Nutrition

10 Healthy “Fast Food” Joints in NYC

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you have plans every night and don’t have time to cook?  That was me last week.  I really want to get back in the kitchen because I have a few good recipes that I want to post, but I haven’t had time to make them and take pictures!  And what fun is a recipe without pretty pictures?  In the meantime, I would still like to give my readers some healthy food options, so I’m telling you about my favorite healthy “fast food” options.  Yes, “fast food” can be healthy food, especially in NYC where the options seem endless! AND the best part is that all of these places have “fast food” prices (my meal is always under $10).

*Every place has vegetarian options, but only The Hummus Place and Angelica Kitchen are fully vegetarian.

** While the majority of this list is located in NYC only, I included a few chains that can be found anywhere. 

1) Chop’tchopt

Location: Multiple locations in Manhattan

Description: This is one of my favorite food places in NYC.  The premise is simple: chopped salads in a bowl or a wrap.  Chop’t has a great menu with a variety of hand crafted selections (watch out for some unhealthier options like the Chop’t Po Boy Salad).  Featuring local and seasonal ingredients, Chop’t is constantly introducing new items that you won’t find at other salad places, like kabocha squash, tempeh, and southwest roasted sweet potatoes.  The unique salad combinations are guaranteed to please, and if not, you can always create your own!

Favorite healthy item: Mexicali vegan sandwich with the Mexican goddess dressing

2) Dig Inn

Location: dig innManhattan

Description: Aptly described as “farm to counter”, Dig Inn brings farm fresh ingredients to the fast food world.  Dig Inn features a delicious variety of locally sourced vegetables and meats.  I usually get the small veggie plate, which comes with ample grains (brown rice or bulgur) and three choices of vegetables.  Some of my favorites are the cauliflower salad, roasted Brussel sprouts, and quinoa salad, but the selection varies with the seasons.  The best part is that the small veggie plate is only $5 and it’s enough for lunch or dinner!

Favorite healthy item: Veggie plate with brown rice

3) Whole Foodswhole foods

Location: Most states and multiple locations in NYC

Description: Whole Foods isn’t just a supermarket.  Each Whole Foods has a tremendous prepared food section, which includes a unique salad bar and hot food bar, a daily variety of soups, a pizza station, freshly made sushi, and other pre-packaged salads and sandwiches.  When I’m running somewhere after work, Whole Foods is my go-to for a quick healthy dinner.  And the best part is that Whole Foods lists the ingredients in the prepared food, so you know what’s in your food.

Favorite healthy item: Anything from the salad bar

4) Hummus Place

Location: East village, West Village, Upper West Side

hummus placeDescription: Obviously Hummus Place has hummus, but there’s so much more!  This Mediterranean vegetarian restaurant has both sit-down and take-out options.  The dishes are hearty and plentiful, featuring multiple hummus dishes and tons of vegetables, like a Beet salad, cauliflower, roasted eggplant, and tabouli salad.  Although it’s a vegetarian restaurant, both meat lovers and herbivores will leave here feeling satiated.

Favorite healthy item: Hummus Tahini with Whole Wheat Pita

5) Panera Bread panera bread

Location: Everywhere!

Description: I know that Panera might not come to mind when thinking of healthy food since it displays sugar covered pastries and giant loaves of bread, but there are many healthy options at Panera.  This chain has an abundance of soups, salads, and sandwiches, so it’s easy to choose a healthy option! In NY (and soon everywhere), the calories of each item are listed on the menu, so it’s easy to pick something lower in calories.  I suggest choosing something that is 500 calories or less.

Favorite healthy item: Autumn Squash Soup

6) Just Salad

Just Salad

Location: All over Manhattan

Description:  Like Chop’t, the premise of Just Salad is in its name.  It’s “Just Salad”, but with a wonderful variety.  Featuring fresh seasonal ingredients, Just Salad is a quick lunch spot with many healthy options.  Choose one of their premade salads or create your own!

Favorite Healthy Item: Hudson Valley Mix Salad (seasonal)

7) Hale and Hearty

Location: Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long IslandHale and Hearty

Description:  Sometimes a simple soup is the best lunch on a cold New York day, and Hale and Hearty is the ideal place for just that.  Many of the soups are loaded with veggies, making them hearty and healthy.  Try to stay away from fatty cream based soups, as they often contain a ton of calories.

Favorite Healthy Item: Holiday Pumpkin Bisque (seasonal)

8) Paradis To Go

Location: 114 Fourth Avenue New York, NY

 

Description:Paradis I discovered this tiny café across the street from my gym a few years ago.  This is my favorite type of place with homemade sandwiches and salads that change daily.  It’s ideal for when I want a home cooked meal but don’t have the time to make it!

