Top Spots: Best diet-friendly restaurants in Columbus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — When you’re trying to eat healthy, going out to eat can be a struggle. Whether you’re concerned about finding vegan options, locally grown food or just finding something that’s easy to track in a calorie counting app, Columbus has many options to keep you on the right path when it comes to your diet. We asked NBC4 viewers what their favorite healthy restaurants were in the Capital City, and here’s what they said.

Northstar Café

Focusing on locally grown, certified organic food, Northstar Café is a Columbus favorite. All food on the menu is local, organic and sustainable, and many of them are naturally gluten-free. Dishes are made-to-order, and there are a ton of vegan and vegetarian options.

Acre Farm-To-Table To-Go

Much like Northstar, Acre sources ingredients from Ohio producers. The restaurant seeks to high-quality, wholesome foods accessible to everyone, and show that fast, casual food can still be good for you and the environment. Meals include whole grains, fresh produce and quality, well-seasoned meats, and all sauces are made from scratch in house.  No time to head to the restaurant? They are a featured restaurant on the Uber Eats app.

CoreLife Eatery

The CoreLife philosophy is simple: The food you eat determines how you feel, look and perform. That’s why the restaurant chain focuses on bringing clean, unprocessed, healthy food to customers every day. All ingredients are free of GMOs, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, additives and trans-fats, and chicken and steak products come from sustainably raised livestock that are never given antibiotics or hormones.

Panera Bread

Sure Panera has its fair share of menu items that will derail your diet, but the café chain has tons of low-calorie options as well. Plus, they were the first national chain to include calorie information on the menu, and they remain committed to providing ethically raised food and clean ingredients. Bonus: Most calorie tracking apps include Panera menu items.

Jason’s Deli

Love deli sandwiches but not the artificial stuff packed into most deli meat? Jason’s Deli is the place for you. All menu items are free from artificial trans-fat, processed MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, dyes, artificial colors and artificial flavors. Plus, the menu offers half, lighter portion and whole versions of most sandwiches, and it features a ton of other healthy items like wraps, vegetarian options, soups and salads.

Freshii

Want to eat sustainably and give back at the same time? Check out Freshii, a deli chain that focuses on bringing wholesome, affordable food to everyone while ensuring everything from packaging materials to dishwashers to the stores themselves are eco-friendly. Plus, Freshii donates one meal to a child in need for every item ordered from their We Feed menu. Freshii is located on Avery-Muirfield Drive in Dublin, but a new restaurant on the corner of Broad Street and High Street is coming soon.

Mazah Mediterranean Eatery

It’s no surprise that a Mediterranean restaurant is one of the healthies restaurants in the Columbus area. After all, doctors and health experts have been touting the benefits of a Mediterranean diet for years. Mazah offers a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options, and marks each item on the menu according to a specialty diet.

Cheesecake Factory

This is one you definitely wouldn’t expect to appear on a list of healthy restaurants, but as far as big chains go, Cheesecake Factory makes it easy for dieters to choose healthier options of American fare with their Skinnylicious menu. All Skinnylicious menu items are 590 calories or below and the choices are vast. Plus, they have added a “Super” Foods menu, featuring nutrient-rich food like avocado toast, kale and quinoa salad and much more. Bonus: Most calorie counting apps have Cheesecake Factory meals in their databases.

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