Hey Mer-babe! I love food, but you probably already knew that; with my love of food comes my absolute love of eating out. There is a common misconception that all restaurant food is bad for you, and that is so false. There are so many restaurants that offer clean meals even in the land of deep-dish pizza (aka Chicago). I don't mean there is one healthy thing on the menu, all of the spots I'm sharing have dedicated their culture to providing healthy options. Not only do these spots offer clean and healthy menus but they all offer amazing vegetarian and vegan options.
Below are three of my favorite destinations in Chicago for a healthy meal out. Plus I am sharing exactly what I order, because I can never quite stick to what's on the menu. 💁 Bonus points if you already know where that vegan pizza I'm eating above is from!
True Foods Kitchen
True Foods opened around Thanksgiving and I have been there every week since, except for I believe one unfortunate week where I didn't make it in. It has long been one of my favorite restaurants, it was a mandatory stop whenever we were in Phoenix or Santa Monica, so I was thirlled that True Foods was coming to Chicago. I either start with a Matcha Horchata or a Ginger Tulsi Tea depending on the time of day. The matcha horchata is perfectly sweetened, I love my matcha straight up and don't love a lot of sweetness to my teas, this drink is my favorite matcha latte in the city. For my meal I alternate between two favorites, the butternut squash pizza or the ancient grain bowl. The pizza is vegan and topped with an almond ricotta that is to die for, as a non-dairy lover like myself it is a dream. I order my pizza with no dried cranberries, just a preference, I think they are weird. The ancient grain bowl is far beyond any other grain bowl you have had before. It has the most amazing glazed sweet potatoes, and lots of veggies. True Foods has tons of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu, and almost everything can be made gluten free if you ask. They are super accommodating to allergies and willing to fit your personal dietary preferences.
Sweetgreen is another exciting and recent addition to the Chicago food scene. This is honestly the only salad I have ever had outside of my home that qualifies as a meal in my eyes. It fills me up for hours which is seriously hard to do, I could eat an entire pizza and my stomach would still be growling within three (maybe four) hours. I couldn't just order off the regular menu because that would be too simple, so I custom order a salad each time I go. I have perfected my salad by now, it has: spinach/kale (depending on my mood) and mesclun as the base, topped with portobello mushrooms, avocado, roasted sweet potato, onion, spicy broccoli, sometimes hot chickpeas (depends on the mood as well), and medium to light spicy cashew dressing. The spicy cashew dressing (vegan 🙌) is honestly life changing.
Left Coast Food and Juice
Left Coast is another healthy paradise, everything on the menu is marked from vegetarian, to vegan, to gluten free, and dairy free. It makes ordering a breeze for just about every dietary restriction. There are almost too many options at Left Coast, I have had so many different things from the acai bowl to avocado toast, but I think I have finally discovered my forever meal. The Montecito Hash is so flavorful and has the perfect yolk break factor. I order mine with no lemon yogurt or queso fresco making this meal vegetarian and dairy free. Plus they serve breakfast all day with makes Left Coast a real winner in my books, along with salads, grain bowls, and wraps.