Spring is approaching and with the warmer temperatures I start craving lighter meals. We all want to incorporate healthier meals into our lifestyle, and two of my favorite restaurants take out all of the guesswork and make ‘fast food’ HEALTHY FOOD!
Core Life Eatery believes the food you eat affects how you feel and how you perform. Keeping that mindset, they make everything from scratch, with real whole foods and ingredients that are free of GMO’s, artificial colors and sweeteners, and any other artificial additives. For most of us, myself included, when you hear the words CLEAN HEALTHY EATING, it’s usually associated with the words Bland or Boring. It couldn’t be more opposite! Core Life Eatery has perfected fast and healthy food, and most of all its packed with flavor. All of their dressings, sauces, broths, and lemonade are made fresh daily. They press over 25 pounds of carrots daily just for their carrot chili vinaigrette dressing alone!
Core Life has a very open, bright and airy atmosphere with tables, booths, long tables for family style seating and offers patio seating during the warmer months. Now let’s get to the good stuff- the food! You can choose from one of their perfectly curated bowls, or create your own. One of my personal favorites is their BBQ Chicken Ranch bowls, it just hits all of those comfort food feels. Not to mention they have some of the best ranch I have ever tried, and I usually don’t care for ranch! *GASP*
If you choose to create your own bowl, the ingredients are endless! Core Life offers 2 different size bowls and each one starts with a base of Greens, Purple Rice, Rice Noodles, or Broth. Add your protein of choice, chicken, steak, tuna or keep it vegetarian and add tofu. Next up, add your toppings and choose a broth or dressing. They offer over 40 different ingredients to top off you bowl so it never gets boring. Aside from the amazing bowls, Core life also offers some delicious sides such as soup, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, and recently added a delicious Gluten Free mac-and-cheese to their menu. The staff at Core Life are all so sweet, always smiling, and happy to help you customize the perfect bowl. You can dine in, grab food to-go through their drive-through, or get lunch meeting catered to the office or any special event. Download the Core Life Eatery App and visit them at www.corelifeeatery.com so you never miss what’s new!
Another one of my favorite healthy spots in Kalamazoo is Maui Poke. Opening just under 8 months ago, Maui Poke is Kalamazoo’s first restaurant dedicated to Poke. Maui Poke has a very open concept with high top tables and a little Hawaiian flare with the words Aloha on the toppings bar, and a pretty purple and very insta-grammable chalk wall with boba tea and their name. The owner Janey is a total sweetheart if you get the chance to meet her, she is usually working!
Of course, the age-old question of how to pronounce ‘poke’ always comes up. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Just remember Poke (Poh-KAY) rhymes with OKAY! Now that’s out of the way, we can dive right into what poke is all about. If you aren’t familiar with poke, it’s basically deconstructed sushi in a bowl. Not into sushi? No problem!
Similar to Core Life, they also offer unique customized bowls, only a little different. Maui Poke offers 3 different size bowls and the base starts with Zucchini Noodles, Brown Rice, Sushi Rice, or Mixed Greens. Your protein options include everything from tuna, salmon, octopus, shrimp, chicken, and more, including tofu. Then you can add your toppings ranging from fruits and veggies, and your choice of sauce. Sauces range from eel sauce, wasabi, spicy mayo, sriracha and more. If you aren’t in the mood for poke, the mixed greens are a great option to the start of a beautiful salad! Just add some turkey, ham, boiled egg and tomato and you have the start of a delicious cobb salad. The zucchini noodles make a great base for a vegetarian option. I enjoyed my zucchini noodle bowl with edamame, pineapple, carrots and cucumber!
Maui Poke also offers Boba Tea (commonly referred to as Bubble Tea) and Smoothies in several different flavors. Boba Tea is a blend of tea, milk, your choice of flavor and tapioca pearls. I tried the Taro Root (purple), Honeydew (green), and the Strawberry Smoothie. The Taro Root reminded me of cinnamon and was a very pretty purple color. Boba Tea comes in the flavors, Taro, Thai, Coconut, Mango, Strawberry, Peach, Honeydew, Pineapple, Lychee, and Milk Tea. Smoothies are also customizable and you can pick up to two fruits and add protein powder. Maui Poke also offers desserts, and you guessed it, that can be made to order. While Maui Poke sometimes offers a specialty dessert, they always have Mochi and Ice Cream. I tried their Blueberry Cheesecake and it was delicious! Ice Cream flavors range from the usual chocolate and vanilla, to some traditional flavors such as red bean and green tea. Top it off with popping boba, chocolate or strawberry sauce, or some mochi! The perfect sweet treat to end your meal!
You can dine in, grab take-out or order on UberEats at Maui Poke. If you snap a picture of your delicious poke bowl or boba tea, tag them on Social Media and you can get $5 off your next meal! If you are a student with an ID you can get FREE Coffee everyday and 20% off on Mondays! Find more information at www.mauipokekzoo.com, Instagram @mauipokekzoo, and Facebook @MauiPoke
No matter which restaurant you choose, there are endless options for every appetite!