Healthy Restaurant Lunch Choices

Eating out at restaurants can be a fun and convenient way to socialize with friends or colleagues during lunchtime. However, it can be challenging to make healthy choices when you are not in control of the ingredients or cooking methods used in the meals. Fortunately, with a little knowledge and planning, you can still enjoy a tasty and nutritious lunch at a restaurant. In this blog, we’ll explore some healthy lunch choices you can make at 3 of the most popular lunch time restaurants.

First the basics that apply where every you choose to eat:

  • Salads are an excellent option for a healthy lunch as they are typically rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, be mindful of dressings and toppings as they can add unwanted calories and fat.
  • Vegetable-based dishes such as stir-fries or vegetable soups are also a great choice for a healthy lunch. They are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Just be cautious of dishes that are fried or cooked in heavy sauces, which can add excess calories and unhealthy fats.
  • Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues and keeping you feeling full for longer. Choose lean protein options such as grilled chicken, fish, turkey, or tofu.
  • Fried foods may be tempting, but they are typically high in calories, unhealthy fats, and sodium. Instead, choose dishes that are grilled, baked, or steamed, as these cooking methods are healthier and lower in calories.
  • Many restaurants offer large portions, which can lead to overeating and consuming excess calories. Try to choose a smaller portion or ask for a to-go box and save half of the meal for later.

Panera Bread Options

  • Strawberry Poppyseed with Chicken salad (half 170 Cal / whole 340 Cal). Chicken raised without antibiotics, romaine, mandarin oranges and fresh strawberries, blueberries and pineapple tossed in fat-free poppyseed dressing and topped with toasted pecan pieces. Check out our homemade version here!
  • Green Goddess Cobb with Chicken salad (half 280 Cal / whole 550 Cal) Chicken raised without antibiotics, arugula, romaine, kale and radicchio blend, vine-ripened tomatoes and pickled red onions tossed in freshly made Green Goddess dressing and topped with avocado, bacon and cage free hard-boiled egg.
  • Modern Greek with Quinoa salad (half 260 Cal / whole 530 Cal). Quinoa tomato sofrito blend, romaine, kale, cucumbers and kalamata olives tossed in Greek dressing and topped with feta and toasted almonds.


  • Oven-Roasted Chicken Salad: This salad is made with oven-roasted chicken, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and red onions. You can choose your dressing and add any additional veggies you like.
  • Veggie Delite Salad: This salad is made with lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, red onions, olives, and your choice of dressing. It’s a great low-calorie option and is packed with fiber and vitamins.
  • Turkey Breast Sandwich: The Turkey Breast Sandwich is a great option if you want a low-fat and protein-packed lunch. You can choose your bread (try eating only 1/2 of the bread), add extra veggies, and a fat free sauce to make it just the way you like it.

Chipotle Mexican Grill

  • Salad Bowl with Chicken: A salad bowl with chicken is a great healthy option at Chipotle. Start with a bed of lettuce and add grilled chicken, black beans, fajita veggies, and salsa for added flavor. Skip the cheese and sour cream to keep the calorie and fat content low.
  • Burrito Bowl with Steak: A burrito bowl with steak is another healthy option at Chipotle. Start with a base of brown rice and black beans, and add grilled steak, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa, and a sprinkle of cheese. Skip the sour cream and guacamole to keep the calorie and fat content in check.
  • Chicken Lifestyle Bowl: For a low carb option, a lifestyle bowl is a great choice. Start with a base of shredded lettuce and black beans, and add chicken, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa, and guacamole for healthy fats. Skip the cheese and sour cream to keep the calorie and fat content low.

With a little planning and healthier choices, you can enjoy going to lunch with your friend & coworkers and stay on track with your health goals.

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