New Year’s Resolution: The Healthiest Midtown Lunches I Can Stand To Swallow

Cosi's Signature Salad
Yes, I ate this salad… two years ago.

This is the most discouraging time of year for Midtown Lunch, because this site is all about finding good food and January is always about people pretending for a month a few weeks a few days that they’re actually going to be healthy.  That’s right… it’s New Year’s Resolution time!  Lucky for me this is my job, so I don’t have to go through the personal charade of signing up for a gym membership (and not using it) or eating salads at lunchtime (but topping those salads with dressing, cheese, and chinese crunchy things.)  Going on a diet for me would be like you deciding that you’re just not going to go to work for a few weeks.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t eat healthy sometimes… in my own special Midtown Lunch way.

So without further ado, I present to you the “healthiest” Midtown Lunches I can stand to swallow.  (Note: I clearly know nothing about eating healthy, and the views expressed in this post are probably completely wrong.  But whatever.  This is how I do “healthy”… so BACK OFF.)

Salad Style Bi Bim Bap. This is my version of “that salad you could eat 3 times a week”.  Look at all those veggies mom! And white rice isn’t fattening, right? (At least it’s not fried.)  I know the meat is pretty fatty, but there’s not much of it… just enough to actually make sure the “salad” tastes good.  Pay no attention to the gochujang (red sauce) that gets poured over the whole thing.  I don’t don’t want to know if it’s half oil, or clocks in at a zillion calories- just like you don’t want to know how fattening McDonald’s salad dressings are.  Available at Cafe Duke, Amande Cafe, Pro Hot Korean.

Baja Fresh

Baja Chicken Burrito. Don’t judge me.  I am well aware that this burrito probably teeters close to the 1000 calorie range (you may say the secret ingredient is the ginormous flour tortilla)… but it feels healthy- and that’s all that’s important in my world. Grilled chicken + cheese + pico de gallo + guacamole.  How can that be bad for you?  And, I used to eat this burrito three times a week (minimum) when I lived in L.A. and I was the thinnest I’ve ever been.  How can you argue with that?  It’s science people.  Available at Baja Fresh.


Greek Salad. I joke that I don’t eat salads… but that’s not entirely true.  I’ll eat a salad from a cart!  And the greek salad from the 100% Halal & Healthy Cart (on 55th btw. Park+Madison) is the Holy Grail.  Plus they’ll put grilled chicken on it… after all I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a vegetarian.  It’s the perfect compromise for the street obsessed fatty.  And the name guarantees it!  100% Healthy.

Kimchee Kimbap @ Woorjip

Kimbap. Sushi is pretty relatively healthy, but I always order the spicy tuna rolls (yes ladies, that’s mayo in there!) and shrimp tempura… so I’m not going to fool myself into thinking it’s good for me (the way I have with the rest of these things.)  Also, for under $10 it doesn’t always fill me up.  What’s that?  Maybe stuffing myself is more unhealty than the actual things I’m eating?  Hmmm… good point.  Although… uh… if I don’t eat a filling lunch I’ll be more likely to want a cookie or some unhealthy mid day snack.  And that’s not good!  Yeah, that’s it.  Anyway, kimbap is a great substitute.  It’s pretty much all vegetables, wrapped in rice and seaweed. What’s bad about that? And because there is no expensive fish, you can get more food for your money.  I just need to stay away from the bulgogi version.  Available at Woorijip & Pro Hot Korean.


Thai Chicken Crunch Wrap. Despite all my anti-salad rhetoric I have eaten at Just Salad once… and kind of enjoyed the Thai Chicken Crunch Wrap.  It’s served at Just Salad, so it must be healthy right?  Sure there are chinese crunchy things (even I can’t come up with something redeeming to say about those) but the chicken is grilled, and it’s jam packed with raw veggies.  Plus, I could barely taste the dressing… so either it’s healthy or they’re not putting that much on.  Available at Just Salad.

So there it is! My guide to eating “healthy” in Midtown. Oh, and before you get all “carbs are not healthy” let me remind you that Dr. Atkins is dead. And I’m not… yet. Good luck with your New Year’s Resolutions!


  • People with New Year’s Resolutions = LOL.

  • Zach, only if you knew how much calories a roll of kimbab has. Funny, when I was in korea, kimbab was one of the items ladies avoided to eat because of its calorie content. but i suppose it’s better than eating fried chicken. hehe..=p

  • E-Mo’s kimbap probably has the edge over Woorijip, esp since they make it fresh to order.

  • i dont think kimbap is unhealthy, just has a lot of rice and depends on which protein is in it.

  • Resolutions rarely work unless you got someone to tackle the same resolution with you. You also need a steady diet and daily exercise in order to make your life change. My routine usually consists of street meat and 12 oz curls. Though I am thinking about upping my “exercise.”

  • My boss’s new year’s resolution diet: sweet potatoes are healthy!

    Me: Those are fries!

    Debating ensues.

  • hungry: baby steps

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    I don’t do New Years resolutions, they never work out. Ever. If you’re gonna do something, it’s because you’re ready to change not b/c you think that you’re supposed to.

  • @Hungry- they are healthy, delicious fries!


  • This entire post is exactly why I like you.

  • cheese kimbap. yummy. :)

  • I don’t like the Cosi Signature salad. There only good item is their bread. Probably why I will inhale their overly-salty pizza – they need to stop salting it. I like salty food but that pizza is ridiculous on the sodium.

    I have an XPL lamb on pita so at least I didn’t go with the combo rice. Forget pretending to be healthy or depriving myself completely. I just need to rot at the gym again.

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