Between endless holiday treats and family get-togethers, it seems like the year turns into one non-stop cookie and fudge-filled palooza. In an effort to offset some of that sugar-laden damage, we’ve rounded up all the best places to squeeze in some healthy, kid-friendly, and delish lunches, dinners and snacks that kids will love almost as much as their nana’s famous gingerbread cookies. No matter what part of town you are in, we’ve got you covered. And because we get you (#momlife), we even found the best delivery options as well.
The Original Farmer’s Market
With such a wide variety of dining options, The Original Farmer’s Market has something to please even the pickiest pint-sized palettes. The Market started out as a place for the neighborhood to come and collect produce, which is still a large component today with Farm Fresh and Farm Boy offering a quality selection of seasonal fruits and veggies. Top-notch butcher and seafood stalls are sprinkled throughout the Market as well with knowledgeable staff to answer any questions you may have.
If you’re looking for more ready-to-eat fare, be sure to check out health-conscious spots like Greenhouse—a fresh squeezed juice and acai bar and Magee’s House of Nuts where you can watch nut butter get churned on the spot. Many other vendors also have healthy options like Nonna’s Empanadas with delicious Greek and Mediterranean salads with quinoa, Singapore’s Banana Leaf has plenty of vegetarian dishes, and The Gumbo Pot is ideal for a light meal with classic Gumbo Ya Ya and a range of salads from seafood to blackened chicken.
6333 W. 3rd St.
photo: @josiahsteinbrick via Kitchen Mouse Instagram
Reading the menu (even the kid’s menu) here makes you feel like you went back in time to hippy California. The words millet, tempeh, tofu, sun butter, and brown rice noodles make you think, “No way my kids will eat this.” But they will, and you’ll find yourself trekking to this Highland Park hipster haven more often than you’d imagine, as you wake to dream of Jo’s Breakfast Sandwich and the Dal Bowl.
Super friendly for kids (there’s even a small play area) and dogs, just know that weekend lines get long once the locals are awake, so come early, or pop by in the afternoon for a healthy cookie and coffee treat when your sweet tooth (or theirs) won’t be denied.
5904 N. Figueroa St.
photo: M Café via Facebook
Once again, the food here is so delicious, kids don’t realize they’re eating healthier. This will be your new go-to for healthy and delicious, eat in or take out food for the whole family. Breakfast ranges from pancakes (including a chocolate chip option—and keep in mind that everything here is macrobiotic, without any refined sugars, eggs, dairy, red meat or poultry) to scrambled tofu and tempeh bacon. Lunch and dinner offer up options like a baby Big Macro Burger, pictured above, (which will convert even the most ardent McDonald’s lover, which isn’t hyperbole as we’ve put this to the test) or a kid-sized Teriyaki Bento Box that comes with a cookie.
7119 Melrose Ave.
photo: Kanna S. via Yelp
Just opened in Nov., Planet Smoothie is Beverly Hills’s first-ever, walk-up smoothie shop just steps away from Rodeo Dr. With a catalog of over 30 real-fruit smoothies made with LeanLeaf sweetener (derived from Stevia), families have tons of healthy and delish flavors to choose from. All smoothies are completely customizable, whether you’re looking for something gluten-free, dairy-free, or one with plant-based protein.
Faves include the Lean Green Extreme (pineapples, mango, bananas, leafy greens, orange juice, Planet Pro® Veg pea protein), The Last Mango (mango, peaches, bananas, orange sherbet) or the crazy popular Chocolate Elvis (cocoa, peanut butter, bananas, frozen yogurt, nonfat milk, energy blast).
193 ½ S. Beverly Dr.
photo: Flower Child via Facebook
Casual, cute and yummy: that’s a gold medal trifecta when eating with kids. You can all eat super healthy here, and it’s also an easy place to eat if anyone in the family has any dietary restrictions: gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, raw—they’ll help you customize your order however you want it. It’s also our favorite place to bring kids if you’re jump-starting your own New Year’s resolution to be super healthy, but you’ve got a steak-or-bust spouse and picky kids, you can add all-natural steak, chicken, tofu or salmon to any salad, sandwich or wrap.
