We’ve all done it: been rushed out of the house and in such a hurry forgot to grab food for lunch. Or a snack. Or we make it and leave it on our counters because we are distracted by checking Facebook as we walk out the door instead of remembering to check and see if you have everything. Or you just don’t have any groceries in the house that are good enough to make a solid meal or snack out of. It’s happened to the best of us.
To me, it used to happen all. the. time
So now you have to find a healthy grab and go eat that will give you the fuel you need and leave the heavy calories out of it. I have a few favorite places that I used to go to when I was working in Downtown Jacksonville: Panera, Hightide Burrito, Tropical Smoothie. But sometimes even those favorite places are laden with high calorie items that seem like a great idea at the time, but then leave you heavy and filled with ‘blech’ till the end of the workday.
So I did a little digging and found some places and some of their healthier options for grabbing and going at a couple of my favorite restaurants.
Panera Bread: I’m kind of obsessed with Panera. I love their food, I love their cold green tea, and I LOVE their free wifi. So when it came down finding healthy options for grab and go, I did a little research. You can find all of their nutritional facts here.
Breakfast – my favorite: My favorite sandwich for breakfast is the Egg and Cheese on Ciabatta (390 calories.) I love this sandwhich even though they don’t have gluten free bread yet. (Hey Panera! Get on that.) My second favorite breakfast is the Steel Cut Oatmeal with strawberries and pecans (extra cinnamon crunchies please, 340 calories) and I usually get it with coffee (hazelnut with 4 raw sugars and creamer). These breakfast options are not the least in calories but it’s a great start to the morning in terms of healthy. Protein, carbs, fruits, even dairy… they are all there. I usually wasn’t hungry till lunch time either.
Other low calorie options: Ham, Egg and Cheese on Whole Grain Bread (340 calories,) Power Almond Quinoa Oatmeal (290 calories,) Fruit Cup (60 calories,) Plain Bagel (290 calories,) and any of the reduced fat cream cheeses (varies between 70 and 80 calories)
Lunch/Dinner – my favorites: Lunch is a little different. Obviously if you get the FULL portion, you will end up getting way more calories than you want.. That’s why I usually get the You-Pick-2 and enjoy two items, which are given to you in half portions. My go to’s are the Chicken Cobb with Avocado Salad (half portion, 330 calories) and the Mediterranean Flat Bread (one flatbread, 310 calories.) I also like the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad (half portion, 280 calories) or the Thai Chicken Salad (half portion, 250 calories.) I won’t lie: I also LOVE their mac and cheese. It’s so good! And at 490 calories for one cup, I can add it onto a You-Pick-2 and not completely kill my diet.
Other low calorie options: Smokehouse Turkey Panini (Half portion, 360 calories,) Steak & White Cheddar Panini (Half Portion, 530 calories,) Roasted Turkey and Avocado (Half Portion, 250 calories,) Classic Grilled Cheese (half sandwich, 290 calories,) Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich (half sandwich, 220 calories,) Tuna Salad Sandwich (half sandwich, 260 calories,) Smoked Ham & Swiss Sandwich (half sandwich, 290 calories,) Tomato Mozzarella Flatbread (1 flatbread, 340 calories,) BBQ Chicken Flatbread (1 flatbread, 370 calories,) Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad (half salad, 170 calories,) Mediterranean Chicken & Quinoa Salad (half salad 290 calories,) Power Kale Caesar Salad with Chicken (half salad, 260 calories,) Classic with Chicken Salad (half salad, 150 calories,) and Asian Sesame Chicken Salad (half salad, 200 calories.)
Tropical Smoothie: This place has smoothies. Lots of them, and they are all delicious, and most of them are under 500 calories easy. You could make just a smoothie your breakfast. Or lunch. And their salads? Yum. I found their nutritional information here.
Smoothies: I’m a girl who loves her smoothies. My favorites are the Sunrise, Sunset (420 calories, 260 if splenda is used,) Island Green smoothie (380 calories,) the Kiwi Citrus Green Tea smoothie (450 calories, 290 if splenda is used,) and the Jetty Punch smoothie (330 calories, 170 if splenda is used.)
Other low-cal smoothies: Blue Lagoon (310, 150 with splenda,) Rockin Raspberry (380, 140 with splenda,) and Lean Machine (420, 170 with splenda,)
Food: I love the Thai Chicken Salad (380 calories,) has a heat to it that I adore. But really, that’s all that’s really “low calorie” from there. Most of the food at Tropical Smoothie is between 400 – 750 calories, which is fine so long as you don’t get a smoothie to go with it. But if you are anything like me, one of the joys of going into a Tropical Smoothie is getting a smoothie with your meal. And when you put a 300 calorie smoothie with a 500 calorie meal it COULD make it a little heavier than you want. So that being said, check the stats on what you are ordering before you go in if your are counting calories. If you are just wanting healthy options, well… you can’t really go wrong.
I’m not saying that you have to go to places like Panera or Tropical Smoothie to find healthy eats. There are even healthy options at fast food restaurants if you do your research. It just takes a little leg work before heading out. Or a little reminder to grab your food before you leave for the day.
What’s your favorite healthy “grab and go” eat? Share it with me in the comments! 🙂