10 Spots for a Cheap and Healthy Lunch Near Center City

Avoid work day hanger by picking up a nutritious, healthy lunch near Center City.

healthy lunch near center city

Find a healthy lunch near Center City via the list below. / Photograph by Courtney Apple / courtesy of Real Food Eatery

It’s time for lunch, and you’re starving. Where are you going to go?

Related: What 6 Philly Nutritionists Really Pack for Lunch Every Day

Thankfully, in the Center City area of Philadelphia there are a lot of choices — some of which have more healthy options than others. Here, our guide to some of the best options for a healthy lunch near Center City for the perfect midday pick-me-up.

Real Food Eatery

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207 South 16th Street, Rittenhouse; 1700 Market Street, Center City

While Real Food has also branded itself as a breakfast spot, you’re going to want to stop by here around lunchtime. This build-your-own-bowl restaurant is focused on getting you to “eat real food” is a good alternative when the Sweetgreen line is impossibly long — and the place even has its own Harvest Bowl ($8.75). It runs a little cheaper than your average salad joint: a Umami Kale Bowl (with chopped kale, brown rice, roasted broccoli with Parmesan, mushrooms, walnuts, and sesame sauce) is just $7. It now has two locations in the Center City area.

Fuel Center City


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1225 Walnut Street, Midtown Village

Fuel offers a well-rounded menu for the eater who gets bored easily. From panini to açaí bowls, teriyaki chicken ($9.95) to sweet potato risotto rice bowls ($9.95), Fuel’s offerings stay under $10. It’s also sprinkled with vegan and gluten-free options. For those trying to power up for the next workout, Fuel notes the protein content of each item. Protein-rich meals include the roasted turkey wrap and the spin dip melt, a mix of spinach, tomatoes, mozzarella, and Fuel’s house-made spinach artichoke dip.



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127 South 18th Street, Rittenhouse, and 121 South Broad Street, Midtown Village

Two words: banana whip. The famous chocolate-chip-dusted frozen banana swirl is its own argument to eat dessert first. If you’re going for a more balanced lunch, though, HipCityVeg has a variety of all-vegan options. Try its curry tofu wrap for $10.25, or the udon noodle salad, also for $10.25.

Snap Kitchen


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1901 Chestnut Street, Rittenhouse

This grab-and-go eatery offers its own meal plans: weekly subscriptions of what it calls “healthy comfort food” that you can get delivered or pick up. You can customize each plan based on what your goal is, whether you’re aiming to go paleo or try being a vegetarian. If you’re just going there to grab a meal, though, choose from salads, soups, or lunches with a twist — like the bison quinoa hash ($12.99) or the grilled kale Hoppin’ John, with kale, black beans, sweet potato, and rice ($7.99).



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110 South 16th Street, Rittenhouse, and 15 South 11th Street, Midtown Village

If you like control over your orders, Honeygrow is an ideal lunch spot. The menu is focused around custom-built salads, stir-fry bowls, and honey-drizzled fruit cups, so there’s a little something for everyone. Try the Waldorf salad — kale, quinoa, butternut squash, apples, grapes, celery, blue cheese, roasted walnuts and coconut cranberry dressing ($9.50) for fall vibes or the sesame garlic stir-fry ($11.05) if you’re craving something warm.



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924 Walnut Street, Washington Square West; 1601 Market Street, Center City; and 1821 Chestnut Street, Rittenhouse

Of course, no healthy lunch list is complete without the ever-growing chain that is Sweetgreen. (It has three locations in the Center City area alone.) Most meals here are around $10, and the bowls are filling and packed with colorful veggies. Go for the Guacamole Greens ($10.50) if you love avocado, the Hummus Tahina ($10.95) if you’re meat-free, or the Fish Taco ($11.95) for a protein boost.



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1722 Sansom Street, Rittenhouse

This fast-casual Korean joint uses natural ingredients to create veggie-packed delights, like its staple bibimbop, a bowl of mixed veggies, rice, and sauces. You can get a “cold bowl” for $9.50, or cough up an extra $2 to make it “sizzling” in a hot stone bowl. Opt for the Original Giwa (cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts, spinach, broccoli) or the Sansom Street (romaine, bean sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes) for an ode to Philly.



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1625 Sansom Street, Rittenhouse

Creamy, savory hummus is the glue that holds together the bowls at this Philly staple. Pile on the chopped salad, chicken ($13) or eggplant ($12), and dive in for a protein-filled, veggie-packed lunch that’ll leave you in a good mood all afternoon long.

Bryn & Dane’s


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834 Chestnut Street, Washington Square West

The fast-casual chain is great for those folks who have trouble making decisions. About four options in each major lunch category — bowls, wraps, and salads — and touchscreen ordering make it easy to zip in and out. The Sassy Ginger Buddha Bowl (brown rice, quinoa, broccoli, avocado, corn, cherry tomatoes, and “sassy sauce”) and the vegan Bryn Mac sandwich are top of our list right now.

Reading Terminal Market


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51 North 12th Street, Market East

If you can brave the lines, Reading Terminal has a fair amount of healthy spots. Try the salads at Molly Malloy’s (most run $11 to $13), the veggie platters at Kamal’s (about $10), or the Greek salad ($8.60) at Olympia Gyro.

Additional research by Mary Clare Fischer.

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