The kid’s menu is also fully customizable. Pick a protein plus two sides (like gluten-free mac & cheese, organic brown rice or oranges & apples), which allows delighted picky people to design their own perfect meals. The kid’s breakfast option of toast, eggs, fruit, and local honey is amazing, too.
1332 2nd St.
Inn of the 7th Ray
While every meal here is fantastic, for kids we find it best to come on the weekend for Sat. lunch or Sun. brunch. That’s because kids can run and play by the mostly dry creek bed, scrambling on rocks, catch frogs and have a blast with new friends. There’s also a better than even chance you can see a wedding. And you’ll need the distraction because while friendly and sweet, the service typically tends to have a slower pace. So order up some fresh squeezed juices or mimosas and sip and play in the serene setting while the chef whips up your organic meal that can be vegan or gluten-free if you so desire.
On Sun., the buffet is a great option that exposes kids to a whole host of things they never knew they’d love: a pastry bar, bagel bar, fruit bar & dessert bar, alongside some seafood and salads you can sneak on the plate.
128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd.
photo: SunCafe Organic via Facebook
Raw. Organic. GMO-free. Plant-based. Dairy free. Gluten-free optional. If all those words sound like they add us to a resounding YUCK from your kids, it’s time to try Sun Café Organic. Order up (to share, as there’s no kids menu, so you’ll want to get things to share for the table) some Sun Nachos (hold the jalapeño for the kids, but they’ll love the nacho “cheese” and guac), pizza (with cashew cheese) and of course, the mac & cheese, pictured above (quinoa pasta with tomato & cashew Mac sauce—try it with added tempeh bacon, too!).
At the end, throw in a mint shamrock shake for the kids, where the spinach makes it green, but they won’t notice or care because they’re fighting over it, and a coffee shake for you. The whole family will roll out, amazed at how stuffed and satiating healthy food can be.
10820 Ventura Blvd.
photo: Wild Living Foods via Facebook
Wild Living Foods
This DTLA restaurant has us hooked. They call it “neo-pueblo” inspired raw and vegan food and kids instantly feel at home with the bright décor and painted murals. While there is no kids menu, they want kids to learn to eat clean from the get-go, so they’re super flexible and adjust to any special requests. They also are happy to sample juices and ice creams for kids, which is a great enticer to joining the clean plate club.
The sushi and pasta (made from kelp noodles) serve as great introductions to “clean eating” for the young and uninitiated. And that vegan ice cream is the perfect way to convince kids that healthy eating can be tasty eating. Their motto of Live Dirty, Eat Clean is one your kids can take to with relish. Vegan, raw relish.
760 Main St.
photo: True Food Kitchen via Facebook
True Food Kitchen
With three convenient locations around the LA area (Santa Monica, Pasadena and El Segundo), it’s easy to pop in for a healthy meal you’ll feel good about giving your kiddos. True Food Kitchen focuses on delicious eating and conscious nutrition with every fantastic dish they make —utilizing the freshest seasonal ingredients that not only make you feel better but also fight inflammation. Hooray!
Tikes will love kids menu options like the almond butter, banana and apple sandwich; grass-fed burgers; and chicken teriyaki bowls. Parents will dig the butternut squash pizza, poke bowls, grilled fish tacos and a wide variety of yummy salads filled with good-for-you ingredients. Plenty of vegetarian options are available and some meals are prepared gluten-free.
Locations: Santa Monica, El Segundo, Pasadena
photo: Veggie Grill via Facebook
These days, Veggie Grill dominates the healthy fast-casual game. With more locations opening faster than you can say, “brussell sprouts,” there’s bound to be one in your hood. Veggie Grill prides itself in coming up with delicious ways to get even the biggest skeptics saying, “more veggies please” by the end of their meals. All menu items are free of meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal products, and therefore, are free of antibiotics and hormones. Veggie Grill uses high-quality proteins like Beyond Burger from Beyond Meat, Gardein Chickin’ and Hodo Tofu to give families the protein they need and the mouthwatering taste they want in each bite.
