When you’re on the go and want to grab a quick bite to eat, there are many fast food restaurants to choose from. However, healthy options may not be quite as easy to find.
A burger or sub sandwich with a side of French fries or chips plus a soda can satisfy those hunger pangs, but the amount of fat and sugar in the meal is not exactly good for the waistline.
But in fairness, fast food is moving in a lighter and greener direction as customers seek more health-conscious choices. Here are some fast-casual restaurants offering express meals packed with healthy, nutritious ingredients.
Pret A Manger
The first Pret A Manger branch on China’s mainland opened in the K11 Art Mall last year. Founded in London in 1986, the British chain has more than 350 stores worldwide.
It’s an ideal place for healthy quick eats — just grab the desired items and check out at the register to go or sit in.
Pret A Manger emphasizes on using natural and fresh ingredients without additives or preservatives, offering sandwiches, baguettes, wraps and salads as well as the organic coffee.
A star dish on the menu is crayfish avocado salad, made with a generous portion of shelled wild crayfish and avocado on salad, with lemon juice, black pepper with Dijon dressing.
Hot wraps like jalapeno chicken and Pret’s meatball as well as sandwiches like Scottish smoked salmon, wild crayfish and rocket or Pret’s Superclub are also worth the try.
The sandwiches and salads also come in half-size portions for those with smaller appetites. Soup options, priced at 35 yuan (US$5.6) rotate throughout the week.
Dessert choices include fruit salad cup, chocolate mousse, lemon cheesecake and yoghurt cups.
Average per person: 70 yuan
Address: L107, K11 Art Mall, 300 Huaihai Rd M.
Debuting in January 2013, Sproutworks has two outlets in Shanghai, with two more opening soon.
Offering a bright, airy vibe, Sproutworks is best-known for its sides, offering colorful and creative combinations — including kale, mango and pumpkin seeds, Brussels sprouts, hazelnuts, lemon, Parmesan cheese and anchovy, mixed beets, blue cheese, cranberries and candied pecans.
Sides are priced at two for 25 yuan (US$4), four for 45 yuan and six for 65 yuan.
And if you want to add some protein to the meal, chicken, cod, pork and chili soft tofu are 20 yuan per serving.
The menu also offers fresh-tossed salads, including southwest salad, Mediterranean spinach salad and California Asian salad, priced at 35 yuan for half and 50 for full portions, as well as gourmet panini sandwiches and soup.
Homemade desserts, such as chia seed pudding, and fresh smoothies and juices provide equally healthy options to complete the meal.
Sproutworks menu changes frequently, and will showcase seasonal vegetables and ingredients.
Each branch has its own menu options too.
Delivery is available for orders of 100 yuan and more.
The Xintiandi branch is also a good destination for weekend brunch.
Average per person: 80 yuan
• 185 Madang Rd
• B2-06-07, Super Brand Mall, 168 Lujiazui Rd W.
Urban Soup Kitchen
A fast casual restaurant with four branches in Shanghai, Urban Soup Kitchen offers more than gourmet soups. Its menu also includes a variety of fresh and healthy salads and sandwiches, as well as pasta and breakfasts.
Every week the soup menu has six selections and rotates every two weeks. Choices include chicken noodle, spicy German sausage, minestrone, beef goulash, tomato garlic and more. All soups come with a chunk of French baguette or a serving of jasmine rice.
Classic dishes like chicken Caesar wrap, BLT, smoked salmon salad are also popular.
Urban Soup Kitchen uses fresh ingredients and makes the food from scratch. It also offers a delivery service daily from 11am to 9:15pm.