When you’re searching for nutritious meals at Champaign-Urbana restaurants, you have numerous healthy options (beyond just ordering a salad)
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Healthy eating is a term that gets thrown around in a lot of different ways and certainly is relative to each person’s own dietary preferences. At Chambanamoms.com, we love sharing local food with you and we’re often asked on our Facebook page for recommendations on where to find healthy meals. We’re happy to bring you a list of restaurants offering dishes that, generally speaking, would strike most people as healthy meals. We also want this list to branch out beyond where to find the best salads in town, though salads are often a healthy choice.
As part of a healthy lifestyle (and a healthy relationship with food), many people will enjoy a meal while dining out that they wouldn’t normally make at home (pizza or burgers, anyone?) But when you’re looking for something that is not smothered in cheese sauce or loaded with sugar, we bring you the following list. This list will include references to meals that may cross over with our “where to eat vegetarian or vegan” list, but it is meant to cover a variety of diets for our purposes.
We also understand and recognize that many Champaign-Urbana restaurants offer a couple options on their menus that would fit the “eating healthy” category. And that you can customize a dish to suit your preferences nearly anywhere you go. So keep that in mind as you read through our picks for nutritiously delicious meals.
Sun Singer is known as one of the best places in C-U to have a glass of wine accompanied by a cheese plate and some fresh bread, but we never have a hard time finding a healthy option on its menu. The specialty salads are truly amazing — and way better than any kind of salad we’d make at home. If you’re looking for something other than a salad, try the steak wrap (hold the cheese if you want), the black bean burger or chicken breast entree. Its roasted beets make a delicious side too!
Breakfast and lunch are a piece of cake (OK, not cake) when you walk into Harvest Market. Try something like the vegetable omelet for breakfast and “the pest” flatbread for lunch. Farmhouse boasts quite the impressive salad bar, too, so we know that if you’re looking for healthy options, you’ll find them at Harvest Market.
New to the C-U scene, Forage Kitchen on campus is loaded with healthful options. The greens and grains bowls sound the most intriguing (and satisfying!) on the menu, but you can’t go wrong here. Visit on the weekend when parking is more plentiful.
With two locations in Champaign-Urbana (at Broadway Food Hall and The Fields in Champaign), King Kuma offers some awesome healthy options. Sushi in general offers plenty of healthy choices, but the poke bowl concept offers a different twist on similar ingredients. The California Love or Hawaiian Heat creations are just bliss, but if those don’t sound like exactly what you’re looking for, you can create your own. Ordering is just like at the old Za’s in town was, with the paper forms when you walk in.
Don’t forget that Common Ground isn’t just a great place to purchase the grocery staples you need for cooking healthy meals at home, but that there’s a great cafe in there, too. You can never go wrong with one of its soups. Common Ground usually posts the menu online so you can see what’s available before you head in. It has an oatmeal bar, too!
Market at the Square (or Market in the Square, during winter months)
Make sure you mark your calendars for Market at the Square (May-October) and Market IN the Square during the off season. While this is different than the rest of the stops on our list, you can load up on all the fresh produce, raw local honey and homemade baked items that your heart desires. Shopping locally and simply are two of our favorite things when it comes to eating healthy, so Market at the Square will have you covered to take your items home to prepare. We do in fact love all the food trucks there, but healthy options are few and far between. If we had to pick one that stands out, Piato would be it.
As we mentioned above, nearly every restaurant will have at least an item or two on the menu that’s a healthier choice than the others. Here are some of our picks at our favorite dining establishments:
- Billy Barooz, Black Bean Burger
- Seven Saints, Salmon Salad or 4-Grain Power Bowl
- Farren’s, Black Bean Tacos, Elaine’s Salad or Strawberry Chicken Salad
- Silvercreek, Portobello Steak or “Healthy Bowl” (lunch)
- Kofusion, Bi Bim Bob (or several other stir fry options)
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