Pants a little tight? Eyes a little droopy? Mood down in the dumps? The cure for what ails you might be on your plate. Fill it up with kale, cover it in quinoa or throw on some seared salmon at one of these 15 restaurants that serve up the healthy—and tasty—stuff, even when you're on a time crunch. Listed in alphabetical order.Read More
15 Top Fancy and Healthy Fast Food Restaurants in Chicago
Good food doesn't have to be slow food at these quick and casual spots.
There’s lots to love about Lettuce Entertain You’s quick and casual concept that not only boasts a juice and coffee bar, but also a grab-and-go market. Favorites at both the new Streeterville and original River North locations include a crispy kale salad with persimmon and pumpkin seeds as well as a three-grain salad topped with roasted chicken.
Your local farmers market moves indoors at this Pilsen juice bar. Fresh and local produce are available for purchase or can be transformed into green juice, citrus “Blaster” loaded with vitamin C and beet “Booster.” The shop also sells vegan sandwiches, veggie wraps and seasonal soups.
3. Blue Door Farm Stand
As the name suggests, farm-to-table is the game at this rustic restaurant that pulls produce and other ingredients from nearby farms. For those whose resolutions are still intact, order the smoked chicken salad on multigrain bread. If not, opt for the apple pie and bacon grilled cheese.
4. Brown Bag Seafood Co.
Whether you want your fish blacked or broiled, this seafood shop specializes in all things aquatic. Its mix-and-match menu allows guests to pick a surf or turf, including teriyaki salmon and grilled chicken, and have it served on a salad, sandwich, taco, or straight up.
5. Chicago Diner
For 32 years this restaurant has been satisfying vegetarians and meat-eaters alike with a veggie-centric interpretations of greasy spoon staples. Think country fried seitan steak, mushroom “meat” loaf, and cauliflower-kale burgers.
6. Doc B's Fresh Kitchen
The doctor is in and he’s written a prescription for quinoa salad, grilled salmon and avocado pizza to be filled on your next lunch break. Cocktails take a equally healthful approach — if you add alcohol to the food pyramid — with The "Beet"lejuice (CH gin, organic beet juice, mint and lemon) and "The Dangler" (bourbon, carrot juice and maple).
Also Featured in:
If you find yourself hungry in the Downtown area, then chances are high that a Freshii is not far away. The Toronto-based chain stakes its claim on fresh food fast with wrapped filled with vegetables, bowls overflowing with brown rice and detoxifying juices.
8. Hannah's Bretzel
Each sandwich starts with an organic pretzel roll, followed by free-range chicken or wild Alaskan salmon, lastly local white cheddar or fresh mixed greens to make every layer of this lunch good for you.
9. Harvest Juicery
Seven root juices, six green juices, five smoothies, and four nut milks add up to one very nutrient-rich assortment of drinkables. A recent addition to the menu is five-grain, six-seed bread from nearby Publican Quality Bread that can be topped with almond butter or avocado.
10. LYFE Kitchen
After Art Smith lost the lbs., he turned his attention to a casual chain serving food that fit his new, healthy lifestyle. That meant the fried chicken had to go, and was replaced with an un-fried version served alongside roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and cashew cream sauce that maxes-out at 566 calories.
The craving for slow-braised lamb and tandoori chicken leads to lines out the door during lunch as well as the recent opening of a second location in the West Loop. This Indian-inspired restaurant follows a Chipotle model with build-your-own naanwiches, rice bowls and salads.
12. Native Foods
“I can’t believe it’s seitan,” is what you might be saying after a bowl of chili, piled-high Reuben or taco salad that are all completely vegan. Cashew cheese, faux bacon and organic tempeh are used to make every item meat- and dairy-free.
13. Owen + Alchemy
This sleek juice bar is easier on the waistline than it is on the wallet. For $10-$12 a pop, you can drink your daily supply of vitamins via one of a rainbow of juices. Grab a kelp noodle salad or acai berry bowl for a more filling alternative.
14. Protein Bar
Buffalo burritos are usually on the naughty list when it comes to eating right. Unless you are eating at this protein-packed Chicago chain, then that burrito is made with vegan Buffalo sauce, all-natural chicken and organic quinoa wrapped in a whole-wheat flax tortilla with under 500 calories.
15. The Goddess And Grocer
For those who can resist the temptation of seven-layer rainbow cake, the rest of the menu items at this counter-service Chicago cafe chain are pretty safe for those counting calories. From chopped chicken salad to the magic mushroom sandwich, a satisfying lunch is only an order away.