Jen Emmert

Jen Emmert writes at PriorFatGirl, candidly documenting her journey of losing 100 pounds through all of life's dramatic moments including new jobs, the death of her mom, wedding planning and, most recently, tornadoes. Jen's story has been seen in SHAPE Magazine, AOL.com, Woman's Day Magazine and many local news outlets. Follow her journey as she continues to fight for healthiness in an unhealthy world.

Healthiness Lifeline at LifeCafe

Posted by: Jen Emmert under Health, Health & nutrition Updated: February 21, 2012 - 9:56 AM

I felt like I had been running all day, and I had. Work had been extremely busy and my mind racing as my unfinished to-do list swirled my thoughts around. I looked up at the clock and realized it was 4:00pm. I had a 4:30pm walk-through at our wedding venue with the photographer and needed to wrap up my partially completed project.

At 4:15pm, I scrambled as I threw my jacket on and raced to the car. I made it to my appointment 5 minutes late but arrived in one piece. Our appointment went well but I was slightly distracted as my stomach screamed “Feed me, feed me!”  My fiancé and I, and our photographer wrapped up our appointment and I remembered I had dinner plans with two dear friends, Ann and Amanda.

Most Sunday’s, I plan our meals for the week and sometimes go so far as to prep so that when weeknights come, it is a little easier to cook healthy. Going out for dinner on weeknights are tricky.  Quick, fast, and healthy? Not the norm in restaurants. Luckily, my friends Ann and Amanda both understand the healthiness fight and like me, both look for restaurants that have a healthy twist to them.

Most wouldn’t think of a restaurant in a gym. And if you thought about it, you’d probably envision entrees replacing flavor with veggies. I did. Until we had dinner at LifeCafé, at LifeTime, at the suggestion of Ann.

The deli style layout caters to the grab-n-go eaters but the menu  satisfies taste buds looking for flavor and healthy. As you’d expect at a restaurant in a gym, the menu has shakes and smoothies with all-natural fruit, no sugar added, and endless combinations of fruits, veggies, whey proteins and energy boosts.

But pizza and quesadillas? Now this is a healthy restaurant I can get used to! Breakfast, salads and sandwiches complete the menu. Everything on the menu has basic nutritional information under the description. Whether you are looking for protein, watching your fat or counting calories, it’s all there on the menu.

 

By the time we ordered, I was starving. My eyes and my stomach had become obsessed with the BBQ Chicken pizza. For a half pizza, it had 28 grams of protein and 445 calories. In true deli-style, I placed my order, paid and was given an order number to put on our table. Ann and Amanda both placed their order for wraps and we made our way to the table.

 

 

It was a quiet evening; we were one of two tables being used. As we waited for our food and caught up on life, I noticed a few people post gym swing in to grab something to go but no one else sat down. 

When our dinner came, I was elated. I wanted to devour my BBQ pizza in one breath but tried to eat slowly in order to enjoy how delicious it was. 

 

There was just enough melted cheese to keep my chicken in place and the sweet yet tangy BBQ sauce drizzled over the top of my pizza was the perfect compliment to every bite I took. 

The entrees were fairly normal size, not monstrous like it seems we’ve become accustom to in our culture.  There were also no huge sides of French fries or accompaniments we probably didn’t need anyway. My half pizza was just that; a half pizza. Ann and Amanda’s wraps came with a small salad and fresh fruit. Prices are very reasonable and comparable to locations which catagorize themselves as serving food which is fast.

There was nothing more perfect than our conversations, laughing and secret sharing over a healthy dinner. While we had gone to the LifeCafé in Highland Park, there are 15 other locations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. How I did not know this before is beside me. Gym membership not needed for dining - you can just walk in and have a delicious, healthy meal.

Healthiness is difficult enough on its own - now that I know LifeCafé has my back, I'm so much more excited to go out to eat during the week knowing I'll have a quick and healthy place to go.

Click HERE for LifeCafe location, hours, menu and additional information.

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