In 2009, G Street Food introduced Washington to authentic street food from around the world. The vegetable-heavy menu is created with seasonal produce and local ingredients, is served in eco-friendly packaging, and has even earned our Dirt-Cheap-Eats stamp of approval.
“This place has a really nice theme with the diverse ingredients from all over the world,” says registered dietitian Juliet Rodman. “I would absolutely tell people to go here, but I’d put asterisks on some things.”
On the surface this local spot seems very health-conscious—but since the nutrition information isn’t readily available, we’ll have to rely on Rodman’s expert judgment. Check it out below.
• Worst—Peanut chicken: Rodman says the chicken is likely prepared in a peanut sauce, which is high in sugar, oil, and salt. “And a lot of times peanut-chicken salads are served with fried crunchy things on top, which makes them more unhealthy,” she explains.
• Best—Grilled zucchini and eggplant: “Eggplant is such a fantastic food,” Rodman says. “It’s got folate, potassium, and phytonutrients that aren’t in all veggies, and we don’t usually get to see it grilled like this at a restaurant. There’s lots of potassium in both [eggplant and zucchini], so when I see a dish like this I say, ‘Yes!’” The black bean and butternut squash soup, a low-fat, low-cal choice that’s also a great source of fiber and protein, was a close second.
• Worst—Kentucky: This sandwich includes a fried chicken breast, garlic-roasted mushrooms, spinach, “angry mayo,” and bacon bits on brioche. Rodman explains, “Anything deep-fried is high in calories, and if you add mayo to the fried chicken breast, this sandwich probably has close to 1,000 calories.” She also points out that brioche is a dense bread, which is sure to stack the calorie deck against you.
• Better—Turkey club: The turkey club features bacon, avocado, tomatoes, arugula mayo, and mixed greens on a multigrain roll. The turkey also gets points for being hand-cut and roasted as opposed to being nitrate-laced, high-sodium deli meat. Skip the mayo and bacon to turn this sandwich into a winner.
• Best—Mediterranean: Rodman’s favorite sandwich is, of course, one that piles on the veggies—grilled portobello, red pepper, and asparagus with provolone and hummus. It comes on focaccia, a “leaner” bread. Hummus is also one of the few condiments mentioned in this series that you can enjoy in its full glory—it’s low-calorie, cholesterol-free, and generally good for you. As for the cheese, Rodman says, “If you’re watching your calories, hold the provolone. But one slice is only about 80 calories, and it’s a great source of calcium.”
• Worst—Chicken quesadillas: “I never recommend quesadillas because they’re really high in fat, and while it can be rich in protein, a cheese and chicken version is really high-calorie,” Rodman says. “It would take lots of walking, running, hiking, or swimming to burn off a 1,000-calorie lunch.” Be weary of the halal offerings as well, which our expert says she loves but which are often as oily as they are delicious.
• Best—Asian lettuce wrap: This veggie-packed sandwich—which includes cilantro, pickled daikon, carrots, bean sprouts, scallions, and roasted peanuts—is as flavorful as it is healthy. Even the condiment—homemade hoisin/garlic sauce—is low in saturated fat and cholesterol (though perhaps high in sodium, warns Rodman). “We encourage people to cut their complex carbs, such as bread, pasta, and rice, which people overindulge in,” she says. “A wrap is a great way to avoid [overindulging].”
The beauty of a place like G Street Food is that the changing menu is both flexible and full of nutritious options. Rodman advises us to speak up and take advantage of opportunities to customize orders to make them healthier. Keep dressings on the side. Be careful about overeating—save half of whatever you order for later. Finally, take advantage of the diversity of the eatery’s green offerings.
“There are so many different kinds of great vegetables, and I encourage you to volumize your plates,” Rodman says. “Go for the highest nutrient content with the lowest calories.”
Juliet Rodman can be reached through her company website, Wellness Corporate Solutions or via her Facebook page. Follow her on Twitter at @corpwellness.