By LMQC Diet Blogger, Jeni Tackett, RD, LD
Barley & Rye is a restaurant in Moline featuring farm-to-table food from local farmers.
Farm-to-table restaurants support the local community of growers and producers while providing fresh food options to patrons.
I dined at Barley & Rye for lunch and perused their menu for a healthy mid-day meal.
Reading a menu provides hints on how foods are prepared and if healthy ingredients are included.
To keep it healthy, look for healthy menu language such as “grilled,” “seared,” or “steamed.” Healthier foods are fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish.
Pay attention to unhealthy menu language such as “fried,” or “smoked,” which is high in sodium. Higher fat and sodium foods include bacon and cheese.
I chose their chipotle avocado salad, which included oranges, avocados, smoked Gouda, and delicious vinaigrette dressing that can also be topped with salmon or chicken. The salad was delicious and satisfying.
Organic or Grass-Fed?
Be careful of the halo effect when eating at restaurants that advertise organic foods.
The halo effect is when words like “organic” make us think the food is healthy. Organic is an agricultural term referring to no pesticide, fertilizer, hormones, or antibiotics used in production.
Although the menu has organic cheese listed, cheese is still a high-fat, higher-sodium food to eat only in moderation. But cheese can be part of a healthy diet, and at Barley & Rye, the portions of cheese are moderate.
Barley & Rye offers grass-fed meats. Grass-fed meats are higher in beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids but not to the levels of fish such as tuna or salmon.
Barley & Rye offers many fish dishes which would be a better source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are particularly high in Omega 3 fatty acids.
Barley & Rye has many healthy options such as spiced Marcona almonds (these are gourmet almonds from Spain and are sweet and moist), marinated olives, berry almond salad, lettuce wraps with tuna and cucumber salad, Pacific cod, Coho salmon, chipotle chicken and black bean soup, strawberry bail barley, and asparagus with marsala wine.
All of these choices include local fruits and vegetables.
Jared Linn is the chef and owner. He is very willing to modify the foods. For example, if you ask for the sauce or dressing to be on the side, or if you need gluten free or vegetarian options, he is happy to accommodate your requests.
Most restaurants in the U.S. serve super-sized portions, which means they can be higher in calories, fat, and sodium.
Barley & Rye serves appropriate portions (which may seem small, but are actually just right). The less food that is put in front of you, the more likely you are to eat reasonable portions. I was happy for the built in portion control.
With the focus on local farm-fresh foods, make sure you know how to read a menu when your goal is to fuel your body with healthy foods.
To learn more about organic and grass fed options, check out this great article on Today’s Dietitian web site.
|Meet Jeni Tackett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger. Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian for Unity Point-Trinity. Jeni counsels her clients on weight loss and nutrition. You can read Jeni’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.|