“Healthy” may not be the one of the first things that come to mind when you think of New Orleans, but there is a robust health & wellness community that has grown here over the past decade. From restaurants that serve up healthy and delicious dishes to fitness community events that focus on having fun while exercising, there are ample ways for the health-conscious traveler to enjoy a getaway in New Orleans. We rounded up some of our favorite activities and places, so all you have to do is show up – because after all, sometimes that’s half the battle.
Where to Eat Healthy in New Orleans
This vegetarian cafe serves fresh salads, bowls, smoothies, juices, and toasts. After a morning workout, I love to refuel with the “Morning Bowl,” a hearty serving of quinoa mixed with fresh greens, avocado, chipotle sauce, and a fried egg. With three locations (Marigny, CBD, and Uptown), you’re likely to find this healthy cafe nearby. Uptown: 3300 Magazine St.; CBD: 1000 Girod St.; Marigny: 2381 St Claude Ave.
Local’s tip: Take a class at Body B Fit, located a half-mile from The Daily Beet in the CBD. They offer 25 minute workouts that include VersaClimber, Lagree Fitness Megaformer, and more.
This cozy vegan cafe resides in the bottom of Swan River Yoga in Mid-City, making it a perfect stop-over after a yoga class. The restaurant prides itself on its global flavors, with menu offerings inspired by Indian and Mexican cuisine. Can’t decide on what to eat? Order “The Everything Plate,” a sampling of their tastiest dishes like Malysian Curry, Dahl, and Upma. Don’t forget to sample their unique coffees, such as the “Labyrinth,” a latte mixed with vanilla, tumeric, and ginger. 2940 Canal St.
Tucked in a tiny, two-story storefront on Magazine Street, Raw Republic is the health-conscious traveler’s dream. Upon entering, you’ll glimpse a small grab-and-go counter filled with cold pressed juices, salads, and a menu of raw dishes made-to-order. Make your way behind the counter and up the staircase to The Space, their second-story sanctuary filled with natural light and tables for you to enjoy your meal. Here, you can shop at Vibrant Market, a clean beauty pop-up, and book wellness services like acupuncture, meditation, and reiki. 4528 Magazine St.
If you’re craving a healthy bite but find yourself with indulgent friends, you may just want to eat here. This sleek and modern breakfast and lunch spot is located just off Freret Street with a menu that is equal parts healthy and heavy. Choose from the “Good Cat” menu for lighter options like the Farro Bowl, or the “Bad Cat” menu with dishes like Pork Chop or Bison Burger. 2521 Jena St.
Local’s tip: Take a yoga class before at The Ashtanga Yoga Room, located directly above Bearcat.
Looking for affordable food close to Frenchmen Street and the French Quarter? Head to The Green Room on St. Bernard Avenue. This casual restaurant and bar serves homemade Eastern European food with a menu that is half vegetarian and half meat. For healthy dishes, try their “Spiced Apple Salad,” an overflowing plate of mixed greens, spiced apples, goat cheese, and homemade vinaigrette. For a filling vegetarian bite, sink your teeth into “Vegetarian Beet Reuben,” a melt-in-your-mouth beet patty covered in cheese. 1300 St Bernard Ave.
This tiny, sunny restaurant resides off Esplanade and serves delicious Mediterranean fare. The menu has ample vegetarian dishes, including their decadent “Feast,” fit to share with two or three people and filled with falafel, hummus, and pickled vegetables, to name a few of the many elements in this meal. Make sure to try their piping hot flat bread, perfect for dipping in hummus. They’re open for lunch and dinner, and if there’s a wait, relax at the neighboring wine bar Swirl or a local’s favorite coffee shop Fair Grinds. 3141 Ponce De Leon St.
Local’s tip: Take a yoga class at The Church of Yoga, located just a few blocks away.
This bright, modern quick-stop restaurant has two locations, one in the Garden District and one in the CBD. They offer a healthy selection of poke bowls that are fully customizable. Pick a base of rice or noodles, add a protein like salmon or tofu, and finish with mix-ins and toppings that include mango, ginger, and avocado. Poke Loa offers online ordering so grabbing your perfect bowl is quick and easy. Uptown: 3341 Magazine St.; CBD: 939 Girod St.
Local’s tip: Take a cycle class at Cyclebar, located just six blocks from Poke LOA on Magazine Street.
Stationed in a bright historic cottage on St. Claude Avenue, this lunch and dinner spot offers a wide selection of poke bowls. Their raw fish selection is divine, with salmon, tuna, octopus, and more. Guests can choose from the restaurant’s menu of signature bowls that include both pescatarian and vegetarian options, or a craft-your-own option by ticking off ingredients on an order card. 2809 St Claude Ave.
Tip: This restaurant is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, making it easy to grab a healthy bite anytime.
If you’re looking for fresh, tropical food, head to Carmo in the CBD. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this casual restaurant’s menu is filled with something for everyone. Check out their “Brazilian Chicken Salad” for a healthy serving of protein, or their “Panamanian Ceviche” made with fresh-caught gulf shrimp. They also have vegan options, including the “Broken Noodle Salad,” a delightful medley of rice noodles, tofu, and crisp vegetables. Carmo’s bar features fresh juices, signature cocktails, beer, and wine, making it a wonderful spot to enjoy a healthy drink. 527 Julia St.
