***This is the first part of a new feature that I will be doing all about being able to eat healthy locally at our awesome Machias area restaurants. I have spoken to most of the owners around town and they have been very welcoming and excited to have me in!! I hope you enjoy this healthy journey through town as much as I have!!***
Sometimes you are just too tried or burnt out to whip up a healthy meal for your family. I will admit that this doesn’t happen very often in our house – but on occasion, it is nice to hangup the apron and have someone else doing the cooking. Since having my surgery, I really haven’t eaten out too often. This is mostly because I have been nervous about being able to get a healthy meal that fits into my #lowcarb lifestyle. Also, sometimes you just do not know what is going into the food that is being served to you. For example, some places use butter on their veggie sides. That’s fine – actually, it won’t kill me to have a pat of butter here and there. However, if you are watching what you are eating – things like this can add up.
So, my first stop on my Eating Healthy Around Town feature is the Bluebird Ranch Family Restaurant. Bethany Foss – who has owned the Bluebird or the “Bird” as it is sometimes known for the last 21 years – sat down with me one day and we talked eating healthy. We both agree that sometimes when you go out to eat that it’s your treat. You maybe looking for something that you wouldn’t make for yourself at home – maybe Prime Rib or a particular dessert. This being said, if having a treat is your desire, you will certainly find one or more on the Bluebird’s vast menu. Likewise, if you are looking for something healthy – you can find several #lowcarb friendly meals on the menu.
The Bluebird Ranch Family Restaurant serves American fair and Seafood. They are known for their mouthwatering Prime Rib on Friday nights and their delish homemade desserts. Their seafood is some of the freshest out there. Their menu offers something for everyone – from sandwiches and wraps to soups and salads. The atmosphere is very welcoming and family oriented. There are two dining room areas and even a private room for bigger parties. They have food themed nights like Mexican, Pizza, and All You Can Eat Haddock. On Sunday’s they offer a breakfast and lunch buffet. Their desserts are homemade daily and they have a special Down East treasure called the Mud Flat. A Mud Flat is NOT #lowcarb – but it sure is out of this world! There are many varieties of Mud Flat – but basically, it’s a cheesecake with a crust and a creamy whipped topping. My two favorite flavors are Key Lime and Gingerbread.
On the day my hubby and I went to do my “research” for this post – I had the opportunity to really check out the options for eating healthy on the menu. The obvious choice for me was their large salad offering. You can get any oftheir salads with added protein. Protein options are: blackened or grilled steak, cheeseburger, grilled, blackened, or crispy chicken. You can also get – Teriyaki or Buffalo chicken tenders, sautéed shrimp, salmon, and even crabmeat salad. I chose the Spinach Salad which was fresh spinach, red peppers, onions, crisp bacon, candied walnuts, and my choice of dressing. Because I am the MOST ANNOYING customer at any restaurant, I of course had to make some modifications. I 86ed the red pepper – as I sometimes have problems with raw veggies. I asked for blue cheese crumbles on the side, and I added the grilled chicken. My dressing of choice was blue cheese. I know what you are thinking – that’s not very low calorie or diet friendly. Well, you’re right – but I’m living my life and not denying the dip of blue cheese. Since I don’t go out to eat often and don’t buy blue cheese dressing for my house – I’m ok with this treat. The salad was so good!! The portion was huge – which means that I can get about 3 servings out of it.
There are many other healthy options on the menu for your dining pleasure. They have a roasted turkey dinner – turkey is a great high protein option. You can get the gravy on the side and opt for a salad instead of the starch – although a baked potato is a good choice too! They offer many sandwiches and wraps – you can have any of them with out bread and wrapped in a lettuce leaf. If you are looking for a healthy seafood option they can broil or sauté anything that they offer. Two of my favorite high protein seaafood options that I’ve had at the Bird is the Atlantic Salmon – which is broiled and toped with Raye’s Winter Garden Mustard. Holy smokes – this is a really great option. The Raye’s Mustard is a total win paired with the salmon. By the way – if you didn’t know – Raye’s Mustard is an amazing local product. They are located right here in Down East, Maine in Eastport. They are the countries last traditional stone ground mustard mill. The other amazing fish option are the South of the Border Tacos. You get 2 tacos made with chargrilled haddock served with spinach and a very tasty cilantro sauce. I eat the insides of the taco and leave the soft taco shells behind. The portion works perfect for me and I usually take one home. The Bluebird also offers homemade soups – the non-cream based ones would be a healthy option. I haven’t been eating a lot of red meat lately, but their burgers are made with lean meat and you can get any of them without a bun and wrapped in a lettuce leaf.
The Bluebird is very accommodating. They have no problems with you making substitutions to your order. They will strive to meet your dietary needs to the best of their abilities. They are rolling out a fresh new menu in 2017. Bethany tells me it will include a turkey burger and other healthy options. I am so excited for the turkey burger!! Aside from serving up the good eats, the Bluebird is a very civic minded establishment. This is due to Bethany and her family’s commitment to the community. The Bluebird is always helping to raise money for local charities. They have done toy and school supply drives. They have also organized yard sales in their parking lot with the proceeds going to local families in need. Just this Thanksgiving, they opened their doors to anyone in the community that needing a hot meal for free. They only accepted donations and raised $2400 – which went to the Down East Community Hospital’s Emergency Room Expansion campaign. I think that’s pretty neat!!
Like I said – I really don’t go out to eat very often. However, when I do – I am really looking for an establishment that can accommodate my picky needs but also feed my family. I found that the Bluebird can do that. My kiddos can have their grilled cheeses, hot dogs, or mac and cheese. My hubby can have his hamburger steak or club sandwich. We always leave satisfied and me, I leave with leftovers that will typically make me two more meals.
Here are my yummy leftovers. Later that day – I added a little more spinach and a little bit of goat cheese and had it for dinner!!
I find the prices at the Bluebird to be affordable – especially since I get several meals out of my single portion. The wait staff is patient and kind and always willing to go the extra mile to make your visit at the Bluebird a pleasant experience. I went in looking to find healthy choices to fit into my lifestyle and I found out that it was pretty easy to do just that. As long as you are willing to ask the Bluebird is willing to accommodate.
Eating out while maintaining and achieving your health goals can be done. I find that I have to keep in mind what works for me and make sure that I stick to that. I also have to be understanding that when you go out – you are sometimes at the mercy of restaurant. I believe that they will do their best to make you happy but sometimes it can be a little bit difficult. You can’t go wrong with picking your proteins first and going from there!
I look forward to checking out what the other local restaurants have to offer. I will be featuring Helen’s, The Hing Garden, SkyWalkers Bar and Grill, Pats Pizza, and even Subway and McDonald’s. I hope you will come back and check it out!! Like my Product Pop-Ups – I was not asked by The Bluebird to write this feature. I simply want show what options we have available in our little community that will allow you to stay on track and enjoy an afternoon or evening out. It’s fun to go out and enjoy every once and awhile!!
If you want to check out The Bluebird Ranch Family Restaurant – you can find it at 78 Main Street right here in Machias. Check you their Facebook page for their daily specials here.