by HANNAH CHEW
For me, mindfulness about food is always at the top of my New Year’s resolutions. At the beginning of the year, I thus told myself that I would eat healthier by going out to eat less frequently and enjoying more of my meals at BPlate. But I have also recently realized that going out to eat and eating healthier are not always mutually exclusive.
Last quarter, Total Wellness hosted a fundraiser at CAVA, which I like to describe as a “Chipotle spin-off of Greek food.” Located on Broxton, CAVA is a quick service restaurant where you can build your own Greek grains and salad bowls. They offer plentiful options for the base, greens, protein, toppings, and dressings, so there really are countless ways to customize your hearty meal.
I ordered a grain bowl with saffron basmati rice, tzatziki sauce, hummus, and falafel, with toppings such as crumbled feta and kalamata olives, dressed with oh-so-creamy yogurt dill. I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed at first that my bowl was not as full as I thought it would be. But after finishing the food, I was stuffed (and this is coming from a person with an insatiable appetite who has to strategize the stacking of dining hall plates in order to only make one trip to the dish racks instead of the shameful two). CAVA’s bowls are extremely filling because of how much flavor is packed into one bowl. Mediterranean food can sometimes be dry, but with all the juicy vegetables and dressings, all my worries quickly dissipated. While the falafel was the perfect texture, I wish CAVA was a bit more generous with the protein.
Hannah’s CAVA bowl”>
Hannah’s CAVA bowl
At CAVA, you do not have to choose between healthy and tasty. With the diverse options, you can customize your bowl to incorporate all the major food groups. Lean protein from chicken or falafel, carbohydrates from whole grains, healthy fats from dressings, and everything in between! My inner nutritionist was so excited to see how colorful my bowl was. I especially loved the cabbage slaw––for its vibrant purple color as well as its rich nutrition profile. Cabbage is jam-packed with vitamin K, vitamin C, and antioxidants, and has also been found to improve brain function!
While CAVA is a chain restaurant, each location makes an effort to form community partnerships, and we can all agree that supporting local farmers and striving towards a sustainable environment is nothing but noble and highly crucial. For example, the Garden School Foundation partners with the USC Village location in providing mint for CAVA’s refreshing Watermelon Mint Juice and rosemary for their Rosemary Limeade. On a larger scale, CAVA chooses their farm partners with sustainability being a major criteria. Their selectivity for product, community, and farm practices is reassuring; CAVA is healthy for the body, community, and environment––a trifecta, if you will.
CAVA checks all the marks––healthy and balanced, filling and delicious, as well as socially and environmentally conscious. The price may be a little bit steep for one bowl, but the amount of food they offer sure fills you up. I am also comforted by the fact that CAVA actively works with more local and community partners to get the freshest and most sustainable of ingredients.
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CAVA Westwood Village location:
1073 Broxton Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Hours: Daily, 10:45am – 10pm
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