Downtown Quick-Service Food Swaps

Sometimes we don’t have all the time in the world to grab a bite to eat.  While there is practically a McDonald’s on every street corner in downtown Chicago, your options lay far beyond the deep-fried. Today, I’m going to explore a few of my favorite quick-service restaurants that offer healthier options.


Click HERE to see a closer map of all the restaurants listed below.

Instead of going to Chipotle —>Try Protein Bar

Craving a burrito (and NOT a salad bowl)? Try out Protein Bar’s signature Bar-ritos. Offering eight different options ranging from BBQ to Green City Vegan, all Bar-ritos are wrapped in a warm tortilla and under 700 calories.

At the corner of State Street & Lake Avenue.

Instead of going to Jimmy John’s —>Try Hannah’s Bretzel

With all gourmet sandwiches under 600 calories, Hannah’s Bretzel is worth a visit if you work in the Loop. The sandwich shop offers way more than the standard turkey club. Try something different with the apple thyme brie sandwich, featuring fresh organic apple crisps.

233 N. Michigan Ave., concourse level.

Instead of Epic Burger —>Try M Burger

In terms of calories, the epic battle between the two Chicago burger joints has been won by M Burger. You can now request your burger made “salad style” which replaces your bun with a lettuce wrap. This eliminates nearly 200 calories from your daily count. If this doesn’t sound delectable to you, I promise that you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you won’t miss the bun.

5 W. Ontario St.

Instead of Lou Malnati’s —>Try Uno Pizzeria & Grill

We Chicagoans love our deep dish pizza places, but they’re not exactly catering to the calorie-conscious. However, if you find yourself among a group of pizza lovers, it would be wise to suggest Uno. While (sadly) no one has invented a low-cal deep dish, Uno offers an array of options less than 500 calories, including baked pastas, chicken dishes, sandwiches and skinny drinks.

29 E. Ohio St.

Note: Many of the dining establishments listed offer additional locations in the Chicagoland area, so be sure to check each restaurant’s website for more information.

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