Healthy Options at Not-So-Healthy Nashville Hotspots

Eating clean in college can be a do-able task during the week. Salad bars, smoothie spots, and made-to-order omelettes are common on campuses. At Vanderbilt, we are fortunate enough to have both a vegetarian cafe and a quinoa bowl option on our meal plans. We have tons of healthy snacks in our munchie marts, and Whole Foods is only a short trip away. However, the problem for many healthy eaters comes when everyone wants to go out to eat. Unless your friends want to go to a vegan spot, you probably think your diet is going down the drain the second you step off campus. Have no fear, I’m here to tell you there are many ways to stay clean when you eat at the best spots in Nashville.




 Asian fusion can be tricky. There are tons of sauces, even on the seemingly-healthy dishes, such as Crispy Brussels or Miso Cauliflower. Instead of the crispy rice/spicy tuna dish, try the wasabi guac/ahi tuna, which is full of healthy fats and protein, without the mayo or fried stuff. Instead of the crispy brussels with fish oil, ask for the steamed brussels with no cheese. Most of the sushi has something fried and crispy, but the Dynamite roll is delicious. They’ll even do it with no rice. Other healthy options include most of the skewers, including the prawns, and the spicy seaweed salad.


Fido is one of the most convenient options for Vandy students, and the employees are more than happy to accommodate any changes you'd like to make to the current recipes. My personal favorite meal is the Smoked Salmon Scramble, with egg whites, no cream cheese, and substitute in sweet potatoes for hash browns. And if that’s too much of a mouthful for you, the Big Chop salad without croutons or cheese is a great vegetable-based option. Meatier dinner options include the Salmon with spicy kale (no changes needed) and the Grilled Chicken (sub sweet potatoes for bacon hash).

Burger Up

Burgers sound scary to a health-nut, but Burger Up is a favorite amongst healthy eaters. The kale salad (no cheese, no nuts) and the beet/arugula salad are both delicious. You can even add salmon or grilled chicken! The quinoa burger is also delicious but be aware of the caloric investment and keep this as a splurge.




No need to fill up on guac anymore; Bartaco now has lettuce wraps! Choose two or three of your faves. Portobello (skip the cheese), cauliflower, shrimp or mahi mahi, and chicken are great options to fulfill all of your veggie and protein needs. If you are tempted to order the corn, skip all that cheese and oil by ordering some spicy cucumbers instead.

Proper Bagel

The idea of a bagel place may be daunting, but Proper has a full case of healthy options. If you order the “trio” you can select just three of these amazing salads. There is an asian brussel slaw, roasted cauliflower, vegan veggies, and even a mayo-less balsamic tuna salad for some protein. If your hangover needs don’t include hardcore veggies, the smoked salmon toast is great if you can avoid eating the toast part!