These are my top 6 picks for chain restaurants that are transparent about their ingredients and have placed an emphasis on a nutritious menu while still providing food that tastes good (I am a major foodie, after all). They all may have a few menu items that would not be considered healthy, but as compared to other chains, their ratio is more like 80/20 healthy/unhealthy rather than 20/80. It's also nice to have these in my back pocket when I'm traveling and want to plan to have meals that are healthy while on the go.
They started in Wilmington, NC and now have 40+ locations throughout the US. Their menu includes pre-packaged meals with labeled macros that you can take to go, paleo fudge, sandwiches, protein smoothies, and several delicious salads. If you like to keep it simple, you can build your own bowl with just fresh veggies and a protein of your choice. My favorite menu item is the Good For You Nachos made with sweet potatoes (pictured above)! They have locations in both Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
They now operate in over 18 states after getting their start in California. They specialize in superfood Acai bowls, and other menu items include smoothies, fresh juices, soups, salads, and panini. All items on the menu are made fresh to order in a kitchen designed to avoid cross-contamination of common food allergens. No fillers such as ice, frozen yogurt, added sugar or artificial preservatives are used. I love their juices and the fruit bowls that include the vibrantly pink Dragonfruit! They have locations in Greensboro and Clemmons.
They have over 50 locations across the US. Build your own bowl type of concept with good salads and bone broth bowls. They are free of GMOs, trans fats, artificial colors, sweeteners, and other artificial additives. I like the diversity of both raw and cooked ingredients they offer as building blocks for your meal and the fact that they encourage an active lifestyle. They have a location in Greensboro.
Mediterranean based chain that is ubiquitous all over the US at this point. I like that they list all the nutrition and allergen information for their menu items on their website. They acquired Zoe's Kitchen and they have a passion for substance AND flavor. I love their "Create your own" model where you can customize salads, grain bowls, pitas, or rice bowls with all kinds of dips, spreads, vegetables and proteins. They have a location in Greensboro.
Easy to find in most states, this restaurant specializes in simple, fresh ingredients and allows you to build your own burrito, taco, salad or burrito bowl. My favorite thing to order is a chicken bowl with cilantro lime rice that is to die for. It's nice to be able to see them cooking the ingredients and chopping the vegetables right in front of you. They also now offer bowls that cater to the keto, paleo, and Whole30 diets. Just remember, guac is extra (but worth it). They have multiple locations in the Triad.
Currently has 13 locations in Utah, NC, and Delaware, with plans to expand. They specialize in Peruvian rotisserie chicken which is incredibly tender and packed with flavor. They have a wide variety of sides including plantains, yucca, fresh fruit, and quinoa, but my favorites are Peruvian rice and corn salad. I also love their drink chicha morada, which is made out of purple corn and has savory spices like cinnamon in it! Definitely try their sauces! They have locations in Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
Please share your favorite healthy restaurant chains in the comments. I'm always looking for new options to explore!