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Nourishing nibbles

Keep your New Year's resolutions with these grub options

Happy Belly features beautifully balanced, wholesome eats that will have you feeling satisfied. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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I was meandering through the produce aisle at the grocery store yesterday when I noticed something. All of the prepackaged salads were ... gone. Mixed greens, spinach, baby arugula. All of them. It looked odd to see an entire display case completely void of the neatly packaged, twice washed greens, but then I remembered, it's a new year and with that, there is a boost in folks trying to make better choices with regards to their health and diet. Maybe the greens drought will only last this week, maybe it'll extend until February, perhaps even longer, but I wanted to help you all out. If you, too, went to the store to find the salad section wiped out and now fear that your New Year's resolution will be just words, I've provided a short list of local establishments that have got you covered with healthy, nourishing nibbles.

I'm not known for my healthy dining options, after all, I am a food writer and have to explore all sorts of dining adventures, but there is one establishment that came to mind first, and my health conscience friends echoed "Happy Belly Restaurant and Juice Bar!" Happy Belly features a diverse sampling of freshly squeezed fruit and veggie juices, compelling smoothie concoctions and salads, sammies, soups and more that will leave you feeling good! Though much of the menu is vegan or gluten-free, there are meaty options as well, but there is special attention paid to each dish with a balance of color, texture, sweet and savory. Most importantly, everything is uber-fresh and I guarantee you won't leave hankering for a greasy burger. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, 1122 Market St., Tacoma, 253.365.6706,

Marlene's Market & Deli may be surrounded by almost every fast food chain restaurant known to man, but within its doors you'll discover a deli that provides wholesome, flavorful food. Marlene's Deli boasts a salad bar, fresh sandwiches built on-site, delectable soups and entrées highlighting healthy ingredients. Field Roast patties, quinoa salad, burritos and flavorful Buddha Bowls that can be taken back to the office and enjoyed with fervor. 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, 2951 S. 38th St., Tacoma, 253.472.4080,

Any vegan will tell you, around these parts, Quickie Too reigns supreme. These guys serve up vegan and gluten-free comfort food. You might have your doubts, but they will change your ways. You'll feel like you're indulging with their Mac & Yease, chorizo-style tofu tacos will feel like a cheat day and the Jalapeno Mozzarella Burger will tango with your taste buds. They present a healthy twist to all of the foods you think you'll have to miss. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Sunday; closed Tuesday, 1324 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.572.4549

Viva Tacoma presents the holy trinity of New Year's resolution goals. It's gluten-free, dairy-free and organic. Their menu even features "raw, living" ingredients throughout and will challenge you with cauliflower "wings," walnut meat, almond ricotta and cashew tortillas. Heck, they even have biscuits and gravy. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, 2602 North Proctor, Tacoma, 253.503.6498,

A healthy option featuring loads of flavor and fresh, lean protein is poke. You must have a tolerance for raw fish, but good poke is melt-in-your-mouth good and packs a punch of healthy fats, lean protein and Omega 3s. We are fortunate to have several go-to options and I couldn't choose just one so here are a few of the South Sound options: Poke Pop, 2013 Mildred St. W., Fircrest; Sam Choy's Poke to the Max, 1716 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; I C Poke, 10417 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood

You don't expect to discover wholesome eats at your local tavern but you just might at the Top of Tacoma. The Top has loads of delectable, healthy eats including an impressive salad selection with ingredients like chicken breast, quinoa, avocado, roasted corn, wasabi peas and resulting in a filling and flavorful feast. They even have Field Roast vegan tacos or the Buddha Wrap, which boasts a peanut curry seared tofu, seaweed salad and fresh veggies wrapped up in flatbread. You'll feel a little less guilty about that cocktail you indulge in. Pro tip: opt for a vodka soda, it's fairly diet-friendly. 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., Monday-Sunday, 3529 East McKinley Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.1502,

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