The Best & Worst Menu Items at Sweetgreen
The salad giant has over 75 locations nationwide and has a reputation of being a healthy lunch or dinner option to grab on the go. But what salads on the Sweetgreen menu are the healthiest? Are there any that aren’t as good for you as you’d think? We asked Hillary Cecere, MS, registered dietitian of Eat Clean Bro, in order to find out for sure. "Most of Sweetgreen’s options are healthy!" she reassured us. "I love the assortment of vegetables, plant-based proteins, and healthy toppings options." Still, there are a few items on the menu you should steer clear from if you want to get the most out of your meal.
BEST: Fish Taco
"The Fish Taco warm bowl is the lowest in calories and sodium," Cecere says. "It is made with roasted steelhead trout which is a good source of vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids." Combined with the quinoa for a filling amount of protein and arugula for fiber and antioxidants, this bowl on the Sweetgreen menu is a great meal.
WORST: Hollywood Bowl
Even though they sound healthy, Cecere says the Hollywood Bowl is highest in calories, saturated fat and carbs thanks to wild rice, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. You’re better off going with a plant-based protein or tofu instead of chicken, or another option to save room for a slice of bread
BEST: Kale Cesear
You can't go wrong with this salad on the Sweetgreen menu, as it has almost the recommended daily amount of protein (46 grams for women and 56 for men) while still being the option with the lowest amount of calories. "I love that this Caesar salad uses kale instead of the typical romaine lettuce," Cecere says. "Kale is high in fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin K."
WORST: Hummus Tahina
While she labels this option as the worst of the bunch, Cecere says, "All of Sweetgreen salads are overall healthy options. Most of the salads have a good amount of fiber and protein, but the Hummus Tahina is highest in saturated fat." Watch the sodium level with this salad, as it also has over half the recommended amount.
Make Your Own
Since Sweetgreen is also the perfect place to build your dream salad, we asked Cecere to build the best, and she recommends this combination: "Any leafy green (spinach, arugula, mesclun, kale) with roasted chicken, jicama, cucumbers, shredded carrots, tomatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, cilantro, avocado, a squeeze of lime and some red pepper flakes."
Order this option, as it "has colorful veggies, healthy fats from the avocado and lean protein from the chicken. This combination provides a healthy, satisfying meal," she says. "By adding lime juice, red pepper flakes, and cilantro, it adds flavor without the extra calories. This option has under 450 calories."
Although many of the available options are good choices, watch out for this combination, Cecere says: "Organic wild rice, herb falafel, hot chickpeas, raisins, breadcrumbs, hummus, and spicy cashew dressing."
With no vegetables, it is "higher in fat and carbs," Cecere says. "This option has about 850 calories. It's missing the high volume, low-calorie veggies!"