While the fast food of your past might have involved burgers, fries and a heap of grease, a new age of fast-eating chains is upon us, featuring on-the-go grub that’s fresher than ever. Next time your jam-packed schedule doesn’t allow time for a homemade meal, keep these eight innovative chains in mind. They’re changing the game and proving it’s possible to eat healthy on the run. Here are just a few of our favorites:
If you’re looking to eat healthy, chances are a salad is in your near future. While prepackaged grab-and-go salads are inevitably wilted, this D.C.-based chain (pictured above) creates your salad on the spot with fresh-as-can-be ingredients that are as local as it gets. Instead of settling on another sad kale salad, dig into the Spicy Sazbi, a good-for-you mix of baby spinach, shredded kale, quinoa, broccoli, carrots, raw beets, basil, sprouts, roasted tofu that’s dressed with a carrot-chile vinaigrette, and Sriracha. Visit one of the outposts in Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania or Virginia, and don’t be surprised when you start craving salads for lunch.
Cutting out meat from your diet? Consider yourself lucky if you have a Veggie Grill in your area. With a menu revolving around plant-based foods, it couldn’t be easier to have a satisfying meatless meal. Veggie Grill places ingredients like tempeh, soybean-wheat-pea proteins and supergrains on a pedestal, creating meals that are bound to fill you up. When you visit the chain’s locations in California, Oregon and Washington, go for one of the Indian-inspired Bombay bowls, loaded with kale, cannellini beans, coconut milk, almonds, hemp seeds and cilantro-green curry sauce.
Calorie counters, rejoice! Each and every dish coming out of LYFE Kitchen clocks in at 600 calories or less. The innovative chain was spearheaded by Oprah’s past Personal Chef Art Smith and her vegan consulting chef, Tal Ronnen, so you know it’s gotta be good. If you find yourself in California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada or Texas, make a point to try LYFE Kitchen’s hearty yet wholesome dishes, including roasted mushroom and goat cheese flatbreads, spinach and avocado frittatas, and responsible desserts like the banana budino (with only 240 calories!).