Local’s Tip: There are an array of fitness studios within walking distance of Carmo. Around the corner, you’ll find Orange Theory and Free To Be Power Yoga Downtown. Walk a few blocks and visit Crescent City Pilates.
Located in the Bywater, Uptown, and CBD, Satsuma Cafe serves fresh juices, pastries, sandwiches, and salads. This is an excellent option for a healthy brunch. Try their Kale Salad or Green Breakfast Sandwich for a light and energizing start to your day. Bywater: 3218 Dauphine St.; Uptown: 7901 Maple St.; Garden District: 1320 Magazine St.
Max Well’s forte is their bowls which are some of the most filling I’ve ever had. Check out their “NOLA Bowl,” a mixture of red beans and rice, cajun coleslaw, and sweet potatoes drizzled with plum vinaigrette. Their dinner menu is dotted with robus vegetarian entrees, like “Savory Sweet Potato Lasagna.” The location is warm and friendly and located on a sunny corner on Magazine Street. 6101 Magazine St.
Local’s Tip: Take a cycle or Pilates class at Romney Studios, located just a few blocks away.
Located in the French Market, this food stall mixes local cuisine with healthy ingredients. Check out their “Vegan Crab Cake Po Boy” and “Maxi Black Bean Po Boy” to experience New Orleans food, vegan-style. Their breakfast items include healthy options such as turkey bacon and scrambled eggs made with olive oil. Fresh salads abound on their menu. They offer delivery for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and their walk-up food stall closes at 4:45 p.m. during weekdays, and 5:45 p.m. on weekends. Check out their website for the most current hours. The Historic French Market, 1100 N. Peters St., Bay #13
Local’s Tip: Take a jog in neighboring Crescent Park for a beautiful view of the city.
This fast health option features a build-your-own-salad station. A team of chefs stand in front of you, whisking together your order, while you tell them exactly how to make it: a little dressing, or a lot, more avocado or less – make it your own. They have two locations in the CBD and Uptown on Freret Street. CBD: 909 Poydras St. #125, Uptown: 5001 Freret St. Suite B
Where to workout (and have fun) in New Orleans
Attend a yoga class at a brewery
Virtually every brewery in New Orleans offers ongoing low-cost fitness classes. In the Bywater, stop by Free Yoga at Parleaux Beer Lab each Sunday at 11 a.m. for an all-levels class led by local teacher Ryan Stevens. If you’re uptown, head to Tchoup Yard for Tribe Yard Yoga for a $5 outdoor yoga class each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. courtesy of NOLA Tribe Yoga. Also located on Tchoupitoulas Street is NOLA Brewing, and they host donation-based Tap Room Yoga each Monday at 6 p.m.
Meet up with a local Run Club
Hitch up with Happy’s Running Club each Wednesday for a 5K that starts at Manning’s in the CBD at 6:16 p.m. on the dot. Make sure to bring beer money; each run ends with a happy hour. The 504th run club meets Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in a different location each week. Each run is three to five miles, and a run leader maps a course with special stops along the way to share history and stories about the neighborhood. Visit their instagram page to find out this week’s meeting spot.
Workout out a local studio or gym
Curious about the fitness studio scene in New Orleans? Here’s a roundup of every spin studio in New Orleans, the top yoga studios in the city, and eleven fitness studios on Magazine Street. If you enjoy a do-it-yourself gym workout, Franco’s on Magazine offers $20 day passes to their gym, located in a beautifully restored historic building on Magazine Street, and CrossFit NOLA offers a $20 visitor drop-in rate for a led guided workout. You’d be remiss to not drop-in for a class at Dancing Grounds in the Bywater, which offers hip-hop, salsa and Caribbean dance classes, just to name a few.
Take your workout outside
Weather permitting, there are dozens of workouts available outdoors. For runners, check out this list of the best routes and locations to run in the city. For group exercises classes, visit Move Ya Brass’s website to see a schedule of free weekly runs, yoga classes, and dance cardio classes in public parks throughout New Orleans. For early birds, November Project hosts free cardio and strength workouts on Wednesdays at 5:15 a.m. and 6 a.m. in Champion’s Square outside of the Superdome.
Enjoy Tai Chi and Yoga in a museum
New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) hosts Tai Chi in different museum galleries each Monday at 6 p.m. You’ll gracefully move through a series of poses while viewing the museum’s many collections of rotating fine art. NOMA also hosts Yoga in The Sculpture Garden each Saturday at 8 a.m. All classes are $5, or free for museum members.
Enjoy outdoor yoga classes
Practicing yoga in the balmy weather may just be the perfect way to enjoy New Orleans. NOLA Tribe Yoga hosts donation-based sunrise yoga classes each Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. at the Peristyle in City Park, and Thursday at 6:30 a.m. at the Lake Pontchartrain Lakefront. Greenway Yoga takes place each Monday at 6 p.m. on the Lafitte Greenway and is free. To watch the sunrise along the Mississippi River, join Jai Bhakti Yoga Foundation for Sunrise Yoga at the Outlet Collection at the Riverwalk each Wednesday at 6:30 a.m.