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What an RD would order at CAVA

Written By: Gabriella Madden

Gabriella Madden is currently an Editorial Intern at MyFitnessPal. She attends Quinnipiac University and is working toward a degree in Film, Television, and Media Arts, and a double minor in Journalism and Marketing.

Expert Reviewed By: Emily Sullivan, RD

Emily Sullivan, RD is a food data curator at MyFitnessPal. She earned her bachelor's degree and completed her dietetic internship at The Ohio State University, and obtained her culinary arts degree from Johnson and Wales University. Her experience extends from nutrition research, oncology nutrition, culinary nutrition education and recipe development.

The exterior of a CAVA restaurant

If you’re always on the hunt for healthy fast-casual restaurants, or you’re just a Mediterranean food lover, chances are you’ve heard of CAVA. The chain opened their doors in 2006, and had a massive surge in popularity in 2023

Offering a variety of salads, grain bowls, and pita wraps as well as build-your-own salads and bowls and a plethora of sides and snacks (including their delicious dips), CAVA has no shortage of options. 

It’s normal to be a little overwhelmed with all the good CAVA has to offer. Trust us: you’re not alone! Whether you’re looking to spice up your regular order, try something new, or find something that fits your nutrition needs, MyFitnessPal registered dietitian Denise Hernandez has the scoop on what healthy options at CAVA an RD would order. 

Some of the healthy options at CAVA, according to an RD

1. Steak Mezze Salad

This new option is fresh off the grill (literally): CAVA debuted steak in stores on June 3rd. It’s tender and perfectly seared, paired with leafy greens, feta, red pepper hummus, and more. 

While it’s bold in taste, it’s low in calories. “This is a great option, if you’re keeping an eye on calories,” Hernandez says. “It’s only 495 calories, with about 30g of protein.” 

Additional nutrition information: Carbs: 22g, Fat: 33g, Sugar: 9g

2. Tahini Caesar Bowl

It’s exactly what it sounds like: a caesar salad, but with a tahini twist. It’s also rich with hummus, pita crisps, and grilled chicken, making it a fun take on a classic lunch. 

Hernandez likes this option for the 37g of protein. It’s simple, but delicious!

Additional nutrition information: Calories: 550, Carbs: 28g, Fat: 31g, Sugar: 6g

3. Build Your Own Salad Bowl

When building your salad bowl, there’s a few pro tips to keep in mind. 

  • Keep your own unique nutritional needs at the front of your mind.
  • Building your bowl/selecting your options before you order to see the breakdown of macros and make adjustments, if needed. 

But if Hernandez was building her own bowl, here’s how she would break it down:

  • Splendid Greens
  • Red pepper hummus
  • Grilled steak
  • Pickled onions
  • Tomato & onions
  • Cabbage slaw
  • Persian cucumbers
  • Yogurt dill dressing

The best part? “330 calories, and 40g of protein.” 

Fun fact: MyFitnessPal is the #1 food tracking and nutrition app. It’s easy to track these meals and more — try the app for free today!

Hernandez’s option is a great starting point if you’re looking for new ideas on what to order, or if you’re eating at CAVA for the first time. But feel free to make changes, add on new ingredients, or substitute foods based on your nutrition goals and needs. 

Check out our favorite tips for ordering at CAVA:

CAVA Ordering Tips (Based On Health Goals)

  • If you’re looking for nutritious options on the go: “Any entree here works!”
  • If you’re eating low-carb: “Choose a salad bowl with no pita crisps, or side of pita.”
  • If you’re eating high-protein: “Select any entree with either beef, chicken, lamb or falafel.”
  • If you’re eating low-fat: “Get dressing on the side or ask for light dressing; the lowest fat dressing is the yogurt dill!”
  • If you’re eating for weight loss: “It depends on individual calorie allowances for deficit, but generally any meal under 600 calories is a good rule of thumb.”

Dig in!

About the Authors

Meet the people behind the post

Written By: Gabriella Madden

Gabriella Madden is currently an Editorial Intern at MyFitnessPal. She attends Quinnipiac University and is working toward a degree in Film, Television, and Media Arts, and a double minor in Journalism and Marketing.

Expert Reviewed By: Emily Sullivan, RD

Emily Sullivan, RD is a food data curator at MyFitnessPal. She earned her bachelor's degree and completed her dietetic internship at The Ohio State University, and obtained her culinary arts degree from Johnson and Wales University. Her experience extends from nutrition research, oncology nutrition, culinary nutrition education and recipe development.

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