The Healthiest Things to Eat at Reading Terminal Market

Despite all the doughnuts, it IS possible to eat a healthy meal at Reading Terminal Market.

Photograph by Flickr/Paul Narvaez

Reading Terminal Market, while a true Philadelphia landmark, can be overwhelming. There’s so many vendors crammed into the place, so many delicious food smells commingling in the air, and so many tourists standing around, wide-eyed.

It’d be easy to assume there’s nothing healthy to eat at Reading Terminal Market. There’s so much other stuff to enjoy (Doughnuts! Mac and cheese! DiNic’s!) that it can be a real challenge for a health-minded person. (Though to be honest, if you’re starving when you arrive, we couldn’t blame you for just going to whatever vendor’s closest, asking for a heaping pile of steaming, sauce-covered, carb-laden goodness and digging in.)

If you’re up for the challenge, it is possible to find a healthy meal at Reading Terminal Market. To uncovered these hidden dietary gems, we asked Two Hungry Work Wives’ registered dietitians Liz Smith and Melissa Bailey to meet us at the market to help us pick out the healthiest things to eat. Here’s what they came up with.

Turkey Wraps at The Original Turkey

Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

Not only are these thick, juicy slices of turkey pretty delicious, they’re actually a pretty great lean protein-packed meal option. Smith and Bailey recommend getting the Texas Griller wrap — which will have fewer carbohydrates than meal on sandwich bread. You can skip the cheese to make it a little healthier, and pro tip: always, always ask for sauces on the side.

Photographs by Caroline Cunningham.

Not feeling a wrap? Smith and Bailey say the small Lunch Box option isn’t bad either — just swap those mashed potatoes and corn for some of their other veggie side options, like green beans.

Salads at Molly Malloy’s

Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

Smith and Bailey are fans of all of the salads at Molly Malloy’s, with the exception of the Caesar salad. They recommend adding grilled chicken to any of the salads for added protein. Not a salad person? The avocado toast is also a win at Molly Malloy’s for nice dose of healthy fats.

Steamed Rice and Veggie Platters at Sang Kee Peking Duck

Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

Feeling in the mood for some Chinese food? At Sang Kee, Smith and Bailey say you can make a healthy meal out of the steamed rice and vegetable platters or the shrimp or chicken with broccoli. For sides, the steamed chicken dumplings are a safe bet, as is the vegetable soup. Just watch out for anything that’s fried on the menu — and as always, ask for sauces on the side.

Veggie Combo Platter at Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties

Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

If Middle Eastern meals are more your style, Kamal’s has an awesome option in their veggie combo platter. Bailey and Smith say they’d order three items in the combo — either the lentil soup, hummus, and tabouleh, or the falafel, hummus, and grape leaves. If you’re feeling a little lighter, you can also opt for a simple Greek salad. For a snack, the juice bar at Kamal’s makes it easy to whip up something healthy: cucumber, ginger, and lemon would all combine to make a great juice.

Naked Burrito at 12th Street Cantina

Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

Smith and Bailey recommend taking a pass on the tortillas at 12th Street Cantina and instead opting to go burrito bowl-style with the “Naked” burrito. Start off by asking for half the typical amount of rice, then top it with chicken, black beans, pico de gallo, pickled onions, cilantro, and guacamole. With protein, fiber, carbs, and fat, you’ll be getting in a little bit of everything you need.

Greek Rustic Salad at Olympia Gyro

Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

The Greek Rustic salad at this Mediterranean eatery is a dietitian’s dream: quinoa, chickpeas, onion, tomato, and feta cheese. You can add grilled chicken on top if you’re in dire need of some protein as well. Alternatively, go for the classic Greek salad with grilled chicken, and the stuffed grape leaves as a tasty side.

Turkey Reuben at Hershel’s East Side Deli

Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

If you simply can’t handle going to Reading Terminal Market and leaving without a sandwich, Smith and Bailey suggest going to Hershel’s East Side Deli and asking for turkey, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut on their seeded rye bread, with Russian dressing on the side. It’s kind of like a reuben, only healthier. But since the sandwiches tend to be large, make a pact with yourself only to eat half in one sitting — otherwise just ask the makers to include half the normal amounts of ingredients on your sandwich.

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