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We toured Asheville, North Carolina to find the best, most nutritious restaurants the city has to offer. Here's a unique guide to good eating and great exercise for hungry travelers.
How we did the math:
This series is meant as a fun guide to experiencing a city through the Cooking Light lens. All calculations are rough estimates and should be seen as a starting point for your own adventure.
Calorie burns were estimated using this calculator. The approximations are based on how vigorous the activity level is for a 150-pound woman—for example, a stroll around a farmers’ market was calculated at a lower burn than when we tell you to pick up the pace.
We estimated steps at an average of 2,000 steps per mile walked.
All calorie calculations for the meal selections we recommend were rough estimates based on inputting similar dishes and ingredients into this calculator.
2 of 7Photo: Courtesy of Capital at Play
Breakfast: West Asheville
Begin your day with chicken and waffles, made Asheville-style at King Daddy's Chicken & Waffle. You can order your bird fried, of course, but opt for a simple grilled breast atop a gluten-free waffle, and then pick one of nine toppings—from bananas to salted caramel.
Now you're ready for a leisurely stroll among West Asheville's hip music venues, hipper coffee shops, and artisanal specialty food purveyors, including Asheville Bee Charmer and its honey tasting bar.
Eat: 795 calories Burn: 102 calories
3 of 7Photo: Courtesy of ExploreAsheville.com
Morning: River Arts District
Make your way to the River Arts District. It's about a 2-mile hike, but you can stop along the way for a refreshment, such as one of the rotating seasonal ciders at Urban Orchard.
Keep moving until you reach the River Arts District—a cluster of former factories that now house dozens of artists in galleries mingled with shops, snacks, and, of course, a brewery.
Drink: 220 calories Burn: 306 calories
4 of 7Photo: Andrew May Photography
Lunch: Head Downtown
On the edge of the River Arts District lies All Souls Pizza, where they grind grains daily to make their crusts and bake them in a wood-fired oven. Try the roasted kale and sausage pizza with a grain salad.
Now you have the fortitude (a happy belly) and the motivation (amazing local beer) for the next leg of your journey, a 1-mile trek uphill—or hop in an Uber car—to the emerging South Slope neighborhood. Just south of downtown, this is where you'll find what seems like a new brewery opening each week. They're all great, but don't miss the Funkatorium, local fave Wicked Weed Brewing's outpost that offers on-trend sour and barrel-aged beers.
Eat: 660 calories Burn: 153 calories
5 of 7Photo: Daniel Stein/Getty Images
Afternoon: Walk It Off
You could spend the rest of your day stumbling between breweries, but we can't exactly advocate that, can we? For now, make your way downtown to the Asheville Pinball Museum, where $12 grants all-you-can-play access to decades worth of cool old machines.
Burn: 41 calories
6 of 7Photo: Peter Frank Edwards/Redux
Dinner: Small Plates Satiate
After you've worked up a hunger pummeling your pinball nemesis, stroll a half mile to seek replenishment at Cúrate, where chef Katie Button takes on Spanish tapas like sautéed spinach with apples, raisins, and toasted pine nuts; clams cooked in cider with chorizo; and chocolate mousse with hazelnut praline.
Eat: 958 calories Burn: 41 calories
7 of 7Photo: Courtesy of ExploreAsheville.com
Nightcap: An Herbal Antidote
In a town known for its booming craft beer scene, it may seem odd to end the day with a cocktail, but Asheville puts a unique spin on the typical tipple, using locally foraged herbs and traditional medicinal plants at places like Sovereign Remedies.
Still, it may be best to toast this town with their Pre-Hangover Tonic, a mix of milk thistle, turmeric, alfalfa, evening primrose, prickly pear, shatavari, and coconut water. Then you can rise heartily tomorrow and enjoy it all over again.
Drink: 45 calories Burn: 20 calories
TOTAL BURNED: 663 TOTAL EATEN: 2,678 TOTAL STEPS: 10,500 NET CALORIES: 2,015