My Top Picks for "Fast Casual" Meals
Having 2-4 go-to food spots where you can still get really high quality, easily trackable meals while on the go is all part of turning this style of eating into a lifestyle so today I'm sharing my favorite places to grab a high quality "fast casual" meal. I'm choosing these particular places based on the criteria of size/volume, cost, quality, and convenience. I'm also going to provide you my go-to order at each place and why it's a top choice for me personally.
My all time favorite spot is the Flame Broiler If you know me personally you know my infatuation with this place. It is everything I want when it comes to a meal, it's quick, super cost efficient (~$8), almost 48 grams of protein, and relatively low on the fat side. I could literally eat at this place every single day, and I actually have in the past. My go-to order is the "Half & Half Bowl" which is chicken, steak, steamed vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, carrots) and either white or brown rice. I most often order white rice, especially if it's in my training window. They have macros available for all of their menu available online so you can recreate it as a custom recipe in Cronometer. If you're a Gold level Cronometer subscriber send me a DM/email and I can share my custom, accurate recipe with you!
Next up is Chipotle! Locations nationwide is a mega plus, it's pretty quick (except for the lunch rush), it's really basic ingredients and you have tons of options for building it just how you want it. Portions are also really decent for cost. They already have reported numbers in Cronometer which is rad too! My standard order is the burrito bowl. Brown rice (bit more fiber) for the base, black beans (extra protein bump from beans), and ask for the fajita veggies! Usually chicken, sometimes steak depending on the last time I had red meat, pico de gallo, hot salsa, corn salsa, and some lettuce at the end. The goal for me here is add as many options to increase my vegetable intake. Typically these are travel or days spent on the road so I don't have my normal access to vegetables or food quality. No I don't get cheese or guac. I'm lactose intolerant (cheese) and I mostly follow a lower fat diet so fats are usually ancillaries or omega-3 specific sources.
Up next on this short list is Luna Grill. Luna Grill is a fresh Mediterranean style food spot that serves legit sized portions. It's not quite as fast as Flame Broiler or Chipotle but definitely not a regular sit down restaurant either. Your food is definitely made to order. My go-to order is the Bistro Fillet Plate or the Chicken Kabob Plate. Typically just depends on how much fat I'm working with! This meal is on the larger side and heavier on carbohydrate so it's great as a pre or post workout meal. Look at all them vegetables! Decent protein serving, tons of rice and some pita bread, some vegetables and a side salad.
Wrapping up my list of favorite spots to grab a high quality meal on the go is Urban Plates. The food at Urban Plates really places an emphasis on taste and the food is honestly pretty damn good. The "Plate" is the move here. They have a few proteins options to pick from, asparagus or Brussels sprouts are my picks for greens, then red skin potatoes or their rainbow carrots and golden beets for the starches I like. My go-to order is the either the grilled free range chicken or grilled albacore, roasted Brussels sprouts, and roasted rosemary potatoes. Plus a piece of garlic bread for good measure. Of course they have a full breakdown of nutritional information available via their website. I have my go-to order created as a custom recipe on Cronometer, I suggest you do the same for repeat visits! This meal isn't the most macro friendly on my list as it is definitely higher in fat compared to the others on my list so you'll have to plan the rest of your day accordingly!