We visited Panera, Chipotle, Wendy’s, and McDonald’s to find out the healthiest vegan option on the menu! Need help making sure you’re eating a balanced vegan diet? Request a complimentary consultation with a TNT provider and ask about our personalized meal plans.
#1- Ten Vegetable Soup:
Only 100 calories and packed with colorful carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, and more. It has 0 g of saturated fat and 15 g of carbohydrates. 5 g of protein and 4 g of fiber will keep you feeling full!
This soup does contain yeast, a single-celled fungus. Some vegans do not eat yeast. It is also high in sodium at 1090 mg.
- #2- Mediterranean Bowl: customize- no yogurt, no feta cheese to make it vegan. This dish is higher in protein (20 g) but saltier (1230 mg). Our suggestion would be to leave out the olives and use the dressing and hummus sparingly.
- #3- Baja bowl: customize- no yogurt, no feta cheese to make it vegan. This dish is higher in protein (19 g) but also higher in sodium (1200 mg). Try the salsa verde on the side and use it sparingly.
- #4- Greek Salad: customize- no feta to make it vegan. It’s mid-range calorie-wise but has only 9 g of protein and 1120 mg of sodium. Ask for less olives, and pepperoncini to make it low sodium. The Greek dressing is vegan, but to reduce fat and sodium try putting it on the side and use it sparingly.
- Note about sandwiches: Some of their sandwich breads contain honey, butter, milk, and/or eggs, including white whole grain, tomato basil, brioche, and white miche. The focaccia, ciabatta, classic sourdough, sourdough bowl, French baguette, are all vegan, if you don’t mind the yeast.
Since Chipotle is customizable, we compared our vegan choices for building a burrito bowl:
Protein- Pinto Beans or Black Beans?
Either one! They are just about identical in calories, macros, and sodium.
Grains- Cauliflower Rice, Brown Rice, or White Rice?
Choose cauliflower rice if you want less calories and more fiber.
Brown rice: Choose this one if you want less sodium and don’t mind the extra carbs.
White rice: not a lot of benefit here, unless you’re having tummy troubles and want less fiber. The white rice is much higher in sodium, carbs, and fat.
Vegetables- Fajita Vegetables or Romaine lettuce?
They’re both good choices! The fajita veggies have more salt, but they also have a bunch of vitamins and minerals. The romaine lettuce is very low in calories. Both have no fat.
Salsa- Tomatillo green-chili, Tomatillo red-chili, fresh tomato, or roasted chili-corn?
Tomatillo green-chili salsa is the lowest calorie and lowest sodium salsa available at Chipotle.
The roasted chili-corn salsa is the second runner up in sodium. However, it has more calories simply because it has beans (protein) and corn (carbs) in it.
Toppings- Guacamole, Queso, Cheese, or Sour Cream?
Cheese or guac..depending on what you need. If you’re trying to boost your calcium and add less calories to your bowl, then the Monterey Jack Cheese would be best. The guacamole is higher calorie but has less saturated fat.
#1-Southwest Salad with a Baked potato- customize no cheese, chicken, or bacon on the salad. So, what you’d have is romaine, tomatoes, spring mix, and avocado. You could add salsa. We just wish there were more vegan protein options available.
Other Vegan Options:
- #2-Summer Strawberry salad- customize no chicken, almonds, or bacon. The vinaigrette that comes with it is vegan. So, what you’d end up with is a salad with romaine, strawberries, and spring mix. You could ask for avocado to make it more filling.
- #3- Apple Pecan- customize no chicken, blue cheese, or pecans. You’d have romaine, apple bits, spring mix, and dried cranberries. The pomegranate vinaigrette dressing is vegan. You could ask for avocado to make it more filling.
- #4- Taco salad- This one is higher in calories. Customize no cheese, chili, or sour cream. You’d have romaine, tomatoes, salsa, taco chips, and avocado.
- Wendy’s does have vegan French fries.
- Apple Bites and Strawberries are available as sides.
#1- Fruit & Maple Oatmeal Bowl- customize no cream. We recommend taking the apples but leave the raisins and cranberries to lower the sugar.
Other Vegan Options:
- Apple slices
- Their French fries are not vegan.
Which restaurant is best?
Overall, Chipotle was the easiest place to visit to get a customizable vegan meal. We could even get a little choosy between the ingredients! Panera was second-best, but we had to make customizations to the original menu. The wide selection of yummy breads available at Panera is very helpful. Wendy’s and McDonald’s were not very vegan-friendly, though we did find options at both.