CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- You often find yourself at Charleston Town Center mall for multiple reasons. Eating can certainly be one of them, if not the prime.
But how to make the best choice from the abundance of tantalizing food may be puzzling. Everything looks, smells and tastes so good, and we want to savor the experience, yet remain within our dietary guidelines.
There are great restaurants on the ground floor, as well as ever-popular dessert, coffee house, and snack and sandwich locations on each level. Today's concentration is the Picnic Place food court. I refer to it as a buffet waiting to happen.
Surprisingly, most all the vendors have offerings that are nutritionally better for us, while at the same time not being the first location that springs to mind when thinking "healthy."
That is simply because of their extended menu items that have a high-fat, high-calorie reputation. This column will uncover the other foods that can be enjoyed.
I don't address the finite restrictions such as lactose or fiber intolerance, allergies and other subspecialties of diet. Instead, this is a clip-and-save column when going to Town Center, expecting to be hungry, serving to notify that something lighter and more carb friendly is there.
When dining at the Picnic Place, you don't have to settle for a plain salad with fat-free dressing. Your eating adventure can go way beyond that tired duo.
• Chick-fil-A: Plain or lettuce-wrapped char-grilled chicken filet; chicken salad sandwich on whole grain bread; chicken wraps; char-grilled and fruit salad; chargrilled chicken garden salad; Southwestern char-grilled salad; small slaw; small fruit cup; chicken salad cup; side salad; breast of chicken; soup; yogurt parfait with or without granola; unsweetened iced tea; diet lemonade and sodas.
• Taco Bell Fresca: "9 tastes under 9 grams of fat," which include crunchy taco; bean burrito; grilled steak soft taco; soft taco; chicken soft taco; burrito supreme chicken; volcano taco (my favorite because it's hot and spicy). I enjoy a side of the beans minus cheese and sauce.
• Sbarro: A slice of thin crust cheese pizza (you can ask for any vegetable to be placed on top for an additional charge); tomato-cucumber salad; Caesar salad; meatballs with sauce; mixed veggie sauté (broccoli, carrots, squash, garlic).