Part 2: 9 More Healthy "Fast Food" Joints In NYC

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Last updated on June 15th, 2021 at 09:26 am

Over a year ago, I wrote one of my most popular posts: 10 Healthy “Fast Food” Joints In NYC.  Because NYC is an ever changing city, the healthy “fast food” landscape has developed since December 2014. The restaurants in my original post are still alive and well, but the healthy “fast food” movement has grown tremendously in the past year and a half. Hence, the original post deserves a part 2.  Here are 9 MORE healthy “fast food” joints in NYC that recently sprang unto the scene.

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Roast Kitchen            Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 4.42.14 PM

Location: All over Manhattan

Description: Roast Kitchen takes the trend of healthy bowls to a whole new level.  With “seasonal veggies & greens and good-for-you grains”, most options on the menu are well-balanced and great choices for lunch and dinner. There are hot and cold bowls, and I love that everything can be served with or without meat (for us vegheads)!

Favorite Item: Moroccan Hot Bowl

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 5.52.31 PMsweetgreen

Location: Multiple states, including NYC

Description: I’m very late to jump on the sweetgreen bandwagon, and I’m sad that I’ve been missing out on it all this time. Started in 2007, this fast casual joint serves healthy food that is local and sustainable. The New York location has greens and grain bowls that feature various flavor combinations. Do yourself a favor and jump on the sweetgreen bandwagon.

Favorite Item: Spicy Sabzi

Hu KitchenScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 5.03.40 PM

Location: Upper Eat Side & Union Square

Description: This quick service joint is dedicated to serving “unequivocally delicious” food that is healthy and unprocessed. Although they don’t call themselves a “Paleo” restaurant, the menu is “unequivocally” Paleo. As a lover of whole grains, I’m not a huge supporter of the Paleo diet, but I am a lover of Hu Kitchen.  Try it out for a lighter, healthier, lunch.

Favorite Item: Anything with cauliflower rice

fresh & coScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 5.12.24 PM

Locations: All over NYC

Description: fresh&co is another fast food joint dedicated to using local, seasonal ingredients. I love that the menu include healthy breakfast and multiple vegan options.  They even have healthy collared green wraps, for anyone craving a sandwich without all the extra bread!

Favorite Item: Quinoa Burrito Bowl (it’s enough for lunch and dinner)

The Little BeetScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 5.56.22 PM

Locations: NYC, Long Island, Washington DC

Description: The Little Beet is the type of place where EVERYTHING on the menu is healthy.  You can pretty much order anything, from the breakfast, to the seasonal bowls, to the rolls and you will be served delicious vegetables, whole grains and proteins. What other fast food place serves seaweed salad?!

Favorite Item: Avocado Toast

Beyond SushiScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 5.21.26 PM

Locations: Union Square, Chelsea, Midtown

Description: This vegan sushi spot seems like an oxymoron, but it’s complete perfection. As a vegetarian, I don’t eat sushi, but I love Beyond Sushi. The combinations are strictly rice and vegetables, and they are extremely creative. Find things like kiwi, mango, pickled daikon, black rice, and enoki mushrooms in your sushi.  This place is a must try!

Favorite Item: Spicy Mang

Roti Modern MediterraneanScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 5.31.15 PM

Locations: Multiple states, with two NYC locations

Description: Roti Modern Mediterranean has take something old and made it new again: the Mediterranean Diet. Touted as one of the healthiest diets for weight maintenance and heart health, the Mediterranean diet includes staples like olive oil, fish, and tons of veggies. Roti includes all of these things on their menu in a delicious and inexpensive take-out joint.

Favorite Item: Rice Plate with all the veggies

PretScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 5.31.26 PM

Locations: New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, Europe

Description: Pret is the ultimate definition of grab & go. Everything is made that day, packaged, and sold as an on-the-go meal.  I usually grab Pret when I’m in a hurry and want something healthy, easy to carry, and affordable. Pret’s are all over the city, so you can count on finding one when you are in a pinch.

Favorite Item: Chia Pudding

Darrow’s Farm FreshScreen Shot 2016-04-18 at 5.51.09 PM

Locations: Union Square

Description: New to the scene, Darrow’s promises “clean, natural, unprocessed, sustainable, and local food”.  Darrow’s doesn’t fry their foods or use any unnatural or unnecessary ingredients. This fast casual restaurant also offers sit-down service, and the yummy menu includes many favorites, such as burgers, salads and sandwiches.  They even have a nutrition consultant!

Favorite Item: Quinoa, Amaranth, and Black Bean Burger

Did I miss any of your favorites on this list? How many of these have you tried? Let me know if the comments!


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I’m Natalie Rizzo, an NYC-based Registered Dietitian.

My mission is to help everyday athletes fuel their fitness with plants.

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