Favorite Healthy Item: It changes every time!

 

Sit-down with takeout available:

9) Siggy’s Good FoodSiggys

Location: Brooklyn (DUMBO) & Manhattan (NOHO)

Description:  I was in DUMBO one rainy Saturday afternoon searching YELP for a healthy lunch spot, and I found Siggy’s.  This tiny location had a wait, but I assure you that it was worth it! The organic food tasted fresh, healthy, delicious, and like something I would make! I appreciated the abundance of vegetarian choices, as my boyfriend savored the “flavorful” burger.

Favorite Healthy Item: Greek Style Quinoa Avocado Salad

10) Angelica Kitchen

Angelica Kitchen

Location: 300 East 12th Street New York, NY 

Description:  I would venture a guess that most vegetarians/vegans in NYC know of and have visited this restaurant.  Angelica Kitchen is an organic vegan restaurant that uses fresh healthy ingredients and omits refined sugar and preservatives from their food.  Although the food contains no animal products, it doesn’t lack in flavor.  Angelica Kitchen doesn’t use any fake meat products, but instead features a variety of plant based proteins, such as tempeh, seitan, and tofu.

Favorite Healthy Item: Tempeh Reuben Sandwich

 

Are there any healthy “fast food” places that I missed?  What are your favorites?

 

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Sonali- The Foodie Physician
    December 8, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Nice list! I’ve been to a handful of these places and they were all great! Now I’m missing NYC…

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      December 9, 2014 at 12:41 am

      Thanks for reading! Yeah nyc has some pretty great healthy food. It will always be here for a visit!

  • Reply
    Bill Paetzke
    December 8, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    If anyone in the Los Angeles area wants a similar list, see:
    * Veggie Grill (http://veggiegrill.com/)
    * Tender Greens (http://www.tendergreens.com/)
    * Lemonade (http://www.lemonadela.com/)
    * Malibu Fish Grill (http://www.malibufishgrill.com/)
    * California Chicken Cafe (http://www.californiachickencafe.com/)

    (in order of vegetarian friendliness, Veggie Grill being the most, CCC being the least)

  • Reply
    Ben Cathers (@bencathers)
    December 8, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Where is Fresh + Co?? And Calista superfoods??

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      December 9, 2014 at 1:56 am

      I’ve actually never been to either, but I will have to try and amend my list! And yes, Maoz is one of my favorite treats, but the fried falafels aren’t the healthiest.

  • Reply
    Ben Cathers (@bencathers)
    December 8, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    And Maoz?? you got me hooked on that place!

  • Reply
    GiGi Eats Celebrities
    December 9, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    And now I want to visit NYC for 6 days so I can try all these places out! ha ha!

  • Reply
    Almost Getting It Together
    December 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Ooh what about Sweetgreens? Love their salads too. I would do bad things for Digg Inn!

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      December 9, 2014 at 2:15 pm

      I’ve never been! The best part about this blog post is learning of other awesome places from other bloggers. Thanks for the reco!

  • Reply
    Jessica Levinson (@jlevinsonrd)
    December 9, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Great list! I miss having all these convenient healthy options in the city. Wish they’d expand to Westchester! Definitely try Fresh & Co – it’s another great one!

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      December 9, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      You’re the second person to mention that, so I’m definitely going to have to try it. Thanks for reading and the recommendation!

  • Reply
    Strength and Sunshine
    December 9, 2014 at 2:43 pm

    Whole Foods…Always!
    The best “fast food” place here in DC is SweetGreen! I think they have a few in NYC too!

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      December 9, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      Yes! Apparently one is opening up today in NYC. I will definitely check it out. I love that other bloggers have given me such great ideas outside of my 10!

  • Reply
    alannamwaldron
    December 9, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Whole Foods is my go-to “fast food” always! The Hummus Place sounds awesome, and I’m sure I would be checking that out a lot. Thanks for sharing this awesome list – I’m moving back to NY next week!

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      December 9, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      Thanks for reading! You are going to have so many new places to try. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  • Reply
    Nina Mills
    December 10, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I was a regular frequenter of Wholefoods when I holidayed in NYC – I will be keeping this post handy in the event that I am lucky enough to get back there!!

    • Reply
      Nutrition a la Natalie
      December 10, 2014 at 3:31 pm

      Whole Foods is one of my favorite spots, since they are all over the city. But you should definitely try some others next time you’re in NYC! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    ankey15
    September 18, 2015 at 8:13 am

    They just opened a Chop’t here in Charlotte this week and I can’t wait to try it out. Especially the Mexicali sandwich you mentioned.

  • Reply
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