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Top 10 Best Restaurants for Clean Eating

Photo: Justin Walker

Good news! Many chain restaurants across the country are offering more health-conscious options on their menus and prioritizing ingredient sourcing. We applaud these ten restaurants for their commitment to eating clean, whether it’s eliminating artificial and processed ingredients or incorporating local, organic ingredients.

Panera
While Panera has already established itself for health-conscious food, the company is about to take things to the next level—the “No No List” includes more than 150 artificial ingredients that the company plans to banish from its menu. Nutritious breakfast options, sandwiches, salads, and plenty of fresh fruit options make Panera a solid choice for those looking to eat cleaner on the go.

Try this: Power Almond Quinoa Oatmeal
Cal: 290, Fat: 6g, Sat Fat: 1g, Sodium: 220mg

Chipotle
With endless ways to customize tacos, quesadillas, salads, or burrito bowls, we love how easy it is to create a clean ingredient combination. The company also prides itself for its recent push to completely eliminate genetically modified organism (GMO) ingredients from its menu. While research as to whether GMOs are actually harmful to humans is unclear, we still admire their push towards smarter ingredient sourcing.

Try this: Kid’s Carnitas Tacos with 2 Soft Corn Tortillas, Tomato Salsa, Lettuce & Chips
Cal: 365, Fat: 11g, Sat Fat: 3g, Sodium: 475mg

Jason’s Deli
Jason’s Deli’s menu has been free of high fructose corn syrup, MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), and trans-fat since 2008. We also applaud the deli for its devotion to organic ingredients and for offering a salad bar brimming with fresh veggies such as broccoli florets, bell peppers, mushrooms, beets, and more. We love the option to drizzle your salad with olive oil and red wine vinegar, too.

Try this: Garden fresh salad bar with mixed greens, grilled chicken breast, hard-boiled egg, organic baby carrots, zucchini stix, cucumber slices, and grape tomatoes.
Cal: 330, Fat: 13g, Sat Fat: 2.5g, Sodium: 660mg

Sweetgreen
This Washington, D.C.-based salad chain is committed to locally-sourced and honest ingredients. The menu changes seasonally, varies by region, and incorporates organic ingredients whenever possible. You can choose from a selection of salads on the menu, or create your own.

Try this: “Make Your Own” salad with organic arugula, roasted chicken, corn, tomatoes, basil, and Cucumber-Tahini Yogurt Dressing.
Cal: 315, Fat: 18.5g, Sat Fat: 2.5g, Sodium: 570mg

Pret a Manger
Pret a Manger has made its name for its selection of prepared crusty baguette sandwiches and fresh salads made daily (they donate any end-of-day leftovers to food banks), but where this popular, London-based chain really shines is in the breakfast department. Organic coffee (with organic milk), fresh fruit, oatmeal, muesli, Greek yogurt, cage-free eggs, and more make choosing a hearty cleaner breakfast a piece of cake.

Try this: Breakfast Egg & Quinoa “Pot” with hard-boiled egg, avocado, grape tomatoes, arugula, and quinoa.
Cal: 240, Fat: 14g, Sat Fat: 2.5g, Sodium: 210mg

Le Pain Quotidien
This Brussels-based bakery/restaurant, with numerous locations in Europe and the United States, specializes in tartines, or open-faced, sandwiches, whole-grain salads, fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, oatmeal, veggie frittatas, and more. LPQ bakes its bread fresh daily without preservatives, uses organic ingredients whenever possible, and has tons of options for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-sensitive folks.

Try this: Six-Vegetable Tart with a gluten-free buckwheat crust, served with artichoke and a green salad that changes seasonally—all for 360 calories.*
*Le Pain Quotidien does not publish full nutrition on their website.

Cosi
Cosi features some of the most nutritionally-sound sandwiches we’ve ever seen on a chain menu. Blame it on the fast-casual restaurant’s signature flatbread (offered in plain or multigrain), which is surprisingly low in calories, fat, and sodium, and also baked fresh in a hearth oven daily. We were also impressed by the option to substitute carrot sticks for chips as a side.

Try this: Smart Fit Salad
Cal: 381, Fat: 15g, Sat Fat: 2g, Sodium: 489mg

In-N-Out
This fast-food burger joint has attracted a cult following in the Southwest, and there’s a good reason why. In-N-Out prides itself on using additive- and preservative-free beef chuck that’s ground in-house. Despite its popularity, the chain has intentionally kept itself small to avoid compromising the quality of its ingredients. We like the no-frills menu: they offer hamburgers and cheeseburgers, for the most part. For a cleaner option, though, order off the Not-So-Secret Menu: try a burger “protein-style” to swap the bun for hand-leafed lettuce.  

Try this: “Protein-style” Hamburger with Onion
Cal: 240 cal, Fat: 17g, Sat Fat: 4g, Sodium: 370mg

Outback Steakhouse
We approve this popular steakhouse chain restaurant, because we like the way the menu is organized—by choosing from a list of proteins and veggie-centric sides, diners have complete control to create a healthy meal. Start with a grilled sirloin or filet, and pair it with grilled asparagus, steamed broccoli, or a plain baked sweet potato to create a wholesome meal.

Try this: 6 oz. Outback Special Sirloin with a sweet potato and asparagus
Cal: 603, Fat: 19g, Sat Fat: 5g, Sodium: 620mg

LYFE Kitchen
A team of former McDonald’s top executives are the geniuses behind LYFE Kitchen, a fast-casual restaurant that prides itself on sustainably-sourced, quality ingredients and nutritious, low-calorie dishes. And they really do mean that—all beef is grass-fed, and the company has banned white flour and sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and GMOs across its menu.

Try this (from the Gluten-Free menu): Art’s Grilled Chicken with roasted asparagus, cauliflower, and dijon vinaigrette
Cal: 452, Fat: 20g, Sat Fat: 2g, Sodium: 582mg