Local take-out options to support your health and satisfy your cravings
Less than 0.1% of all American restaurant meals are of ideal quality, according to a 2020 study from Tufts University. So what’s a restaurant-lover to do when trying to eat well? Search the menu for meals that are more nutrient-rich and less calorie dense, that’s what!
If you’re a fan of chicken, Mediterranean, Chinese or Mexican dishes, read on for meals at chain and local restaurants that you can feel good about ordering.
At Chick-Fil-A, the grilled chicken sandwich is a great option! The herb-marinated filet on a multigrain brioche bun is tasty and filling with a good portion of lettuce and tomato slices. The whole sandwich totals 380 calories and gives you 11 grams of fat, 44 grams of carbs and 28 grams of protein. Try it with a fruit cup (60 calories) or Greek yogurt parfait (270 calories) to add some color to the meal.
For local chicken options, head over to Guru’s Cafe in Provo to try their Asian or Mediterranean chicken salads, cilantro-lime chicken pizza and Maui Wowie or Caesar chicken wraps.
Anyone who’s been to Olive Garden knows how much self-control it takes to not fill up on breadsticks and salad before your entree even arrives. Portion size is crucial here, so consider asking for a box up front for you to put half of your entree into to eat for lunch the next day. Or consider their lunch-sized favorites. You can’t go wrong with classic spaghetti with marinara (310 calories), and the soup, salad and breadstick (400 to 520 calories) option gives you license to fill up on their famous salad because it’s part of your main meal!
To support a local business, check out Aubergine in Orem, Lehi or American Fork. They aim “to help people eat and drink only those things which will help them feel better — more vital, energetic, productive, balanced, healthy, and whole.” The restaurant features Mediterranean flavors in their filling dishes you can feel good about eating, including salads, pitas, pizzas, “nicecream” and more.
Heading to P. F. Chang’s? Try out Buddha’s Feast for a hearty vegetarian option. Baked tofu, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli and carrots give you a ton of rich nutrients at 250 calories, 26 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber. Or try the handmade shrimp dumplings (six dumplings, 310 calories). Add steamed rice (190 calories) to either meal, and you’ve got a delicious, healthy dish.
For a local Chinese option, head to Wok the Line in Pleasant Grove. You can choose a dish from their menu or put together your own bowl with your choice of a base, protein, sauce and veggies. Some options include steamed rice, fresh veggies, even sweet potato noodles! Wok the Line is a go-to place for quick, healthy lunches and dinners.
You probably know by now that salads are many restaurants’ Trojan Horse for calorie-dense goodies! So next time you head to Cafe Rio, crunch some numbers on their nutrition calculator first. A sweet pork barbacoa salad with all the usual toppings is 1815 calories, while if you switch out your meat for spicy hatch chile pork and pare down the toppings, you can knock it down to around 1200 calories and still get a ton of good protein, fiber and healthy fat.
Totonacos Mexican Grill in Spanish Fork is a local spot worth a visit. Consider trying their chicken fajitas for a flavor-packed dose of protein and veggies.
Next time you order take-out, try one of these meals! Whether you love chicken, Mediterranean, Chinese or Mexican dishes, sticking to nutrient-rich and calorie-light plates can keep your body healthy and satisfy your cravings.