If you’re anything like us, you’re almost always on the go. That can make eating healthy really tough. After all, fast food joints aren’t exactly known for their hefty portions of veggies.
Luckily, we’re not the only ones who want to avoid junk food when eating out. These days, there are a ton of healthy fast-casual restaurants around the country serving delicious, good-for-you food to busy people (like us).
We’ve rounded up the best spots so you can eat healthy even if you have a super hectic schedule. That means you’ll have more time for a run or the gym (and less Taco Bell meat sweats). Sounds like a win-win to us!
Love salads but hate how they never fill you up? Yeah — you need sweetgreen. Here, you dig into one of their signature grain bowls or salads or customize your own. sweetgreen packs all of its meals with healthy, fresh ingredients that’ll give you lasting energy. Think quinoa, wild rice, greens, shrimp, tofu, chicken, and so much more. And with restaurants in California, Washington, D.C., Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, you’re never far from your next satisfying meal.
You could easily eat a full day’s worth of healthy meals at Lyfe Kitchen and not get bored. The restaurant’s 8 locations in Illinois, Tennessee, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, and California start the day with eats like a spinach and avocado frittata and quinoa blueberry lemon pancakes. For lunch or dinner, you can nosh on salads, soups, plates, bowls, and flatbreads, many of which are vegan and/or gluten-free. Lyfe even has dessert puddings made with chia seeds!
For now, Veggie Grill only operates on the West Coast, but the fast-casual chain is planning a big expansion to the Midwest and East Coast very soon. That’s good news for our taste buds because Veggie Grill serves up some of the best vegan food we’ve ever tasted. From the hearty salads, bowls, and plates to the tempting shareable snacks, you can’t go wrong with this menu. Bonus: Many of the dishes – including some of the desserts – are gluten-free.
Bored with your same old salad? Head to Just Salad for a healthy meal that’s sure to inspire. As the name suggests, Just Salad serves, well, salads. But these salads are salads…with pizzazz (that’s not plural of pizza)! Each dish, like the Thai Chicken Crunch or the Ultimate Falafel, is packed with flavor from tasty dressings, veggies, and proteins. Don’t see anything you like? Build your own bowl at one of Just Salad’s locations in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, or Kansas.
True Food Kitchen might be the fanciest spot on this list, but it’s still casual enough – and healthy enough – to be included. True Food caters to nearly every type of eater, whether you’re a veggie lover, seafood fanatic, have a need for meat, or aren’t down with gluten. The drool-worthy menu even has hand-crafted cocktails made with fresh, seasonal ingredients (healthy for the soul, too). True Food already has restaurants on the East and West Coasts and a few places in between with many new spots planned.
With locations in 20 states, you’re never far from a Zoës Kitchen. You’ve probably heard about how the Mediterranean diet is supposed to be super healthy. Well, Zoës takes it to a whole new level with a full menu of Mediterranean delights. Start your meal with one of three kinds of hummus, then add a fresh salad, pita, or grilled sandwich. Looking for something more substantial? Zoës entrees are hearty yet healthy.
The concept behind Dig Inn is simple: You pick a base (like salad or a grain), add a protein, (like lean meat, tofu, or fish), and then pile it high with sides and toppings (pssst — then you dig in). The flavorful and filling food at Dig Inn is nourishing in the best way. It doesn’t feel too precious, yet it’s all really good for you. The restaurant is still only in a few cities, like New York and Boston, but look for more locations soon as this cozy concept takes off.
Yeah, yeah. Mediterranean diet. Healthy. We’re all over it. And at Roti Modern Mediterranean, you can chow down on all of the good-for-you eats every day. Roti is all about customization, so you start with your base of choice, rice, laffa wrap, pita, or salad. Then top it with your favorite protein, sides, toppings, and sauces to make a meal that’s all your own. Taste the Mediterranean in Illinois, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia, and New York.
