Friday, November 6, 2009

Ladies Who Lunch

One of my goals is to raise two kids who appreciate good and nutritious food. When it comes to eating out, this can be a real challenge. So often, the children's menu is filled with the same old predictable choices: chicken nuggets, grilled cheese, hot dog, etc. The Boston Globe ran a great article this week about restaurants that do a better job of offering nutritious and creative dishes for kids.

My sisters and I have a new Friday tradition that includes exercise and lunch. Since we all have very different lives and schedules, we were so excited to find one day that we could get together for a few hours. First, let me introduce you to our clan.

There's Me, of course, Mom of two. I work for NuVal, teach group exercise part-time, and love motherhood, cooking and all things healthy.

There's Julie, owner of Rhode Island Pilates Studio. She is married and is about to become the proud owner of a new puppy, Lily.

There's April, busy Nurse and Mom to a preschooler and infant, both girls.

And Kristin, newly engaged, she works in Customer support for a major retailer.

Friday Lunch takes place with two kids in tow, my 4 year old daughter and my new niece. First, we get a great Pilates Reformer workout in at RI Pilates Studio. If you've never tried using Pilates apparatus (chair, Cadillac, Reformer, barrel, towers), you are missing out! It's amazing!

Then, it's off for a healthy lunch. On this particular Friday, we went to The Garden Grille Cafe in Pawtucket, RI.

The Garden Grille serves vegetarian, vegan and raw foods. I had heard about it so I was very excited to try it out.

On this particular Friday, Kristin was unable to join us but my mom came with us too, so we had a nice big party to try out different dishes. Julie and April are always seeking out something Mexican, so they went for the Garden Grille Nachos and Burrito.

Mom and I shared the Grilled Asparagus Wrap and the Roasted Butternut Squash Quesadilla, on the advice of one of my favorite Spinning instructors.

>My niece munched on a Kashi TLC Ripe Strawberry Cereal Bar, which gets a NuVal score of 30, in case you're wondering. April made a great choice there! That's a great score when you compare it to Nature Valley Chewy Granola Bar Strawberry (Score of 10) or Quaker Chewy 90-calorie Strawberry Vanilla (Score of 9).

After perusing the menu, I thought that the Vegan Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli would be the best choice for my daughter.

The Verdict:
The grown-ups loved our dishes. Lots of vegetables and yet, so satisfying. I would love to go back for dinner as they have a beer and wine menu.

My daughter ate all of the broccoli out of her mac & cheese and then picked at the macaroni. Instead, she really wanted Auntie Julie and Auntie April's nachos. And then, she remembered that I had a snack pack of Cheetos in my bag (don't ask!) So, she grabbed them and started eating Cheetos. In a vegan restaurant. With orange Cheeto cheese all over her face. Not my proudest Mommy moment.

I would love to see The Garden Grille put a few kid-friendly choices on their menu. How about a smiley face made out of vegetables? With some kind of vegan dip in the middle? The possiblities are endless and The Garden Grille is the kind of restaurant that would do it.


  1. Love The Garden Grille.

  2. I must visit this restaurant. We have a restaurant in my area that is similar but they have some great options for kids. My daughters always choose the pizza. They do not even know that the cheese is veggie cheese that is how good it is!