Good news, y’all. There are healthy dining options everywhere you go in New Orleans, so if you’re on a diet and that’s keeping you from visiting, fear not. There are whole restaurants and menus with fresh, organic, reasonable items to keep you from putting on the French Quarter 15, as I like to call it.
Whichever route you choose – healthy or hearty, the list of yummy options is long and luscious.
But, hi. I’m Angie. Have we met? I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to eating while traveling. Plus I have the handy excuse of “having to try everything… for work,” a mantra that has really helped me become a better, more substantive writer. (And human.)
Wherever I go, I have to work to balance the caloric consumption with activities to counteract them. New Orleans was a great place to practice this balancing act. Check out my list of things to do in New Orleans, with a calorie-burning twist.
Did you know you can kayak in the heart of New Orleans? I didn’t until we met Sara and Sonny from Kayak-Iti-Yat, two NOLA natives with a passion for all things sustainable. Paddle tours take place on Bayou St. John, under bridges, around urban islands filled with mansions and bungalows and past interesting architecture.
You might not expect to see a ton of wildlife on a tour in such a populated area near City Park, but we saw turtles, egrets and even a timid alligator hiding out under one of the bridges. Apparently critters also enjoy living in historic neighborhoods! Some of the buildings date back to the 1700s.
Cruising around with Kayak-iti-Yat was way better than arm day at the gym, and we learned so much about the ecosystem and the history of the area from Sonny, a marine biologist. They also offer a bike tour so technically you could get a full body workout. (You know how it usually goes when I do bike tours.)
If you like to learn new dance moves before you go out on the town and bust ‘em out in ‘da club, check out Bounce Ya Brass class in Crescent Park. I know – it can be intimidating to try a new dance class. I always wonder if everyone is going to be Dancing with the Stars level or if it’ll be so basic as to be boring?
Bounce Ya Brass lived right in the sweet spot. The instructor, Shanda, teaches front line bounce moves with such enthusiasm, shouting “Love you!” in such a way to make you forget you’re sweating your booty off. The moves are repetitive enough that it doesn’t take long to catch on.
Oh, and this super fun class is free. File this under Only in NOLA! A must if you’re planning a visit to District Donuts during your visit.
After a long and leisurely lunch with multiple courses, desserts and .$25 martinis at Commander’s Palace, consider rolling yourself out for a walking tour of the Garden District. We met up with Sheila Ferran, another lovely local, for a meandering look at historic mansions, tree-lined streets and above-ground tombs in Lafayette Cemetery.
Perhaps walking around the Garden District, oggling the mansions of celebs like Sandra Bullock and John Goodman, isn’t going to eliminate large numbers of calories in the same way kayaking or dancing might, but the Garden District is just one of New Orleans’ adorably walkable neighborhoods. Even with a week to explore, you couldn’t wander them all. The French Quarter, Tremé, the Central Business District, Fauborg Marigny and the Bywater are lovely for pedestrian exploration, and even if you see just a bit of each, you’ll still be logging miles and miles on your tootsies. Bring on another beignet, y’all!
Of all the things to do in New Orleans, perhaps none was so calorie-torching as our raucous night on Frenchman Street. We didn’t have a plan and it turns out, we didn’t need one. We were drawn instantly to the jams from Hyperphlyy, my new favorite band, coming from the open windows at Vaso. What was supposed to be a quick stop turned into an all-out dance party. Just what we need to cap off a super fun trip to New Orleans.
Hours later, we realized that sometimes you need to work more than just your abs, arms and legs. Sometimes, those vocal cords need a lil stretch, too. We made our way to Kajun’s Pub for karaoke, bringing the house down with a few carefully selected show tunes. (Maybe we shut the house down. Either way.)
And that’s the tale of how I ate everything delicious in New Orleans and didn’t gain a pound.
PIN ME FOR LATER!
This post was sponsored by the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau. Opinions, food choices and editorial control, as always, remain my own.