Eating healthy in Southeast Texas almost feels like an oxymoron as we regularly tout food as one of our area’s top attractions. Cajun cuisine in Texas-sized portions, centuries of combining cultures and culinary delights have blessed us with crawfish, po'boys, Tex-Mex, and varieties of Asian that fills your belly and soul in a way that a salad simply never could.

However, almost collectively, the human race decides that January 1 is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf (literally and figuratively) and embark on a health journey for the start of the new year. If you find the world of hardcore dieting and obsessing over calories, fats, and carbs troubling as exhausting, here are some better suggestions to eat healthier without sacrificing healthy, high quality, and flavorful food with a local flair.

for the love of food

For the Love of Foods - $$

Meal prep is conceptually tricky because it’s tough to find joy eating the same thing every day. But For the Love of Foods really surprised me. If you are into variety, For the Love of Foods changes their menu every three days, which you can see on their Facebook page. They also have a set of standard items you can always buy, including cauliflower crust pizzas and salads. What separates them from other places is that they have healthy breakfast options, as well. The overnight oats are heavenly, but I recommend getting the eggs and chorizo if they are available. 

Another great thing about For the Love of Foods is that if you have kids, it's easy to grab something and bring it home for a quick, no-hassle dinner. I did this at least twice in the last week, and with one incredibly picky 4-year-old, I heard no complaints about anything that was given to him.

Everything on their menu is $10.95, which can be pricey for some people given the quantity of food, but they also have a rewards system, and every ten meals earn you a free one. They also have delivery services and are the only place on this list with two locations – one in Beaumont and the other in Nederland to make healthy eating on the go as seamless as possible. 

this is fitfuel

ThisFitFuel - $

I first tried ThisFitFuel when I was an undergraduate at Lamar University. I still remember how surprised I was by how flavorful the food was. I remember exactly what I ordered, and it’s my top recommendation to this day: the magnificent meatloaf with garlic roasted carrots and jasmine rice. 

Like For the Loves of Foods, ThisFitFuel provides meal prep services, but with more mix and match entrees and sides. If you never want to cook, ThisFitFuel provides discounts for buying in bulk, and you have the option to get your plates cold, so all you have to do is heat them up later. However, if you're just visiting or want a quick, healthy meal, you can get your meals hot at the restaurant.

 The restaurant also lets the guest decide what portion size they want, ranging from snack size to gigantors. While prices range, no meal from ThisFitFuel is above ten dollars. ThisFitFuel is also available for delivery via Grub Hub, Waitr, and online through their website. 

JW's patio

JW’s Patio - $$

JW's Patio is perfect for various reasons regarding resolutions, but mostly because it's a place that you won't have to force your friends and family to be healthy if they don't want to. I have been to this restaurant twice since opening, and nothing on the menu has failed (and I ordered four entrée's the first time). Most of these options have a Mediterranean base but manage to take their own creative liberties with a massive payoff.

 I highly recommend any of the bowls, and this is coming from a person who, until very recently, hated cucumbers, quinoa, and many other foods considered nutritious. The Buddha Bowl serves as a good intro for those who are nervous about embarking on a veggie-forward journey. While healthy, it hits the soul because of the butternut squash, giving it a hearty, Southern feel. You also can add protein to any of their bowls or salads for another punch. If bowls or salads aren't your thing, JW's Patio also has many seafood options and pita/veggie plates that straddle the line between eating conscientiously and casually eating. Nothing on the menu exceeds twenty dollars, and the price is indeed worth it for casual dining or a date night.