Eat Right Around Chicago

Chicago Brunch: Not-So-Scary!

Scared you can't eat right at a weekend brunch?  Don't be...pull up a chair at Orange. I did this past weekend, with Chicago marathon finisher, elite runner and registered dietitian of Swim, Bike, Run, Eat!, Pamela Nisevich.   
Orange has four locations around Chicago and another on the way.  Their tag line reads, brunch with a peel, and their namesake is a fruit for goodness sake, but I still wasn't sure if that meant I could avoid Hollandaise, fat-filled pancakes or cheesy omelets at this brunch spot.  So, needless to say, I was a bit scared about whether or not I could eat right.

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Pam Nisevich, fastest woman in the restaurant.

I met up with elite marathoner and sports dietitian, Pamela Nisevich this particular Sunday morning and was looking forward to seeing what sort of choices this competitive runner would make (Pam pulled out a 3:09 for the Chicago marathon this year). 

The first order of business for any brunch is coffee.  Orange serves up their own brew with a twist.  They soak oranges in their blend and to my surprise, it was bold and flavorful.  I highly recommend it, but not because it adds any nutritional value. 

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Carrot, apple & cucumber juice.

Orange does offer their own special pancakes, french toast and omelets, but what's unique is their "eat right" options.  Notably, they serve "Frushi".  For $2.50 you can enjoy fruit sliced and diced like sushi.  It's lovely to look at and nutritious as well.  A great way to get even the fruit nay-sayers their servings for the day.  Quite smart. 

The second fruit option are their fresh squeezed juices.  You can blend fruits and vegetables from watermelon to cucumber to achieve your MyPyramid goals.  Call me a dietetic dork, but I find this very exciting in an establishment that also serves Jelly Doughnut Pancakes.

Oh, I can tell you have a question...and it is:  is it just as good to drink your fruits and vegetables as it is to eat them whole?  Well, that's a tough one.  When you grind and puree your fruits and vegetables, you will lose the fiber - that's not so good.  Also, in a liquid, you may gulp down more calories than if you bit into the fruit itself, so keep that in mind. But on the other hand, if you do have a F/V puree, you are getting phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals - that's good.  My recommendation is to drink some, chew some.  Either way, I'm pleased when fruit and veggies make the menu! 

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The other great item on the Orange menu is the Pan-Seared Oatmeal.  It's glazed with apple cider (so satisfies any sweet tooth) but also offers a delicious, nutritious way to add fiber to your day.  Steel cut oats are whole grain (eat 1/2 your grains for the day whole, as you may know) and the seving at Orange (I'm estimating a little over a cup) may provide about 10-12 grams of fiber.  I'm estimating, of course. 

So what did our marathoner eat on this Sunday morning?  She chose the "boring eggs" - as written on the menu - and a side of fresh fruit instead of potatoes.  The toast was whole grain and the eggs were scrambled.  Fine choice for our star athlete.
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This Halloween weekend, don't be scared, you can eat right at brunch after a long night of dress-up and candy/cocktails (age-dependent of course) by finding a table at Orange - Contemporary Brunch with a Peel!     

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2 Comments

courtneybe said:

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Same parents, same household, two totally different eating habits! Maybe it's a mental thing but I never crave/want fruit for breakfast. A freshly squeezed cup of OJ yes (occasionally), but substituting fruit as a side instead of something warm, will never happen on my plate. Knowing this, what is my next best option? Veggies in my omelet? Eggs benny with the sauce on the side? Wheat toast? Basically, how can I still get the Lumberjack Special but augment it some to save me from getting that winter layer (year round)?

EatRightAroundChicago said:

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You again?!?! Kidding.

Well, sister, you bring up a good point. That is - we have the same parents and were brought up in the same household. You may see the differences, I see the similarities. I see that you know that a Lumberjack Special is plentiful and probably more than necessary, you recognize that fruit is good for you, but that taste/craving often overrides health when faced with a menu, you agree that vegetables are a great choice and even give ideas on how to include them in your breakfast. So, what do I recommend to you and your Ironman appetite? I say veggies in your omelet, Hollandaise on the side (dip your fork and you'll get the taste for less), whole grain toast (dry) and a Lumberjack is a great recovery meal after you do another one of those Reach the Beach (30 mile run) challenges.

Thanks for reading, Courtney, and I'm sure your insights are not as unique as you are - so keep them coming.

Affectionately,
Your RD Sister

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