1. Melt Eclectic Deli: Veggie Cheesesteak
Melt is the ultimate place in the city for fresh sandwiches and healthy choices; vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike. One of Melt’s most popular dishes, the Veggie Cheesesteak, is both healthy and delicious. Made with their homemade seitan—some sort of non-meat, concocted goodness—provolone, and veggies for a sandwich from heaven. Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives recently stopped here on their quest of restaurants in the city, so yeah, it’s that good.
2. Happy Belly: Sweet Potato Burger & Avocado Chocolate Pudding
We all love a good, hearty burger, but if you need a temporary break from the greased-up sandwich, the Sweet Potato Burger at Happy Belly will satisfy your burger craving. The patty is made with baked sweet potatoes, brown rice, oats, and a few other things for flavor. Add a side of their avocado chocolate pudding for dessert — it is divine.
3. Gomez Salsa: Taco Salad
Chipotle doesn’t have anything on Gomez; eat one of their taco salads full of rice, beans, veggies, salsa, and their honey cilantro adobo vinaigrette served with tortilla chips. Best part? You order out of a window and your food is ready in no time.
4. Cilantro: Chicken Noodle Bowl
Ah yes, Vietnamese heaven right in college town. Dive into a bowl of noodles and chicken and enjoy lunch the right way. And don’t forget the freshly-squeezed lime drink, it rocks.
5. Meatball Kitchen: Vegetarian Meatball Sandwich
If only mere words could describe the greatness that is this sandwich. The meatballs are made with black beans, rice, mushrooms, walnuts, parmesan cheese, and spinach on top of their homemade focaccia bread — and you gotta add a slice of provolone. Oh, and a kale salad. You’ll never look at meatballs the same way again after one bite of the sandwich. Best part about Meatball Kitchen? They sell beer, wine, and cocktails too — and not to mention their cupcakes. Cupcakes are something we can all agree on.
6. Park + Vine: GLT & Pasta Salad
Goetta, the signature dish of Cincinnati, gets a vegan makeover. Don’t be scared, this goetta, lettuce, and tomato sandwich has meat eaters lunching on the regular. And don’t skip the pasta salad ’cause it’s perfect.
7. Total Juice Plus: Greek Salad Wrap
Obviously, a bottle of blended greens is healthy for you, and Total Juice Plus has your choices of fruits and veggies to juice. If you aren’t up for the whole drinking a green juice daily, their smoothies are some of the best in the city. They’ve got our favorite—the Greek Salad Wrap. Grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, seasonings, feta cheese, and kalamata olives. It’s an awesome lunch if you’re on-the-go.
8. Coffee Emporium: Black Bean Burger
Coffee Emporium is the epicenter of OTR with a great lunch menu. The Black Bean Burger gives the feel of a beef patty, but with a little healthier twist. Plus, a little chocolate surprise comes with your meal. Get it to go or sit outside on a nice day when going back to the office is the last thing you want to do.
9. Pho Lang Thang: Bun Chay
A bowl of noodles, veggies, and fried tofu have never tasted this good. The Bun Chay is a heaping bowl, and it’s great. Okay, the tofu part might make you think twice, but the crunchy outside mashes together perfectly with the noodles and veggies. Order the salad rolls for a little extra treat.
10. Bakersfield: Johnny Salad
Now, avid health nuts might deem this salad unhealthy, but by our standards it totally fits the bill. Chicken, bacon, black beans, tomatoes, corn, cheese, and a buttermilk dressing. Oh yes!
11. Green Dog Cafe: Grilled Salmon Wrap & Fries
As if the lemon hummus and the GD fries with honey curry mayonnaise and tomato banana ketchup didn’t win you over, the Grilled Salmon Wrap sure will. A wrap stuffed with grilled salmon, dill goat cheese spread, black beans, and cucumber salad. It’s the perfect combination for lunch. And if you aren’t in the mood for a wrap, most everything on the menu is healthy and will hit the spot.
12. Kitchen 452: Tabbouleh
The Tabbouleh at Kitchen 452 is a refreshing, healthy side to your meal with tomatoes and parsley. Be adventurous while checking out the up-and-coming district on Woodburn Ave. with the tabbouleh and a Banh Mi salad — so delicious!
13. York Street Cafe: Soup & Salad
York Street Cafe has awesome soups and salads to pair for lunch. Whether you’re choosing the Greek Salad or the Caesar Salad paired with Chicken and Rice soup or other soups of the day — you’ll never leave unsatisfied.
Do you have a go-to meal when you’re on a health kick? Let us know what it is — we are always looking for food to forgive our late-night pizza runs.