Washington DC: Top 7 Healthiest Ways To Spend Your Saturday


Since October of 2009, ZocDoc has been improving healthcare access for residents of our nation’s capitol. Now who’s ready to test their mettle with our toughest Healthiest Day Challenge yet?

8:00 AM: Breakfast at Founding Farmers

Located at 1924 Pennsylvania Avenue, you’d be hard pressed to find a more patriotic breakfast spot than Founding Farmers. Pundits and politicians from both sides of the aisle frequently flock here to enjoy “true, sustainably farmed, grown and harvested American foods.” While Founding Farmers is famous for their batter-tastic take on Fried Chicken and Waffles, we recommend that you start this day with a protein-packed “Drag Through The Garden.” Consisting of pan-scrambled egg whites, spinach, roasted seasonal vegetables, and white cheddar cheese, this delectable dish will provide more than enough fuel to get you through this morning’s ambitious activities. After you polish off your second cup of Intelligentsia French Press Premium Coffee you’ll be ready to tackle…

10:00 AM: Hip Hop Dancercise at Jordin’s Paradise

Started by German-born fitness and dance instructor Rania Jaziri, Jordin’s Paradise is an exercise studio reflective of the multi-cultural background and infectious personality of its founder. You’ll be diving headfirst into Hip Hop Dancercise, “a combination of ballet and hip hop that uses stabilizing techniques that will take your body to the next level as you tighten, strengthen & lengthen your muscles.” Now that you’ve sweat through your sneakers and limbered up, are you ready for a breezy cool-down?

11:30 AM: Kayaking at Jack’s Boathouse

There’s no better place to take in DC’s iconic architecture than between the shores of the Potomac River. Dig your paddle deep into the historic currents and observe our nation’s capitol from where George Washington and Robert E. Lee gazed upon it hundreds of years ago. Jack’s Boathouse offers affordable kayak, canoe, and paddle boat rentals, perfect for solo or group excursions. The scenic, two-hour journey around Theodore Roosevelt Island towards the Lincoln Memorial will test your endurance and have your biceps glistening with patriotic perspiration. Man, breakfast was how long ago? It’s about time for…

1:30 PM: Lunch at Good Stuff Eatery

Cathy Mendelsohn and her son Spike had one goal in mind when founding the family-owned and family-operated Good Stuff Eatery: to serve nostalgic, hand-crafted, uncompromisingly delicious American comfort food made with only the highest-quality ingredients. They not only achieved their goal, but went a step further and also created the healthiest burger in the DC area. Named after our fitness-loving first lady, the Michelle Melt is a miracle served on a freshly baked Pennsylvania Dutch whole wheat bun. It all starts with a lovingly-seasoned, free range ground turkey patty, which is then topped with caramelized onions, farm fresh ruby tomatoes, and Swiss cheese. Pair it with a Greek Wedge Salad (the secret’s in the freshly snipped dill with toasted sesame seeds!) and you’ve got yourself a delicious, nutritious meal that’s sure to re-energize you for the afternoon.

2:30 PM: Bicycling Through Rock Creek Park

Founded as one of our first federal parks in 1890, Rock Creek is home to many of DC’s historic Civil War sites. Bicycling through one of the park’s well-maintained trails is a great way to enjoy a hearty workout while observing the remains of union forts and expansive battlegrounds. Rock Creek Park also has hiking tours coupled with historical lectures, as well as some lovely picnic grounds (in case you want that Michelle Melt to go!). Offering a beautiful, well-shaded alternative to the hustle and bustle of downtown DC, Rock Creek Park will be a reinvigorating breath of fresh air before you head back into the city.

4:30 PM: Yoga at Down Dog Yoga

Since their humble beginnings conducting classes in a garage, Down Dog Yoga has expanded into a much-loved DC institution spread across three locations. A heated practice specializing in “Power Vinyasa Flow,” Down Dog’s classes are guaranteed to “build strength, sculpt and and tone muscles, increase flexibility and lead you to good physical health.” The sessions are designed to challenge even the most seasoned yoga-practitioners, while also creating an atmosphere where beginners can dive in and learn at their own pace. Oh, and if you’re still not convinced, your first week of classes is free! A sweaty, simmering stretch-session with one of Down Dog’s many expert instructors is sure to leave you physically exhausted, spiritually fulfilled, and ravenously hungry.

7:00 PM: Dinner at Restaurant Nora

Founded by celebrated chef and health food champion Nora Pouillon, Restaurant Nora holds the distinguished honor of being America’s very first certified organic restaurant. Patrons (who often include politicians and environmental activists) dine on grass-fed beef, sumptuous heirloom tomatoes, and handmade goat cheese, all provided by sustainable, organic, American agriculture. Nora’s healthiest entree may be her spicy take on Asian cuisine, the Tokyo Hot Pot. Crispy tofu, shittakes, radishes, and bok choy all intermingle in a piping hot bed of soba noodles and savory miso mushroom broth. As you scrape the final crispy bits from the edges of your hot pot, you’ll find yourself reflecting on your health-packed day with both a warm belly and a replenished spirit.

8:30 PM: Congratulations!

We’re exhausted, and we haven’t even done anything yet. Is anyone in the District tough enough to actually complete our Healthiest Saturday Challenge? Let us know!

Image: Washington Monument, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from ckaiserca’s photostream.