10 of the Healthiest Lunches Around DC

A roundup of some of most nutritious lunch options the city has to offer.

By: Jazelle Hunt

One of the perks of being a Washingtonian is the luxury of lunch choices—you can find something to sate almost any craving. If the clock is creeping toward lunchtime and you’re not quite sure what you want, we’ve compiled a handy little guide to healthy lunches nearby that might help you make your decision. Check out a few of our past picks below.

SALADS

Sweetgreen’s Curry Gold: This well-rounded option offers healthy fats from almonds, a good amount of carbs for fuel, and satiating fiber. This option is just 395 calories, 12 grams of fat (only 1.5 saturated), 650 milligrams, and 27 grams of protein. It also features nutrient-rich beets and cranberries.

Chop’t’s Palm Beach: In addition to lean protein from shrimp, the salad packs exceptional “choppings” such as hearts of palm and avocado. And with 12 grams of fiber, it can carry you all the way to dinner.

SANDWICHES

Taylor Gourmet’s Christian Street: With portobello mushrooms, arugula, roasted red peppers, and goat cheese, this sandwich is as good for you as it sounds, and tasty, too. And if you swap the goat cheese for hummus, it’s cholesterol-free.

Busboys and Poets’ falafel sandwich: Falafel is deep-fried, but there are enough wholesome toppings to make this sandwich acceptable. The low-fat hummus, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and yogurt-based tahini sauce on a whole-wheat pita give you lots of nutrition and flavor for little calories, sodium, and fat.

WRAPS

Pret a Manger’s Spicy shrimp and cilantro wrap: With its snack-worthy 290 calories and hefty 22 grams of protein, you’ll get a filling meal and still have room for a treat later.

Juice Joint’s Firecracker salmon wrap: Seared spicy Atlantic salmon, lettuce, tomato, and mango salsa make for a tasty, simple lunch. Our nutritionist gave it a thumbs up for its mix of protein, fiber, fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates. The mango salsa is low-calorie, has lots of vitamin C, and gives great flavor without added calories excess sodium.

SOUPS

Au Bon Pain’s low-calorie soups: Another nutritionist says of the low-cal soup menu: “Any of the low-fat soups are good options. You could have a small serving as a side with half a sandwich, or get a large and have it as the main course.” Au Bon Pain carries 19 low-fat soups (although not all are served every day at every location), and many come in at well under 200 calories in medium-size portions. Try the high-fiber lentil- or bean-based soups to feel full longer.

Potbelly’s garden vegetable soup: With just 103 calories and no fat, a bowl of this veggie-loaded soup is practically sin-free. The soup is made with tomatoes, potatoes, navy beans, red peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms. A cup has just 69 calories.

PIZZA

Pizzeria Paradiso’s Siciliana: Paradiso’s standard round Siciliana pizza piles on veggies and herbs, including zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers, capers, and oregano. Although it includes two fatty cheeses (pecorino and mozzarella), it also has more vegetable toppings than any other pizza at Paradiso. And if you enjoy it on a whole wheat crust, it’s one of the pizzeria’s most well-rounded meals.

Pete’s Apizza’s the Green: This verdant pie boasts sautéed spinach, slow-roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives, and antioxidant-rich artichoke hearts.