If your anything like me, you rarley think ahead, nonetheless have time to ‘meal prep’. I’m lucky to even get to work on time these days, forget making anything healthy for lunch in the morning (I would actually LOL if that ever happened). But each day, 11:45 rolls around, and I start thinking about the best place to grab food that is good, filling, and most importantly, healthy.
Below are my top 3 healthy ‘go-to’s’ when I want to save my waistline from the typical fast food:
Aloha Poke Co
Poke bowls are all the rage these days, but what exactly is ‘Poke’?
Poke is a Hawaiian cuisine, which is essentially a sliced raw fish salad. ‘Poke’ in Hawaiian means “to section” or “to slice or cut”. The Aloha Poke Co took ‘Poke’ to a whole new level and brought along some good intentions and feelings with it (Aloha is a catch-all word of good intentions and feelings, see what I did there?).
This Chicago based company started with a small food cart in the local train stations ‘French Market’ and has since grown from coast to coast. Who wouldn’t want a little bit of Hawaii on their lunch hour?
Here’s how it works: Choose a base (mixed greens or brown/white rice), choose a ‘Poke’ (Tuna, Salmon, or Tofu), dress it up with a marinade or leave it naked, add fresh, healthy ingredients, and top if off with your sauce of choice. Too many options? Choose a pre-built option, conjured up by the pros!
This is the prefect lunch option for those of us who are on the go looking for something fresh, healthy, and easy. There are also gluten free / vegan options, something for all of us! Look out for one in your neighborhood.
This yummy establishment was started in 2007 and has a spot in most metropolitan cities. When you walk into a Sweet Green there is most definitely a line, but don’t worry, there is a well-oiled assembly line of salad makers so you won’t wait too long!
It is probably the best place in town for those of us on the go to grab a healthy salad and the best part is you can have it any way you want it. The options are endless with multiple base options and tons of ingredients and dressings. I dare you not find something that won’t tickle your palate.
I’ve listed a few genres for good measure: Choose from delicious seasonal fare, to some ‘warm bowl’ options if you need a little warmth to sooth your soul (which those of us in Chicago need in this faux spring weather), or a nice cool crunchy salad. I haven’t done the math, but I think there are enough permutations to keep you trying a new salad every day for a year!
I always hear about this ‘super food’ called Acai. Acai is a fruit that comes from a native tree in Brazil that is most closely related to a palm tree. These berries are packed with antioxidants, fiber, heart healthy fats, and are high in calcium. Well, with all those health benefits packed in 1 little berry I had to try it for myself, but where to find such a berry in lunch form?
Graze is a small smoothie shop that has 2 locations in Chicago, the Loop and River North. They are most well known for their Acai-bowls. They have 5 different types and each is better than the next. This is the perfect lunch option for the health conscious on the go. All ingredients are vegan and gluten-free.
Any of the 5 acai options are topped with ingredients that range from almond butter, to hemp seed, to agave. They might leave your mouth a little blue, but that just spices up your afternoon meeting, am I right? Graze also has a list of heart healthy smoothies that are made-to-order, stop by the River North or Loop location to grab your bowl or smoothie during your next lunch break!