Healthier options for some of NYC’s favorite foods in western Queens

Welcome to 2017, dear reader! Despite 2016’s best efforts, you made it in one piece. Pat yourself on the back and have yourself a drink.

Now put it down and pick up a dumbbell — January means it’s time to take those healthy resolutions seriously! We here at QNS know it’s no easy task to eat healthy in the big city, especially since some seriously unhealthy foods like bagels and burgers are part of our weekly diets. And don’t forget brunch — we’d practically have no social life without it!

That’s why we’ve pulled together a few restaurants in Astoria, LIC and Sunnyside that offer healthy (or healthier) options to some of our favorite dishes.

Read on for some tasty local spots with healthy alternatives to New York City staples.

The Morning Pick-Me-Up: Acai Bowls at Fusion Juice Bar

Photo via Instagram/@cadu2vny
Photo via Instagram/@cadu2vny

The coffee-and-bagel-to-go morning routine is almost as second nature to a New Yorker as swiping through subway turnstiles on the first try. And while we love a good everything bagel with a little schmear — and maybe some lox — it can in no way be considered part of any “healthy” New Year’s resolution.

Which is why we’re currently obsessed with Fusion Juice Bar’s two locations on 31st Avenue and 36th Avenue. Stopping in for a quick cold press on the way to work in the morning is just as simple as grabbing a cup of joe on the way to the subway, and their acai bowls are a wonderful way to start a busy weekend morning. Their almond butter acai bowl, pictured here, is a protein-packed power punch that’ll recharge you after a morning on the elliptical.

Brunch: Wattle Seed Waffle at The Thirsty Koala

Photo courtesy of Thirsty Koala
Photo courtesy of Thirsty Koala

You’re going to brunch one way or the other, so you might as well find the healthiest, tastiest spot in western Queens to brunch at. And for our dollar, there’s no better place than The Thirsty Koala on Ditmars and 35th Street in Astoria. Chef and co-owner Kathy Fuchs, who is gluten free, didn’t always feel safe when she went out to eat. That’s why this Australian-inspired restaurant takes their customers’ allergens very seriously. Much of the menu is gluten free, and cross-contamination is strictly supervised during their food prep.

Celiacs and amateur dieticians alike may appreciate their attention to gluten, but anyone from vegans to carnivores will find something to like at this five-star restaurant. While their green bowl of quinoa, herbs, spinach, kale and a poached egg is a delight and their corn and jalapeño fritter Benedict is sure to satisfy, it’s their wattle seed waffle that’ll keep you coming back to the Koala after mornings at the gym. Full of protein and nice and crunchy, the wattle seed baked into their waffle batter is native to Australia and has kept Aboriginals well-energized for centuries. Get it with fruit and a small scoop of ice cream to help the medicine go down.

Burger: Bareburger

Photo via Instagram/@bareburger
Photo via Instagram/@bareburger

Before you write us off for throwing a burger joint on a healthy resolutions list, remember that meat isn’t the issue when it comes to unhealthy burgers — bad meat is the issue. And Bareburger has anything but bad meat.

Bareburger’s three western Queens spots on 23rd Avenue, 31st Avenue and Vernon Boulevard serve up delicious, organic, farm-to-table meat throughout the year. Grab a burger with beef, bison, elk or any of their other gluten-free meat options, or even one of their vegetarian patties like black bean or sweet potato and rice, and pair it with a sprout bun or a collard green wrap for a healthy take on your everyday burger.

With the right approach, even your burger fix can be satiated while maintaining your healthy resolution.

Grilled Cheese: Queens Kickshaw

Photo courtesy of Queens Kickshaw
Photo courtesy of Queens Kickshaw


A grilled cheese is pretty far outside the bounds of healthy eating, but there are ways to improve upon the form, and Queens Kickshaw is doing it.

Dairy has long been known to put on more calories than many diners may prefer, but in recent years, bread’s culpability in spare tire syndrome has come to light. Queens Kickshaw is here to change that with their mind-blowing zucchini bread. Coming from chef Cory Estelle’s childhood kitchen, the bread goes great with cider poached apples, a house-made American beer cheese (none of that “American cheese product” stuff), and a pesto vinaigrette green salad. It’ll utterly change the way you think about grilled cheese.

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