Notorious for long lines and steep prices, New York City’s restaurant scene may be intimidating and difficult to navigate at times, but the city is also home to some of the healthiest eateries out there.
If you live in the city, you’re guilty of ditching your kitchen to let someone else do all the work for you — at least occasionally. Sometimes you just don’t have the time, energy or patience to create a healthy meal at home, and that’s okay! Whatever meal you’re looking for, The Big Apple has plenty of eateries that take the waist-widening out of dining out. These spots, which are some of our favorites in the city, will let you stick to your social calendar without breaking your New Year's resolutions.
Locally sourced, plant-based ingredients are the stars of these menus, and the results are not only delicious but also healthy. In fact, the biggest problem you’ll run into with this list is choosing which spot to hit first.
All 11 New York City locations of this seasonal marketplace prove that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to eat well. For about ten bucks, you can grab a healthy, filling lunch on the go that will help you push through that dreaded afternoon slump. Their menu features lean protein options like as salmon and chicken, complex carbs like brown rice and a huge variety of seasonal veggie-filled sides. The rotating menu ensures you always get the freshest, most flavorful food on your plate. You also have the option of forgoing the traditional market plate and getting those healthy ingredients in salad or sandwich form.
This New York juice giant has been a favorite among health-conscious city dwellers and celebrities alike. They have five locations throughout the city, and just expanded beyond the boroughs to open up their first location in Boston. Liquiteria specializes in cold-pressed juices, which are packed with easy-to-digest raw vitamins, minerals and enzymes that help your body function at an optimal level. Although some may be intimidated by the New York juicing scene, Liquiteria has a fairly laid-back, upbeat and approachable feel to it, so don’t be afraid to wander inside. If you’re specifically looking to do a juice cleanse, they offer different levels based on your previous experience and access to cleanse coaches who can give you tips tailored to your specific needs and goals. If you’re looking for something a little heartier than juice, Liquiteria has a smaller selection of grab-and-go foods like shaker salads and raw desserts and superfood bowls filled with nutrient-dense superfoods.
Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit
A balanced diet means indulging in some sweet treats now and then so you never feel deprived. Chloe’s Soft Serve Fruit, located right next to Union Square, is on a mission to satisfy your sweet tooth while also avoiding “empty calories.” Set up just like a traditional ice cream shop, Chloe’s offers a variety of soft serve flavors made from only three ingredients each: real fruit, water and a touch of organic cane sugar. The desserts are free of dairy, gluten and fat, and even better, they’re all less than 90 calories per 3.5-ounce serving. Just as classic ice cream shops let you top your favorite scoops with sprinkles or crushed candies, Chloe’s offers a large bar of toppings. We're fans of the chocolate-covered chia seeds and warm peanut butter drizzle. Currently, they make 13 different flavor varieties including apple, banana, raspberry, mango and pumpkin, and some flavors trade off according to the season.
The Butcher’s Daughter
Although the title may lead you to believe otherwise, there’s no meat served here. The Butcher’s Daughter ran off and started her own meatless, dairy-free juice bar, cafe and “vegetable slaughterhouse” in the quaint neighborhood of NoLita. Rather than prepare different cuts of meat, they chop, fillet and carve fresh, locally-sourced produce into nutrient-dense, plant-based dishes for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. This vegetarian sit-down also presses fresh juices with unique ingredients such as jicama (a sweet root vegetable that looks like a turnip), fennel and thyme. But don’t worry, they ground their juices in traditional flavors you’re familiar with like apple, pineapple and grapefruit. In addition to the fresh juices and smoothies, TBD also has a small selection of beer and wine, which could persuade your more skeptical friends to join you for a healthy, balanced meal out.
This little shop features one of the best muscle-friendly, weight-loss foods out there: eggs! The Egg Shop puts the almighty egg sandwich on a pedestal and pairs the popular protein with fresh, healthy ingredients like avocado and heirloom tomatoes. While they do offer tempting buttermilk biscuits and hash browns as sides, it’s best to stick with cleaner options like the baby kale salad or smoked salmon if you're watching your diet. Aside from the sandwiches, this Soho spot also offers dishes called “cruisers,” or eggs served in a bowl. We’re big fans of their “Spandex” cruiser, which features a poached egg, miso quinoa, avocado, pickled carrot, farm greens and gluten-free tamari, because of its optimal nutrient balance. Egg and quinoa pack a hefty dose of protein while the pseudograin also offers plenty of slow-burning, energy boosting carbs. To top it all off, the healthy fats you’ll get from the avocado help you absorb your meal’s nutrients and stay satisfied long after you’ve eaten.
Uptown city slickers have it made with this uber-healthy casual cafe. Candle Cafe’s menu features all organic, vegan cuisine that helps patrons make healthier food choices. Whether you’re in the mood for a super green salad, tofu-stuffed tacos, hearty veggie burgers, or a healthier version of the classic eggplant parm, the diverse menu offers something for everyone. Their dessert list isn’t too shabby, either. We have a soft spot for their carrot cake (complete with vegan cream cheese icing), but all of their sweets are made with all organic ingredients and unprocessed sugars. They’re still desserts, but you can indulge knowing they’re the healthiest treats possible.