Flatbread pizza garnished with fresh arugula on wooden pizza board.

Salads and Smoothies: The 12 Healthiest Chain Restaurants in the US

Our lives only seem to get busier, and fast food only seems to get unhealthier, making it nearly impossible to maintain a decent diet. Fortunately, there are a few fast food chains that prioritize nutrition over speed, but they still manage to feed you quickly.

These smoothie and salad chain restaurants are wonderful alternatives to McDonald’s and Taco Bell. We won’t include hyper-regional places, like The Little Beet or Mixt, which mostly only exist in California. You can’t find the following restaurants everywhere, but they’re accessible in at least six states.

Consider hitting one of these locations the next time you need quick food that isn’t a greasy cheeseburger.


Photo of Sweetgreen organic salads and bowls.
Image Credit: Felix Mizionznikov and Shutterstock

Sweetgreen is one of the most popular salad chains in the country, offering a build-your-own-bowl style service. And this place doesn’t leave you hungry.

Its salads are massive, ensuring you fill your belly without running to McDonald’s. Indulge in meaty steak salads, miso-glazed salmon plates, veggie-loaded bowls, and more. It has locations in nearly 20 states and continues to expand.

Crisp & Green

people dining at crisp & green restaurant.
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Crisp & Green isn’t quite as popular, with fewer locations than Sweetgreen. However, the chain restaurant is in over a dozen states a this point!

Its refined menu features a wealth of creative salads, grain bowls, and fruit smoothies. We love its menu because every dish has clear inspiration, whether Greek ingredients, Italian dishes, or Mexican cuisine.

Modern Market

Flatbread pizza garnished with fresh arugula on wooden pizza board.
Image Credit: Vladislav Noseek and Shutterstock

Modern Market is another fabulous company offering healthier options than the fast food giants. However, it’s one of the more diverse spots, featuring an exciting menu. Modern Market has salads (of course), protein bowls, pizzas, sandwiches, soups, and desserts!

It’s an excellent option if some people in your group want healthy options and others want to indulge a little more. Modern Market is a small company with locations in only six states at this time.


cava restaurant sign.
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CAVA is a more well-known healthy food chain with locations in roughly half the states. It offers hearty bowls — many of which are salads — pita wraps, dips, and desserts.

While its menu is not as diverse as other options on this list, it’s popular because of its impeccable quality. The entire menu is Greek-inspired, with fresh and colorful ingredients, yummy sauces, and nutritious meals.

Just Salad

Just Salad sign is seen at one of its restaurants in New York City.
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Just Salad is a newer chain with locations in only seven states, but it’s worth mentioning. The restaurant offers salads, wraps, toasts, warm bowls, soups, and more.

The salads are easy to love, with familiar ingredients and bright flavors. Classics like cobb salad and Caesar salad are sprinkled in with more unique options, like chipotle salads and protein-packed plates.

Panera Bread

Panera bread entrance.
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Panera Bread is probably the biggest chain on this list, and while it can be a divisive location, there is no denying that it has healthy options. Aside from the fattier menu items and controversially caffeinated drinks, the restaurant offers fresh salads and healthy options that are much better than Burger King or Chick-fil-A.

Along with salads and sandwiches, it has soups, pasta, bowls, breakfast, and bakery items. Panera Bread is in 48 states, making it a go-to for those trying to eat healthier.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

tropical cafe restaurant sign.
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Tropical Smoothie Cafe is one of the most successful smoothie brands, operating in almost every US state. Of course, its most popular offerings are its smoothies and smoothie bowls, all of which are filled with fruit and flavor.

But it also has nutritious vegetable-based smoothies and bowls, helping you get all your daily servings! Beyond blended treats, Tropical Smoothie Cafe sells breakfast food, flatbreads, wraps, quesadillas, sandwiches, and salads.


Healthy pineapple, mango smoothie bowl with coconut, bananas, blueberries and granola. Above view scene on a bright background.
Image Credit: JeniFoto and Shutterstock

Pressed is a little more focused on fresh-pressed juice than smoothies and salads, but it still makes the list as one of the healthiest chain restaurants in the country. Most of its locations are limited to coastal states at this time, but it continues to franchise new locations.

In addition to selling juice, Pressed also offers smoothie bowls, soft-serve ice cream, and small snacks. It’s not the most robust or filling menu, but everything is super healthy!


jamba juice sign.
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Jamba (formerly Jamba Juice) is a huge smoothie chain with locations in nearly every state. It’s not the healthiest spot on this list, as it tends to add a lot of sugar to its smoothies, but it’s better than most fast food menus.

A smoothie and grab-and-go bakery treat from Jamba is a better lunch than a Big Mac meal. The chain offers smoothies, smoothie bowls, fresh fruit, breakfast food, bakery items, and more.

Au Bon Pain

au bon pain is coffee shop famous in Thailand.
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Au Bon Pain is a chain restaurant with a fancy feel and delicious menu options. Most of these restaurants are along the East Coast, but you can find them in 17 different states.

Au Bon Pain serves salads, sandwiches, soups, baked goods, breakfast, fresh snacks, and more. We adore the chain because of its rotating menu, which uses flavors that capture the spirit of each season.


Man and woman having business lunch at restaurant sitting at table eating two plates of fresh vegetable salad.
Image Credit: Viktoriia Hnatiuk and Shutterstock

Saladworks is a growing company with locations in roughly half of US states. However, with this mouthwatering menu and top-notch quality, we expect it’ll be everywhere soon!

Despite the name, Saladworks offers a whole lot more than salad. The company serves wraps, sandwiches, soups, grain bowls, paninis, and desserts. It makes loaded salads that are sure to fill your belly, but the other options are perfect if you want something heavier.

Nékter Juice Bar

A young smiling woman is sitting alone in a restaurant on a coffee break, using phone, having a video call, and having a juice for drink.
Image Credit: Dusan Petkovic and Shutterstock

Nékter Juice Bar is one of the most underrated chains in the US. It’s not huge, but they continue to open new locations, so maybe one will pop up in your neighborhood soon. Currently, there are Nékter Juice Bar locations in roughly half of all US states.

You can enjoy handcrafted smoothie bowls here, ranging from sweet peanut butter and chocolate combinations to tropical fruit options. And that’s not to mention their colorful and tasty smoothies, fresh juices, and wellness shots!

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