As a college student in the food-filled Orange County, avoiding the freshman fifteen is difficult. Restaurants like Raising Cane's and Taco Bell are close to campus and hard to escape, so I explored places that taste just as great but are good for our bodies. Although Rutabegorz and Mead's Green Door Cafe are good, Chapman students are already familiar with those eateries. I found 10 lesser heard of alternatives to fast food in Orange County. 

1. Urban Cactus

If you're craving Mexican food that won't leave you feeling gluttonous and guilty, Urban Cactus is the place to go. Their menu is filled with food that is non-GMO, low in fat and sodium, and rich in fiber and calcium. Their meat (bison, beef, and chicken) is even grass-fed, hormone, and antibiotic-free. On the list of customer's favorite dishes are the Asada Burrito and Chicken Pibil Plate, so be sure to try those out. 

2. Genki Grill

While Asian fast food is mouthwatering and easy, there are a lot of options out there (cough, cough Panda Express) that aren't exactly nutritious. Genki Grill is a teriyaki restaurant that serves enticing and healthy meat and rice bowls. Their meat is cooked (not fried) fresh and skinless, and they don't use MSGs. Genki Grill is affordable, too—their mini bowls start at $4.50, and the regular sized bowls are $6.25. 

3. Greenery Natural Kitchen

Five-dollar Footlongs are tasty, but feeling clean after eating a sandwich is even more rewarding. Greenery Natural Kitchen prides themselves on their authentic, home-cooked food that you can feel good about eating. Their menu includes a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian food, but they also have healthy non-vegetarian options. A few of their unique sandwiches are the Tuna Almond, Chicken-Cashew, and Cream Cheese (with cashews, dates, arugula and tomato). 

4. Pita Grill

Pita Grill is a Mediterranean restaurant that puts a heavy emphasis on fresh food. Their items are low in sodium, don't use any preservatives and are made fresh daily. Some Mediterranean food is made with unhealthy ingredients, but not Pita Grill. They offer plates, pita sandwiches, and combination meals, as well as appetizers and salads. Customers love the Greek Salad, Shish Kabob and Mixed Shawarma Plate. Pita Grill is open 24 hours a day, so check it out to satisfy your late-night cravings!

6. Orange Tree Deli

Whatever junk food you're craving, Orange Tree Deli has a nutritious alternative. This family-owned eatery boasts a menu with a wide diversity of items such as enchiladas, hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Everything is made fresh, and the mom and pop atmosphere adds to the coziness of this healthy comfort food.

#SpoonTip: Check in on Yelp to receive your choice of a free cookie, drink or chips! 

7. Amarith Cafe

Move over, McDonald's. Amarith Cafe, located near the Children's Hospital of Orange County, is a nourishing cafe and catering company that hosts tons of fresh options. They recently upgraded all their meats to all-natural, meaning their food is free from growth hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, MSG and colorants. Customers enjoy the paninis, Berry French Toast, and croissants.

8. XA Sweet and Savory Cafe

If you're looking for new twists to some classics, try out XA Sweet and Savory Cafe. Their menu can satisfy a wide range of diets, as it includes gluten free, vegetarian and paleo options. XA Cafe makes their food with virgin olive oil and sea salt, resulting in fresh and natural products. You can try a "Xandwich" or "Xalad" or create something new by designing your own entree. The build-your-own option allows customers to choose a protein (braised beef, pork loin, tofu, etc.), sauce (chili lime, lemon basil, blacken cajun, etc.), and two sides (chicken noodle soup, roasted plantain, sweet potatoes, etc.).

9. Wok n Tandoor

Asian fusion cuisine is super in right now. For a healthier version, try Wok N Tandoor on N. Tustin Street. The Indian-Chinese restaurant has made-to-order food, and specializes in unique creations like Chicken Tikka Pizza and Masala Fries. They use fresh and sustainable ingredients for their flavorful dishes. View their full Orange menu here

10. Tru Bru Organic Coffee

To add some healthy food and caffeine to your day, visit Tru Bru. Their menu is centered around fresh and season ingredients, which ensures you'll be eating some decadent and nutritious options. Their coffee is sweet AND healthy (take that, Unicorn Frappuccino), and their chai latte is a customer favorite. Tru Bru offers vegan, gluten free, and 100% organic options for pastries, so be sure to try those out.

#SpoonTip: Enter your number on Tru Bru's Yelp page for 15% off your first order!

While it may not seem like there are an abundance of substitute fast food options near Chapman, there are definitely options. These restaurants are all located in Orange and are just a jog, bike ride or Uber away. Happy (healthy) eating!