Healthy Restaurant Guide: Where to Eat in Chicago
Chicago is known for many things, but when it comes to food, deep dish pizza remains king. Although we’ll let you in on a little secret, not many Chicagoans like deep dish pizza! Especially when you’re on a diet, eating vegan, avoiding gluten or sticking to paleo. So what’s a Modern Brown Girl to do when she hits the city and is looking for a snack - while still looking like a snack?
Check out these Chicago staples that can satisfy any food cravings without compromising your diet (or morals).
1. Bad Hunter
If you’re looking for an Instagrammable yet meat-free and veggie forward dinner, this West Loop spot is the place for you! There are a few meat options to appease carnivores, but the menu is focused on seasonal veggies and herbs. They have a killer lunch, brunch, snack, dinner and dessert menu making it something for everyone!
This Uptown gem has been a neighborhood staple for over 32 years. One half of the bar acts as Tweet, a common brunch and lunch spot, and the other is the well-known gay bar, Big Chicks. The restaurant not only offers a positive and welcoming environment to all, but they also have delicious gluten-free options.
3. Jeni’s Spendid Ice Cream
Don’t the name and sweet reputation fool you, there is a dairy-free, vegan coconut milk chocolate ice cream that you can and should splurge on! It’s life-changing. Trust us on this one.
4. Yvolinas Tamales
This mother-daughter run restaurant in Pilsen is serving up creative tamales and vegetarian and vegan options! These tamales are not what you remember from childhood, they’re cooked in banana leaves to seal in moisture and frequently use quinoa, lentils, and kale.
5. Loving Heart Vegan Cafe
The name almost says it all but leaves out the most important thing - taste. This vegan cafe offers a wide variety of lunch and dinner options that won’t leave you feeling guilty. Many of their menu items are gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free and raw. The best part is that they offer Mexican soda to go along with it!
6. Native Foods
With a motto like, “go left, eat right” where can you go wrong? Find your bliss in River North and Lincoln Park with acai bowls and Baja-inspired takes on tostadas with tofu, burritos and a whole-wheat wrap called California Love. You’ll be left wondering if the Midwest is truly best or if the West Coast really does have more love. While you figure it out, be sure to try the avocado toast.
Where are your favorite healthy spots in the Windy City? Did we miss anything on our list? Share with us in the comments below!
Copy by: Michelle Rivas
Michelle is a health and wellness writer and communications director in Chicago, although many know her as The Healthy Latina. She received her undergraduate degree in Journalism from Arizona State University and her master's degree in Health Communication from DePaul University.
As a health and wellness aficionado, Michelle can frequently be found running around Chicago training for a marathon, trying new gyms and classes, and trying to perfect her grandmother's arroz con pollo recipe with cauliflower rice. She was a Hispanicize TECLA Award finalist in 2015, received the Latina Magazine 30 Under 30 Award, the Best Latina Blogger Award in 2014, and the Cosmo for Latinas Blogger Award in 2013. Read more about her adventures in healthy living at www.thehealthylatina.com.