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Lunch Break: The Healthiest and Worst Pitas and Bowls at Cava Mezze Grill
The worst option clocks in with 26 grams of fat and 1,200 milligrams of sodium.
A few weeks ago we featured 100 Very Best Restaurants pick Cava Mezze in our Lunch Break series. But many of you wanted to know: What about its sister restaurant, Cava Mezze Grill?
Cava Mezze Grill, with locations in Tysons Corner, Bethesda Row, Columbia Heights, Tenleytown, and, most recently, the Mosaic in Merrifield, offers equally delicious Mediterranean food in the form of make-your-own pitas or bowls.
The good news: “It’s really easy to make a healthy dish” here, says Allison Marco, a registered dietitian at Georgetown University. The bad: “It’s easy to get excited about all the ingredients and go overboard.”
Marco navigated the menu so that next time you head to Cava Mezze Grill, you don’t make any diet-derailing mistakes.
WORST: Pita with crazy feta cheese, lamb or grilled meatballs, and Greek vinaigrette.
At approximately 720 calories, this option is the highest in calories, fat, and saturated fat—and the lowest in important nutrients such as fiber. Marco notes that in general, starting with a pita is your first mistake. “The pita usually adds unwanted calories.”
BETTER: Bowl with tzatziki, eggplant and red peppers, chicken, lemon-herb tahini, and tomato and onion salad.
You’re better off with a bowl with chicken and lemon-tahini sauce if you’re looking to shave calories and fat, says Marco. She says this would be her pick, especially since the additional vegetables increase nutrient intake, too. But be warned: Sometimes a bowl that’s filled to the brim with toppings can be just as detrimental as ordering a pita.
BEST: Salad with any hummus, tzatziki, eggplant and red pepper, falafel, tomato and onion salad, and tomato and cucumber salad.
Even though this option contains a wealth of toppings and protein, it’s the lowest in calories and saturated fat. “Ordering the salad base gives you little calories and a little more wiggle room with the toppings,” says Marco.
Overall, Marco says Cava Mezze Grill’s customizable menu makes it easy for everyone to create a delicious and nutritious meal. But as with any restaurant of this type, have a plan before ordering so your meal doesn’t accidentally become a calorie bomb.