There’s a statistic somewhere along the lines of “30% gym, 70% kitchen.” In other words, it’s great to be fit and work out in the gym, but the majority of being healthy has to do with nutrition. Food and workouts go together like peanut butter and jelly (really preoccupied by food if you can’t tell!).
While we should all be mindful of this advice, sometimes there’s just nothing like a post-workout mimosa. We put together a list of best food spots in Chicago’s Old Town for any situation you find yourself in – whether it’s a post-workout brunch session or a bite on the fly while commuting to work.
Please note: for any specific dietary questions or information, you should always consult a dietitian or your healthcare provider.
When you want to refuel:
As any fitness enthusiast or trainer will tell you, it’s extremely important to properly refuel after a workout. During a workout, levels of glycogen are depleted, and the protein in your muscles gets broken down too. Therefore, it’s important to restore those levels with carbs and protein. Chipotle (located at Wells and North) is an excellent nearby option for this – you can get a burrito and load it with steak, chicken or another protein of your choice, or you can get a salad for an extra dose of light and healthy veggies. Skip the dressing and load up on mild pico de gallo salsa (or if you’re a little more adventurous, one of the spicier ones).
When you want to brunch:
Sometimes you just want a mimosa after a hard sweat and that’s okay, because you’ve put in the work for it! 80 Proof on Wells is a brunch-lover’s dream. This multi-level restaurant turns into three floors of morning meal mecca and features items like seafood towers, a dessert corner, a waffle bar (made to order), a carving station, benedict & omelet station, crepe station, full Bloody Mary bar (like, an entire circular bar in the middle of the room dedicated to Bloody Marys) and a donut wall. Maybe don’t do this every weekend – but once in a while couldn’t hurt!
When you want to reward yourself:
For those times when you’re craving a treat, head over to Insomnia Cookies (located at Wells and Evergreen) to unleash your inner Cookie Monster. They have crowd favorites like Snickerdoodle, Classic with M&Ms, Double Chocolate Chunk – and they also have a vegan/gluten free chocolate chip option!
Deluxe cookie offerings include Triple Chocolate, S’mores and Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup, which, if you’re refueling after a workout might be your best option due to the (small amount and albeit sugary) protein source. But hey, you gotta restock that glycogen somehow, right?!
When you need to caffeinate:
Intelligentsia, located within Plum Market, is just a hop, skip and a jump away from FFC Old Town on Wells Street and is great for a post-workout pick-me-up. Founded in Chicago by two San Francisco transplants, the brand focuses heavily on Direct Trade practices and ensures the highest quality, responsible practices and sustainable business models for farmers. You can feel good about this coffee after a feel-good workout!
When you’ve got to make it to the office… 15 minutes ago:
Sometimes the only time you can fit in a workout is the 35 minutes between waking up late and an 8:30 AM conference call that has already been rescheduled twice. As you’ve probably picked up from the beginning of this article, eating after a workout is a very important piece of the health and nutrition puzzle. Additionally, there’s a reason they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day – it gets you ready to take on everything that comes your way.
It may not be the most ideal solution, but Dunkin Donuts is around the corner from FFC Old Town (located at Clark and Division) and offers a few breakfast sandwich options beyond the sprinkle and icing-covered variety. The veggie egg white sandwich includes spinach, red/green bell peppers and onions, along with 17 grams of protein.
When you need balance:
Got a little time to spare? Great, because you’re going to want to hang out all day at the 3 Arts Club Café (located inside Restoration Hardware at Goethe and Dearborn). You’ll achieve a zen-like state as you lounge in the airy and greenery-filled atrium – and you’ll also find balance between the coffee shop, wine bar and restaurant. Recharge, refuel and relax = the perfect post-workout formula! This is a great spot to get some work done or finish that book – but it’s also another ideal post-workout brunch spot (if the 3 floors of indulgence thing isn’t quite your scene).
Post written by FFC Contributor Megan Zink.