Whether it’s morning, mid-day, or evening, Freshii’s got something tasty and healthy waiting for you. Start your day with one of Freshii’s hearty egg breakfasts or their signature smoothie bowl. For lunch or dinner, Freshii offers soups, salads, wraps, burritos, and bowls, all of which are packed with lean protein, veggies, and healthy carbs. Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Freshii’s juices and smoothies are sure to get you back on track. The best news? There are Freshii locations all over the U.S. – and even some abroad – making it the perfect place to eat healthy on the go.
At first glance, Noodles & Company might not seem like the healthiest spot to grab a meal. But the menu is endlessly customizable and provides a lot of nutritional guidance. This means you can eat at Noodles & Company if you’re gluten-free, calorie conscious, vegetarian/vegan, or watching your sugar or sodium intake. (Liking things in noodle-form is sort of a prerequisite though.) Pair your noodle bowl with a fresh salad at one of Noodle & Company’s more than 400 locations and you’ve got yourself a healthy, filling meal.
There are a handful of salad spots on this list, but Chopt stands out because of the unique way it serves its meals. At Chopt, you can either pick one of the salads on the menu or build your own. Once you’ve got everything you want in the salad, Chopt uses a special device to chop your salad (hence the name). This leaves you with a beautiful bowl where all the ingredients are perfectly mixed – hooray for no more dry, awful bland lettuce! Chopt has a few dozen locations up and down the East Coast for your green fix.
One of the newest trends in healthy eating is poké bowls, which hail all the way from Hawaii. The concept is simple: Fresh, raw fish (usually tuna) is sliced and served with a variety of sauces and sides. And Pokéworks is bringing the tasty trend to the mainland with its signature poké bowls. You can also customize your poké experience by having it with rice, in a burrito, or on a salad. Really, if you love sushi, you’re going to go nuts for poké. Find it at a Pokéworks in California, Washington, Illinois, New York, Texas, Virginia, or Massachusetts.
As the name suggests, The Protein Bar is all about packing its meals with the building block of life. That means you can start your day with a scramble made with whole eggs, egg whites, or turkey bacon. Later on, try one of their bowls, bar-ritos, wraps, and salads with all-natural chicken, beef, or tofu. Wash down your meal with one of the eatery’s super green drinks, cold-pressed juices, or protein-packed smoothies. The Protein Bar fuels up Chicago, Boulder, Denver, and Washington D.C.
A burger joint on a list of the healthiest fast-casual restaurants in the US? You betcha! Elevation Burger is all about serving burgers the healthy way. Elevation uses only 100% organic, grass-fed, free-range beef in its housemade patties. And if red meat isn’t your thing, you can nosh on an Elevation veggie burger or chicken sandwich. Pair your burger with the classic fries (made with heart-healthy olive oil) or get your serving of veggies with a side salad. You’ll find Elevation in Florida, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
The story behind honeygrow has a familiar ring to it. A guy starts eating healthier and is suddenly super disappointed in the options available for healthy eating on the go. But while most of us just suck it up, this guy didn’t settle. And the result is honeygrow. Its menu is loaded with fresh stir-fries and inventive salads, which feature tons of fresh fruits and veggies, plus proteins that’ll satisfy meat and veg-lovers alike. honeygrow started in Philadelphia, but has quickly expanded to the Washington, D.C. and New York City areas, with more locations on tap.
A few years ago, it seemed like frozen yogurt was taking over the world. Now, a lot of those shops have been replaced by juice bars. Hey, we’re not complaining. One of our favorites is Juice Press because it’s got great juice (duh), but also serves other healthy eats. When we’re looking for more than just a liquid lunch, we pair our juice with one of the shop’s fresh salads or soups. Drink up Juice Press in New York City, Boston, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
If you’re looking for super fresh yet filling fare, look no further than First Watch. Billing itself as “The Daytime Cafe,” the folks at First Watch start the morning by making almost everything they serve from scratch. We’re partial to the restaurant’s delicious breakfasts, especially the avocado toast (we can’t get enough) and the power bowls. But we also love stopping by for a mid-day meal; hook yourself up with a half-sandwich and soup for a lunch that fuels you up without weighing you down. And lucky for our you, First Watch has locations nationwide.
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