No matter how active you are, we all know a healthy lifestyle starts in the kitchen. But let’s face it: for many of us, cooking at home isn’t always easy. Whether you don’t have the time, energy, or cooking ability, there are plenty of local spots featuring healthy menus.
These are a few of the healthiest restaurants in Charlotte.
Juices and smoothies are our favorite menu items at this plant-based restaurant that long-time Charlotteans still call “Luna’s”, but Living Kitchen also features plenty of options that can be eaten with a fork, not a straw. From fresh salads to collard-wrapped burritos to veggie burgers, this South End spot is all-vegetarian, all-organic, all-raw, and, most importantly, all-delicious. You can even enjoy dessert—sans regret—as even their sweet items are made using vegan-friendly ingredients.
When you’re hungry, but still tryin’ to be healthy, Yafo Kitchen in SouthPark and Plaza Midwood is the place to be. Blending Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors, Yafo uses real ingredients to create mouth-watering meals, including rotisserie chicken plates and salads, as well as hummus and grain bowls. While the portions are large enough take home, the flavors are so bold and delicious, you might not have any left over.
Sometimes you just want a quality salad, and for those times, we recommend visiting Chopt in Park Road Shopping Center or Blakeney. Whether you order off the menu or create your own custom craft, there’s a salad for everyone here, and it’s all deliciously good for you. With every meal made to order, and nutrition listed on the menu, this is a lunch you can always feel good about eating.
Boasting “Food with Roots”, B.GOOD strives to serve quality food that brings communities and people together. Through local food partnerships, sustainability, and seasonal menu options, B.GOOD has proven time and time again that eating well can—and should—taste good. Putting down their roots in Ballantyne, StoneCrest at Piper Glen, and Tryon visit them for smoothies, bowls, salads, and many more good-for-you menu items.
A Peruvian rotisserie joint, Viva Chicken now has locations across Charlotte, from Elizabeth and Park Road to Ballantyne and Waverly. And there’s a reason for its growing popularity. With fresh, 100% natural ingredients, Viva Chicken makes it convenient to eat well. Despite what its name implies, this spot also offers many vegetarian-friendly options, as well as signature juices that are made in-house every day. For the full experience, try each of their three house sauces.
Nestled in Dilworth, there’s a reason Fern has earned both local and national attention. From the buffalo cauliflower to their hearty Curry Burger, Fern’s handcrafted creations put a new twist on traditional vegan and vegetarian fare. Fitt Tip: they are closed on Mondays and have limited hours, so plan your visit around lunchtime.
Juice bars are having a moment in Charlotte, but what we love about Freshii is that they’re way more than just juice. Not only does their menu include grain bowls and wraps, but they even offer breakfast. Places like Freshii (in SouthPark and BB&T Center) are transforming the world of fast food with fresh ingredients and superfoods, and that’s so Freshii, and so clean.
Speaking of juice bars, have you checked out I Love Juice Bar. With multiple locations across Charlotte, including in the Park Road Shopping Center, I Love Juice Bar uses whole fruits and vegetables for menu items that are fresh, healthy, and delightful. Their juices and smoothies are both filling and refreshing, but might we suggest trying the Overnight Oats? You won’t regret it.
You’ve probably passed Bean Vegan Cuisine while driving down Independence, but honestly, this isn’t a place you’ll want to pass up again. Bean Vegan Cuisine features an all-vegan menu (duh), transforming standard vegan fare into comfort food that will have even meat-lovers drooling.
If you’ve been in Charlotte for more than a year, then The Common Market no doubt has a special place in your heart. Now that the South End location has opened again, you have three places to visit when The Common Market craving hits. Everything here is fresh, delicious, and diet-sensitive. Whether you’re meat-free, gluten-free, or just super-hungry, you’re sure to love this place just as much as we do. Plus, with its market vibes, there’s plenty to browse and explore while you wait for your order.
Breweries, food trucks, and bike sharing aren’t the only big trends in Charlotte. With a juice bar popping up in every neighborhood, it seems that we Charlotteans like to chug juice just as much as we like to chug beer. Enter: Nékter Juice Bar, shop set up next to the Harris Teeter on South Blvd. First-time visitors should try the Acai Banana Berry Bowl, which just so happens to be a customer favorite. Fitt Tip: add whey protein to make the meal extra filling.
Last, but definitely not least is Rico’s Acai, which offers—you guessed it—acai bowls. Established locally, you can find Rico’s in the 7th Street Public Market or their three food trucks parked around town. They feature a variety of menu options, all of which can be customized, but to start, try the Rainbow Bowl, which includes a little bit of all your favorite fruits, served fresh.
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, ROOTS Cafe in South End has the healthy hookup. Brunchin’ on the weekend? Set yourself up with the breakfast tacos or grain bowl. Lunch? Always a good time for a Salmon BLT. And vegans, your best bet is going to be the Bunless Veggie Burger, complete with pickled sweet peppers, baby kale, and sweet potato straws. Fitt Tip: sign up for the monthly coffee subscription; you’re going to be back there often. It’s $25 unlimited drip and $45 for all coffees (including cold brew and espresso).
Need a healthy new lunch spot that all of your co-workers will love? Check out Grabbagreen in Ballantyne and the Epicenter. Their menu is based around superfoods—think kale, avocado and acaí—and their service is fast. The Southwest Bowl with yogurt agave BBQ sauce will rival your usual lunch order at Chipotle. Pair it with a juice or smoothie and you’ll be energized and ready to handle the rest of your day.
This Ballantyne lunch and dinner hangout keeps things simple with a delicious menu of soups, salads, and wraps. Choose your favorite ingredients, and then ask for them tossed, chopped, or wrapped. Don’t know what to choose? You can’t go wrong with ordering one of the 10 Verde Signature Creations. The best part about Verde is its unique, handmade dressings like Champagne Vinaigrette, Miso-Cashew, and Sweet Tea Vinaigrette. Wash it all down with a seasonal cold-pressed juice.
This fast-casual spot serves up a fresh twist on Mediterranean classics. Build your own bowl and choose a base, up to three dips and spreads, a protein, and unlimited toppings. With all the options, there are an overwhelming 59 million possible combinations — guess that just means you’ll have to keep going back for more. Cava is now open in University City and Park Road Shopping Center.
**Updated by Elizabeth Segarra, October 2018