Menu items can also be modified to be gluten-free on request. Kids will go ga-ga for the Mac-n-Cheese, Chickin’ Nuggets and Kids Burger with some piping hot Cauli-Mashed Potatoes or Sweet Potato Fries on the side. Grown-ups will love a huge variety of veggie-filled salads, bowls, flatbreads and tacos. Nom, nom, nom—our mouths are watering just thinking about it.
Locations: Los Angeles, The Original Farmer’s Market, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, El Segundo, DTLA (coming soon)
When you barely have time to breathe let alone sit down, Beaming, a fantastic chain of organic superfood cafes, is the perfect pit stop for grab-and-go juices and meals. Beaming features a thoughtful plant-based menu filled with delights like coconut ceviche, raw vegetable lasagna, tasty salads, nutrient dense snacks, gluten, and dairy-free baked goods, as well as organic cold-pressed juices and premium superfood smoothies.
While there are multiple locations throughout the LA area, Beaming’s newest darling is their café in Terminal 1 at LAX. And since there’s nothing worse than boarding a long flight with hangry toddlers, Beaming may quickly become your take-out savior this holiday travel season.
Locations: Pasadena, Century City, Brentwood, Santa Monica, West Hollywood and now Terminal 1 in LAX
photo: Chelsea M. via Yelp
While sneaking in the veggies has its place (who hasn’t blended spinach into something just to get a hint of green into the daily diet?), you’d also like kids to recognize their nutrients as nature intended. A visit to Café Gratitude will have everyone in the family thankfully gobbling greens and other raw treats.
The kid’s menu itself is small: just five items (and the gluten-free buckwheat pancakes are only available at breakfast), but they’re all things that kids eat and recognize with a healthy twist. Kids also love the smoothies and mix and match sides, like avocado, kelp noodles, and quinoa or brown rice. And you’ll feel happy knowing that all those goodies are vegan and organic.
Locations: Beverly Hills, Larchmont, Arts District, Venice
Delivered to Your Door
LA super mama and author of the insanely popular Weelicious blog and cookbooks, Catherine McCord, is the co-founder of One Potato meal delivery service aimed at making families’ lives healthier and easier. One Potato is not only organic, but it’s the only meal delivery company focused on helping parents be their best selves at meal time by doing most of the prep work for them. Their goal is to help get healthy, wholesome food on the table in less than 30 minutes, while also making tots better eaters.
Meals are super flavorful (but not spicy), incorporate veggies while allowing kiddos to build their own plates so they can have more of the items they love and are designed so little ones can help make dinner and feel part of the process. Plus, there’s organic cookie dough in every box —hello! Every week, there are 10 meals to choose from, including five family faves that are staples like beef, turkey, or veggie burgers; tacos or herb roasted chicken; and seasonal dishes like crispy salmon bowls, chicken or veggie burrito bowls, and Arepas and turkey tonkatsu.
Cost: Meal plans start at $59.79 per week and go up from there depending on how many meals and servings you want.
photo: Instacart via Facebook
When you simply don’t have time to grocery shop or just can’t face another long check-out line with antsy toddlers in tow, Instacart is the total cat’s pajamas. Saving you time while keeping you on track for having healthy food in the house, Instacart now delivers groceries from several healthy stores in the LA area.
Stores like Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, Erewhon, and Co+Opportunity Market & Deli, as well as the usual suspects like Ralph’s, Gelson’s, Pavillions and Vons to name a few. Just fill in the groceries you need online, choose a delivery time that works with your busy schedule and everything’s delivered straight to your front door. No fuss, no muss. Delivery fee and tip apply to each order.
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—Megan Rose & Jennifer O’Brien