it my mission to try as many places as possible when we moved here. I followed a slew of Charlotte based foodies on Instagram and down the rabbit hole I went. Good times... but I soon tired of eating out and feeling not so great because of it.

So this year, I've been trying to eat as clean as I can and cook at home, which I love doing. To feel my best, I avoid dairy like the plague (it makes me feel awful and causes me to breakout.) I've got more energy, feel so refreshed, and my skin and gut thank me. That's not to say I don't enjoy a meal out anymore- how boring would that be?! When I do eat out, I head to these restaurants and have a fabulous meal.


The Mayobird 

Chicken salad, you may ask? Hear me out! I'm not afraid of fat (hello mayo!) and I eat chicken salad regularly. It keeps me full and satisfied. They have mayo-free options, a meat free option, and a low-fat option but my favorite chicken salad is the 'Nuts and Berries.'

My order: The Health Nut- 1 scoop of chicken salad, a side of mixed greens and house made pita chips. I nix the pita chips and salad dressing (it's a bit sweet) and use freshly squeezed lemon.

Chopt

When I want some serious greens and don't feel like making my own salad, I head to Chopt! Salad always seems to taste better when someone else prepares it, am I right?! Whatever you're in the mood for, you can create. I tend to pick a theme (like Mexican or Greek) or else I end up with a weird mix. I steer clear of fried options and heavy dressings. 

My order: I build my own salad with grilled chicken and tons of veggies and/or fruit. My favorite dressing is lemon tahini (dairy free) or freshly squeezed lemon or lime. Their portions are huge, so oftentimes we ask for a second bowl and split the portion.  

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Viva Chicken

To say I am obsessed with this place is an understatement. I've been eating here regularly since I moved to Charlotte because it's fast, fresh, and simple food. Still not tired of it... had it last night ;) 

My order: Kevin and I split a 1/2 chicken meal, all white meat (this way you get 2 breasts.) It comes with 2 sides,  I get the side salad (no cheese) and he gets cilantro rice. We asked and were told that the green sauce is dairy free, so if we do a sauce, it's the green one. 

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Yafo Kitchen (pictured above)

Yafo is one of my favorite discoveries EVER, anywhere! Their food is so flavorful and satisfying. It hits the spot each time. If you love fresh, zesty, and unique flavors Yafo is a must try. I am so excited for their second location to open up, reportedly in Plaza Midwood!

My order: I build my own salad or hummus bowl. Their hummus is as good as it gets and is the closest to what I've made at home. I almost always add chicken (but would be just as happy without it because you can really top on all the veggies and sides you want!) As much as I love feta and goat cheese, I forgo it and opt for kalamata olives, sumac onions, pickles, and fresh lemon juice squeezed atop everything! 


The Duke Mansion


Have you ever been to the Duke Mansion? Chances are, you've driven right by it (and perhaps, didn't even know... like me!) I, like many folks use Ardsley Road as a cut through from Providence to Queens to East Blvd. Little did I know I was driving past the Duke Mansion all the time. I literally thought it was just another home nestled in prime Myers Park neighborhood perfection. Love this part of town as it's simply stunning. 

The Duke Mansion was built in 1915 and it's most well known owner was James Buchanan Duke (you know, Duke University, Duke Energy...) The home changed hands many a time over the years but was lovingly restored and preserved by Rick and Dee Ray in the late 1980s. Now over 100 years later, the home is operated by a non-profit and all proceeds benefit and protect the mansion. 

Kevin and I visited for a tour of the home and grounds over the Summer. But did you know that you can visit the mansion and wander the grounds on your own time? You just have to make sure there isn't a wedding/event booked when you go. If you want to see the inside of the home (and you should, it's gorgeous!) you can stay overnight as a guest of the inn or you can keep tabs on when the home is opened up to the public for events, cocktail hours, and parties.

During July and August of this year, the Duke Mansion held happy hour during the week in their magical and oh so manicured gardens. And this holiday season, happy hour was reinstated (December 21 - 30 from 5-8pm!) If you've been itching to see the home, what better time than when it's decked out for the holidays?! 


Here are some snaps from our visit in August... I wouldn't mind a courtyard like this! 

The Duke Mansion - KiraSemple.com
The Duke Mansion - KiraSemple.com
The Duke Mansion - KiraSemple.com

^^^about as Downton Abbey as we can get here in North Carolina ;) 

The Duke Mansion - KiraSemple.com

^^^wallpaper goals!

The Duke Mansion - KiraSemple.com

Call ahead before you go to make sure there isn't an event taking place and keep up with the mansion's Facebook page for updates as well as their website for more info!.

If you are new to Charlotte, want to dazzle out of town guests, or if you just want to up your happy hour game, don't miss the hidden gem right in our backyard.