Chicago: Chi-Town, the Windy City, Home of the Bean, and now the Best Restaurant City in the US!

This recognition by Bon Appétit magazine does not come as a surprise to those who know the restaurant scene in Chicago. The city is home to the best restaurants in the world and the events surrounding food in Chicago are second to none. Food festival and restaurant conferences take place in Chicago on a yearly basis.

But as said by Uncle Ben, “With great power comes great responsibility!”

The power to create incredible food, for which people are willing to travel, creates a sense of responsibility to both the creators and the consumers. As residents of Chicago are given more options, they should also be given more knowledge about health, too.

Nutritionists in the Chicago Area

Making your health a priority is an easy step forward when you have the right guidance and motivation. This guidance should come from a person with knowledge and experience in nutrition and dietetics therapy.

Finding a nutritionist that understands your needs and goals is easy in a city with so many professionals in the field. A qualified nutritionist or dietitian is one that has a background in nutrition education along with a certification of an accredited dietetic program. These programs specialize in teaching aspiring nutritionists about nutrition education, nutrition research, and therapy.

Blood testing with pipette
Nutritionists can conduct blood tests to further understand nutritional deficits you may have. (Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash)

Here are some of the city’s best nutritionists:

  • Luscious Life Nutrition - founded by Marla Marla Brodsky, RDN, LD, BCIM, The Luscious Life Nutrition Clinic is dedicated to teaching people of all ages valuable skills for healthier eating. With more than 20 years of experience and board certification in integrative and functional medicine, Marla’s clients can choose from a range of services including diets that help ease the symptoms of cancer treatments, diabetes, and autoimmune disorders.
  • JEM Nutrition Services - The company's Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist provides complete support for every customer's needs, whether they just want to lose weight or need help learning to stay healthy with a vegetarian or vegan diet. JEM additionally provides food sensitivity testing to help pinpoint issues that can cause chronic headaches, fatigue, and illness.
  • Coral Nutrition Coaching - Coral Nutrition Coaching is a Chicago wellness service that offers customized plans to help people live healthier, happier lives. Here, an experienced dietitian nutritionist will design targeted strategies to help you reach your goals and enjoy more energy, vitality, and confidence.
  • Roche Dietitians L.L.C.- The company's registered dietitians use an evidence-based approach to teaching people healthier eating habits and provide targeted plans to treat issues like obesity, food allergies, and chronic fatigue. The company provides support to individuals and families and offers contract service to area hospitals, group homes, and care facilities to ensure everyone can enjoy better health through the healing power of food.

These are only a sample of the clinics and accredited nutritionists in the Chicago area.

Many more options can be found through databases such as Expertise or search for the right one here on Superprof!

Nutritional Choices at Chicago Restaurants

Chicago was recently named the "best restaurant city" in America by Bon Appétit magazine.

It is well known that Chicago is an up-and-coming city in the food-sphere. It is also no secret that the restaurants in this food scene also have great options for healthy eating.

These healthy options are the exceptions to dietitian's golden rule about eating out. For the most part, a health professional would advise against dining out at restaurants on a regular basis. This is because the meals prepared in restaurants tend to have more salt, fat, and sugar than needed.

Restaurant set table
A nutritionist can teach you the ins and outs of ordering healthy foods at restaurants. (Photo by Kenny Luo on Unsplash)

In addition, there is no sure way of knowing what has gone into your food if you are not the one preparing it.

These are a couple of restaurants that serve as exceptions to that rule.

  • Lyfe Kitchen- Lyfe’s menu includes a variety of health-conscious breakfast items, wraps, flatbreads, salads, tacos, sandwiches, and even craft cocktails. They cater to all type of diets and include gluten-free and vegan menus. You can find their great dishes at their three locations through the city in Streeterville, Gold Coast, and River North.
  • Left Coast- The Left Coast brings the California feel all the way to Chi-town. Their menu includes a refreshing variety of fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, and a food menu that lists each ingredient in every option. You can check out their locations in River North, Lincoln Park, or The Loop for a taste of the west coast.
  • Chicago Raw - If the name didn’t give it away, Chicago Raw is a raw and entirely plant-based restaurant. They also provide a weekly take away program to give their busy customers a weeks worth of food, all ready to be picked up at your convenience.
  • True Food Kitchen  - True Food Kitchen bases their entire menu on the “Anti-Inflammatory Diet” in an effort to reduce inflammation in the body. The restaurant aims to accommodate all types of eating habits and restrictions.
  • Blue Door Farm Stand - After re-opening its doors in Lincoln Park, Blue Door Farm Stand, came back as s staple in the healthy restaurant scene. Their farm-to-table philosophy makes this a great stop for guilt-free eating. The eatery also serves as a small market for organic products for your own kitchen.

These restaurants give you the chance to skip on the deep dish pizza and go for a healthier and more nutritionally dense option. Knowing where to find healthy and clean options on the menu can help you to keep your nutrition goals in check.

Better Nutrition

When people begin their weight loss journey, the first big idea that they need to understand is that losing weight is not a short term goal. It is something that not only takes determination and will power, but also time. Shedding the initial water weight and inflammation from your stomach can be a simple strategy to get the ball rolling towards better help.

Chicago based registered dietitian nutritionist, Maya Bach has a couple of tips for shedding that initial weight. 

  1. Fill up on fiber - Fiber plays a double role; not only has dietary fiber been shown to support weight loss but the best sources such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds are rich in phytochemicals.
  2. Power up with plant-based protein - Protein takes more energy for us to breakdown than refined carbohydrates, helping us to keep us full and our hunger at bay.
  3. Set down the salt - Sodium, a core ingredient in table salt, is most commonly found in highly processed, refined, canned and packaged foods. Not only does it stimulate our appetite, but studies also suggest that high sodium intake is associated with inflammation. 
  4. Avoid skipping snacks - When we go for a period of time without eating, ghrelin, our hunger-stimulating hormone, starts to kick in. Secreted mainly from the stomach, it signals our brain that it's time to eat. Ghrelin works on a cycle; levels build before we eat and drop after a meal 7. This happens naturally about every four hours so regularly eating stabilizes hunger levels.
  5. Give yourself a break - Underlying stress is a key trigger for giving in to cravings. Give yourself a break; restricting food choices and telling yourself “I can’t have this” is exhausting, leading us to overindulge when our stress levels are maxed.
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