The Healthiest Midtown Lunches We Can Bring Ourselves to Eat

We’re not big fans of any commitment that curbs lunchtime eating (or increases visits to the gym), but we do recognize that this is the time of the year that many people look to lose a little bit of weight.  So in the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, here are the healthiest lunches in Midtown we can bring ourselves to eat…

Falafel Platter

Last year, Chickpea (on 45th btw. Mad+Park) filled Midtown’s “I need a healthy lunch, but not salad” void in my book. Baking their falafel allows for protein-rich chickpeas (read: filling) without greasy added-on calories from frying, and their bulgar wheat is a fiber *and* protein-rich whole grain (read: very filling). Basically, if your New Year’s resolution involves a good deal of exercising, you should probably pick this up for lunch to help your body nourish itself. Just watch out for Chickpea’s add-ons; I heard a horror story over the vacation of a simple platter costing upwards of $15! -Blondie

Because the rice comes on the side, the bibimbap at Bob & Jo ($8.00) is essentially a salad, and salad is healthy, right? Obvs. This version includes lots of veggies, like bean sprouts, spinach, carrots and shiitake mushrooms over a bed of shredded lettuce (see? salad!), plus egg ribbons instead of a soft, runny egg. In an ideal world — where just a bunch a veggies would satisfy me until dinner — I would stop there, but my lack of willpower usually means adding some bulgogi or spicy chicken for an extra buck. -Rachel Goldner

When I’m feeling slightly meat-heavy and over-carbohydrated, I decide to be healthy and order fish. And the tilapia at Kwik Meal (on 45th and 6th) works wonders. It’s marinated in a mix of Bengali seasonings, then pan-fried to order. The fish ends up being meaty and tender and when it’s topped with both green chile and white sauce, you almost think you’re eating street meat. There’s even a little salad and some tender vegetables to ensure you’re doing your body some good. And you’re eating fish for goodness sake, doesn’t that cancel out all the oil? -Brian Hoffman

The Grilled Moo Yang at Rain Thai (on 53rd btw 2+3rd) is a great “healthy” way to get those Thai-Asian flavors without the greasiness of a noodle dish. It’s not a salad, but the marinated pork comes on a bed of steamed vegetables and comes with a choice of appetizer and a side of sticky rice for $10. The chili sauce wasn’t the sickly sweet chili sauce I was expecting (you know the stuff), this was vinegar based and actually very spicy. It’s a tasty meal that won’t make you feel (too) guilty, the perfect way to start off the new year. -Anna


My adventures in food often results in grimaces from my wife, who regularly suggests that I eat more healthy foods. So, when she saw my post about Nanoosh (on Mad btw. 33+34th) a while back, I was surprised at how happy she was. The hummus platters with swirls of hummus topped with meats are great, but the Nanoosh Wrap ($8.75) is my favorite. The narrow whole wheat wrap (whole wheat = healthy, right!?) is jammed tight with ground beef all the way through, so you don’t get stuck with a half a wrap with no meat and the hummus adds enough weight to fill me up. It’s so tasty that I often forget it’s sort of good for me. -Clay

Teriyaki @ Glaze

Much to Zach’s chagrin, I generally eat pretty healthy when I’m not hunting down fatty eats and sweet treats for Midtown Lunch. When I’m not in salad mode, my go-to is the chicken breast teriyaki ($8.50) from Glaze Teriyaki (on Lex btw. 54+55th), which comes with a fresh side salad and a bed of rice. Since the chicken is grilled, it’s not overly greasy or heavy, and Glaze gives you the option of brown rice instead of white. Despite all of this, it’s still an incredibly filling lunch that doesn’t skimp on flavor, won’t leave you with a food coma and it still comes under the $10 mark. Best of all worlds, in my opinion. -Chris H.

Got your own healthy (or “healthy”) lunch? Feel free to add it in the comments…


  • Jolly ranchers, guava candy and diet sunkist! It’s the best and healthiest brunch around, and comes in way under the $10 ML price limit. It keeps you energized all day. But don’t bite the candies….that can get expensive.

  • I just looked at those and I will not try any of them. The healthiest ML I eat is Whole Foods and I usually get the fried chicken. lol

    I guess falafel can be considered healthy too.

  • Skip a meal/ breakfast.
    It isn’t the end of the world.

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    Although it’s fifty cents over the $10 cap for midtownlunch, I would say Yakitori Totto is pretty great. Miso, salad, and chicken over rice for $10.50. and the people who work there are really nice.

  • I will never understand the anger towards healthy food on these forums. I enjoy fried, cheesy, fatty goodness as much as anyone once in a while, but ONLY once in a while. Why? Because it’s REALLY UNHEALTHY. So I’m thrilled when I can find a tasty, filling meal in Midtown for under $10 that also happens to be healthy. It’s a lot harder to find than the unhealthy stuff, so we should be celebrating great finds, not villifying them. Why does it have to be all or nothing for so many of you?

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