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Maybe this isn’t true everywhere, but in Indianapolis, where I live, there is a strong green/clean living movement that continues to grow and new restaurants are really reflecting that attitude change. That’s not such a new phenomenon, I guess. Businesses always want to accomodate the current needs of their customers and restaurants are the same. When I worked at TGI Fridays during the summers in college, I remember we had a “diet menu” that was Atkins certified. Have I mentioned I don’t believe in fad diets? I’m sorry but you’ll never convince me it is thebun that is the problem with your bacon cheeseburger.

But this time it feels different. Just like people are becoming more aware of what they put into their bodies, restaurants are becoming more aware of what they are serving. Granted I live in the most hippy-friendly neighborhood in town, but there are at least four restaurants within three blocks that serve food using local ingredients.

Seasons 52 is kind of like that. I say “kind of” because it is a chain, and it’s a little swanky, and I had no indication that anyone on staff smelled like patchouli. But, the menu has a similar appeal.

I went there for dinner last night with my mom who is in town visiting. She does Weight Watchers and is impressively skilled staying on point. So we both wanted somewhere that we could enjoy a nice meal out without any splurging or guilt. I had heard this place was good so we gave it a try.

It was amazing. Their schtick is that everything is seasonal, so the entire menu changes every few months. Additionally every plate on the menu is under 500 calories. My mom, who got a filet mignon with mashed potatoes, thought maybe they were cheating and really meant every piece of food, but the server said it really was per plate. That theory is corroborated by the nutritional chart.

I was so excited by what I was eating that I really wanted to share it on this blog. The whole meal seemed so decadent, but in terms of nutrition it really wasn’t. I was a little bit worried when we went that I would be happy with the healthy quality but sad about how bland and dull all the food was. I was really pleasantly surprised by the rich flavors in all the different things I got. Nothing tasted like “diet food,” which is big for me, because the disappointment of a bad cheat meal seriously bums me out! That was not a problem last night though because this was neither disappointing nor really even a cheat meal, though we certainly tried our best.

As I said, we wanted a nice night out, so we helped ourselves to all the courses. Yep, a four course meal. Generally not super diet-friendly! To start we had a tomato flatbread, which was basically like a margherita pizza with a really thin crust. Then I had a spinach salad with raspberries. I’d recommend getting the dressing on the side because there was too much on it, and in my mind that is just wasted calories. For my entree I had a kind of fish called cobia. I had never heard of it before, and since my animal protein almost always comes from fish I was surprised. Turns out it is a really delicious saltwater based whitefish, but not too flaky or fishy. I wish it was more readily available. It was prepared with a curry sauce, basmati rice and steamed carrots and green beans. And a grilled lemon that smelled so good I wish it was a candle. Then they had little single-serving desserts and I had raspberry-mango cheesecake.

Single-serving mini desserts…I really wanted two.

So, this whole thing sounds really indulgent, right? Well, it felt indulgent. But according to the nutritional chart my whole four course meal was only 1160 calories. Granted, that is way more than I normally eat in one sitting, but still way less than normal restaurants. Last weekend I went out to the old brewery where I used to work and in four hours ate (and drank) 2600 calories. So 1160 is really not so bad, considering.

I know this is different from my normal kind of blog post but I really recommend this place as a healthy alternative if you don’t feel like cooking and do feel like a nice meal out. I love the idea of clean living becoming mainstream enough to garner a chain restaurant. Seasons 52 is on the pricey side but not crazy outrageous. Considering how much organic groceries are, I think it’s okay. I read through the list of locations and they appear to be mostly in neighborhoods that cater wealthy old people. But if you live in Indy or happen to be somewhere near a different location I think it’s worth checking out.

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