As we slowly ease ourselves into healthy(ish) resolutions for 2019, we’ve been fervently searching for quick to-go meals — read: desk lunches — that won’t jeopardize our new diets. There are lots of health food spots in town, and you can make a salad out of just about anything. But when we really want a healthy bite, this is what we crave:
1. Park Cafe, Local Lettuces Salad
“I rarely buy my lunch (ballin’ on a budget over here), but when I do, you better believe it’s the Local Lettuces Salad from Park Cafe. The ingredients change with the season — it’s fresh, baby — but the crisp veggies and buttery lettuce always hit the spot. You can top the salad with confit turkey or pickled shrimp and if you want to do it the right way, get the shrimp. You won’t regret it.”
2. Huriyali, cold pressed AM Cleanse juice
Made with lemon, ginger, apple cider vinegar, raw honey, ceylon cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, and filtered water, this juice may not fill you up, but it will start your day on the right foot.
3. Kairos, build your own plate
“My favorite new go-to is Kairo’s Greek Kitchen, specifically the one that opened relatively recently in West Ashley. I’m usually a Verde gal but it’s nice to switch up your salad game sometimes. Actually, Kairo’s works kind of like Verde — you build your own plate every time. You get to choose your greens, a protein (the chicken is so delish and flavorful), three spreads (hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki: hello), and all the toppings your heart desires at no extra cost (think grilled zucchini, tomato cucumber salad, pickled onions, and tabbouli).”
4. Dellz, Vitality Bowl
This huge meal will leave you with leftovers, or will serve as a guilt-free sponge when you may have indulged in too much *alcohol* the night before. It’s made with organic quinoa, black beans, and mixed bell peppers, served warm, and topped with chopped greens, fresh avocado, and Goddess dressing.
5. The Daily, Keto Cauliflower
We’ve been up to our eyeballs in the Keto fad (a newer, sexier Atkins if you ask us) and love that The Daily has a specific, delicious breakfast option that caters to our dietary whims. The “English Muffin” in this breakfast bowl is made with cauliflower and it’s topped with sautéed greens, house-made Canadian bacon, Romesco, and olive relish.
6. Basic Kitchen, Basic Bowl
We seriously can’t stay away from the Basic Bowl. And yes, we’ve tried time and again to make this seemingly simple meal at home, and it’s never quite the same. The bowl can be found on the brunch, lunch, and dinner menu and comes with brown rice, sesame kale, chickpeas, grilled broccoli, grilled sweet potatoes, chiles, and a drinkable Magic Green sauce.
7. Harbinger, Salad mix and match
The Harbinger’s vegan baked goods are divine, but when we really want to feel good about our choices, we go all in for the mix and match salad option at lunchtime. You can try a medley for under $10, and they fill your box up to the brim. The salad choices rotate daily, but we’ve enjoyed the broccoli and bleu salad, the butternut squash and black olive salad, and the new Brussels and pear with Clemson blue option. Throw a locally made Dalai Sofia Ferments kombucha on top, and you’ve got yourself one hellofa desk feast.
8. Bounty Box, home delivered goods from SC farmers
“My game, nay, life-changing secret to eating healthy AF has been cooking every day at home using produce from my weekly Bounty Box, a CSA of sorts [that partners with SC farmers] that’s delivered to my door. You can choose from different box themes, the contents of which change weekly and are all sourced from various nearby producers. I get the $23 Sprout Box full of great prep produce, and I base my meals on whatever arrives on my doorstep. It keeps things creative, fun, and very affordable.”
9. YoBo Cantina Fresca, Santa Fe salad
Can’t go wrong with this filling salad (which, pro tip, you can order from Uber Eats). Made with lettuce, grilled veggies, black bean and corn salsa, jack cheese, and avocado, we like to top ours with the grilled fish.
10. Verde, everything!
Verde, the little healthy franchise that could, recently expanded to Charlotte but their roots are still here in the Holy City, thank the green gods. We prefer to build our own salads, and with seasonal toppings like spicy broccoli and roasted apples, why wouldn’t you? If the choices overwhelm you, you cannot go wrong with the Mesa Verde (sub shrimp!).