When in Chelsea: eating the way you want to eat

Chelsea Piers Hudson River ParkThe hardest part of eating more consciously is eating the way you would eat at home--without your kitchen--when traveling. Eating is also such a big part of travel that it really means altering your experience when you alter your food choices. Most big cities have options for a variety of diets, but not all cities have excellent options that also add to the fun of trying new places to eat. Sometimes though, you strike gold! Like in Chelsea, NY, where you can get both: location + the local eating experience.

Not surprisingly, it can be expensive, but all food is generally expensive in big cities, and New York is certainly no exception. Instead of paying top dollar for a less-than-ideal meal, why not just pick a great one that will be full of vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, sustainable meat and keep you exploring a great neighborhood?

Yes, it is painful to pass up the buttery croissant or palate-pleasing cocktail--and you may notice a wine stem in one of these photos--because let's face it, you have to live a little. I'm a big believer in doing the best you can. If you want to try that local delicious thing, try it. Moderation and happiness is always better than strict rule following and blind restraint. In my opinion, learning how to pepper your diet with the things you love, and still be conscious of what you put in you body, is the only real way to sustain any kind of long term healthy eating plan.

And, if you are on a mission to follow a slightly crazy food challenge, like the #wfpst21days my sister and I are currently on, then try these places:

1. Foragers City Grocer 233 8th Avenue at 22nd Street

Foragers for dinner

Foragers Breakfast BarTheir original location is in Brooklyn and they are all about local + organic. This is a great place to get yummy snacks, like this amazing breakfast bar (no sugar, no flour, no oil), fresh fruit, salads and tea. And then you can always go in for the buttery breakfast bacon and egg sandwich when you feel like rewarding yourself. You can also eat dinner Tuesday - Saturday and brunch on the weekends.

2. Blossom 187 9th Avenue between 21st and 22nd Street Rigatoni in Porcini Cream (vegan)-BlossomI literally just walked in off the street after seeing a sign with the words 'vegan' and 'vegetarian'. I was seated immediately and they did not care that I was eating solo. Nor did they bat an eye when I asked my annoying questions. The rigatoni in porcini cream is vegan, uses whole wheat pasta with shallots, leeks, broccoli rabe, pistachio gremolata, truffle oil (oops), caramelized fennel & onion jam crostini and tahini. It is absolutely delicious! I was so happy I had a glass of wine. Beware--you may make vegan friends! Or be vegan-ized. I sat next to some vegans from Echo Park (crazy, I know, I used to live literally a few doors down from them) and they were super fun to talk to about LA vegan vs. the rest of the world. Basically, LA has the best vegan restaurants. Maybe it's my rosy memory, but I think it makes sense. They loved Blossom, too. And they worked in public radio, which just made me happy. KPCC + Echo Park + Vegan love win!

4. Organic Avenue 216 8th Ave at 21st Street

Organic Avenue

Great for fresh live juices (which aren't so great for a hotel room sans-fridge, but they did offer to give me a cooler bag with an ice pack), yummy snacks and meals. Eclectic recipes and easy-to-read ingredients.

3. Argo Tea 275 7th Avenue at 26th Street

Great place to find some caffeine-free herbal teas! And yes, they have almond milk.

How do you manage a healthy eating lifestyle + travel? Do you just give up? Where are your favorite places to eat when on a trip?