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Trying to eat healthy in Washington D.C.? Think again


With juice bars, salad spots, and restaurants to suit a multitude of diet preferences popping up all over the country, it’s a fair assumption to think healthy dining options aren’t few and far between anymore. Surprisingly enough, depending on where you’re located in the world, finding healthy options in even some of the most progressive cities can be quite hard.

At the end of the day, while healthy food is ever-so in demand, it’s not as profitable for restaurants trying to incorporate better-for-you options. People go out to eat to indulge, enjoy themselves, and eat foods that they normally wouldn’t cook for themselves, not to order the wedge salad with low-fat dressing on the side at a burger joint. Even in the quest for transparency with menu items, providing the calorie count on menus can backfire, leaving some patrons feeling guilty for their choices, or even unsatisfied with the lower calorie option.

Furthermore, produce spoils fast. Keeping fresh foods in the kitchen can be harder to store, wasteful, and a costly undertaking. Fresh foods are also harder to buy and sell, especially when you’re getting into the mix of organic, no-GMO, gluten-free, and locally grown.

Whether you run a health food-focused restaurant or one with a few healthy options, there is a significant cost to meet the needs of our current generation. Even in the most progressive of cities, restaurants serving healthy fare are shutting down left and right for a multitude of reasons. Take Energy-Kitchen, a fast-casual chain in 13 locations around the world, including Virginia, just shut down a year after projecting new locations in the thousands by 2022. Another being a west-coast health convenience store, Fresh & Easy, which closed its doors on over 50 locations after filing for bankruptcy.

When Washington D.C. saw a huge influx in its population a few years ago, the restaurant scene grew in tandem to meet the needs of the expanding neighborhoods. If you’re heading over to our nation’s capital anytime soon and you’re health-conscious, I’d recommend scouting out some places to dine before playing restaurant roulette. A new study found Washington D.C. to be the worst place for healthy options while dining out, stating that there are only 3.11 healthy restaurants per 100,000 people within city limits. This is a vast difference to our countries best place for healthy eating, Atlanta, which has 151.97 healthy restaurants per 100,000 residents.

Could it be the immense amount of international cuisine that is to blame for the nation’s capital being the worst place to dine and eat healthily? Or is it the wide variety of some not-so-great dining options that cater to the millions of tourists that come through each year?

Whatever it is, the city still continues to make great strides when it comes to healthy dining. And while they may have come out last, the healthy options available are some of the best around.

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