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Fast and Fit

by Jacqui Busick

Photography by Jacqui Busick

After studying for three hours in the Boston Public Library’s Hogwarts-esque room, or shopping too hard in the Prudential Center, you are inevitably going to be hungry.

Fortunately, the Copley Square area is densely populated with restaurants from fancy to fast-food. Dining decisions are hard when you don’t have the time for a sit-down and don’t have the money to spend on a salad at sweetgreen.

Three reliably healthy and fast options are Boloco, b.good and Pret a Manger. Located within two blocks of each other on Boylston Street across from Copley Square and the public library, these spots are perfect for your post-studying or post-shopping needs. All have vegetarian and vegan friendly options as well.

Boloco, thankfully, takes its job as Boston’s local burrito chain quite seriously. The familiar I-just-want-a-burrito feeling is satisfied by Boloco’s numerous make-your-own healthy creation options.

Boloco specializes in offering a range of sizes, mini to original, unseen at many fast-food or even stereotypically healthy restaurants. Order a custom mini burrito, of any cuisine or dietary preference, for a snack, or pair it with a smoothie to make a well-rounded meal. Of course, this goes both ways, and Boloco will not disappoint when you’re starving.

Grace Pearson (COM ’17), a frequent customer, enjoys Boloco’s variety of choices and its quality.

“Boloco is my choice for a burrito over places like Chipotle and Qdoba,” said Pearson. “They’re local and have a fun brand personality.”

Besides burritos, Boloco offers bowls with a choice of grains, protein, vegetables and sauces. And just as popular as their burritos are their smoothies, ranging from kale and fruit to peanut butter and frozen yogurt.

Pearson says her go-to order is the Classic Mexican burrito with the Nutella Milkshake.

“Lately [I] have learned you can add fruit mix-ins for free, so I’ve been getting it with strawberries,” said Pearson. “It’s a perfect addition to the burrito.”

b.good also offers a variety of cuisines and make-your-own options for their burgers and bowls.

Even “unhealthy” fast-food restaurants are trying to meet customer demands by being more environmentally friendly and using fresh produce.

b.good, however, appears to be a better combination of the two. All of b.good’s dishes are made with seasonal and local produce, without the usual side of pretentiousness. There is something for everyone on its menu of kale and quinoa bowls, local and all-natural burgers, smoothies and hand-cut fries.

Featured by Zagat as one of Boston’s top 7 spots to find healthy food, b.good stands out with “the overflowing ‘kale & quinoa’ bowls [which] are salads that might actually tempt you away from the meatier options.”

Pret a Manger is not only a cozy coffee shop, but also a whole other world of healthy to-go food. They offer an amazing array of to-go options and a French-café-like atmosphere At Pret a Manger you can satisfy your craving for anything from a hot meaty sandwich with soup to a vegan salad with coconut water.

Claudia DeTrempe (COM ’18) is a frequent customer of Pret a Manger.

“I go to Pret a Manger because of its fresh food, which is prepared daily, its efficient to-go set up and its variety,” said DeTrempe.

At Pret a Manger you can feel as at ease about the quality, taste and healthiness of their pre-made options as you would at Whole Foods, but Pret a Manger is cheaper and offers a myriad of meal possibilities.

DeTrempe usually orders the falafel wrap or the brie and basil baguette sandwich with a pressed juice.

“I’d definitely consider Pret to be healthy,” said DeTrempe. “Everything is also pretty light, so I don’t feel heavy after eating it.”

To quote b.good’s slogan, these three are all places you can find “real food fast” on a day out in the city.

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