The Daily Gamecock

Column: 6 healthy and affordable restaurants to try in Columbia

In college, it can be challenging to eat healthy on a tight budget, especially with a busy schedule and limited options. 

Here are six healthy and reasonably priced restaurants in Columbia that USC students should try. 

Kairos Mediterranean 

4600 Devine St. Suite A, Columbia, SC, 29205

Kairos is one of the best Mediterranean restaurants in Columbia because it has many fresh and affordable options to choose from. If you're trying to stay healthy, one of the coolest aspects of Kairos is its website's nutritional calculator. You can enter any entrée on the menu to view all of its nutritional value, ingredients and allergens. The nutrition sections offers further details on calories, sodium and protein levels. This is a great restaurant to try if you want something new or you're in the mood for some amazing falafel.

The Corner Blend 

601 Main St., Columbia, SC, 29201 

The Corner Blend is a local shop that caters to college students with açaí bowls and boba tea. Açaí is a healthy, antioxidant-rich fruit that's good for the brain and heart, and while boba tea isn't necessarily healthy, drinking it in moderation makes for a nice treat. Corner Blend offers signature bowls as well as build-your-own bowls that include different açaí bases and toppings for a personalized treat. The ingredients are refreshing and a great pick-me-up after a long day. 

Tropical Smoothie Cafe 

650 Lincoln St., Columbia, SC, 29201

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a nationwide brand with locations across the Columbia area. It serves tropical sandwiches, flatbreads, wraps, salads and smoothies, and offers a nutritional guide for each of its menu items, which is great if you're looking for a healthy option. There are dozens of smoothies to choose from, including vegetarian and gluten-friendly options, each made with fresh ingredients that taste like heaven. This cafe is perfect for those sweltering Columbia days. 

Good Life Cafe 

1614 Main St., Columbia, SC, 29201

Good Life Cafe is a local restaurant that offers a little bit of everything. It's a vegan-oriented restaurant that makes in-house fresh food, coffee and specialty cocktails. The menu features a combination of popular Asian and Mexican cuisine with a healthy twist. With a cute interior and an even cuter exterior, it's the ideal place for a picture-worthy meal that everyone must try. There's really nothing else like it in Columbia. 

Sound Bites Eatery

1425 Sumter St., Columbia, SC, 29201

Another local restaurant, Sound Bites is a gourmet eatery with vegan, gluten-free and keto options for affordable prices. It serves sandwiches and salads made from locally grown ingredients plus coffee, local brews and wine. This aesthetically pleasing restaurant is perfect for when you're in the mood to try a unique sandwich like The Twerky Turkey or Tuna It Up.

Roly Poly 

1202 Sumter St., Columbia, SC, 29201

Roly Poly is a franchise restaurant that serves sandwiches, soups and salads with vegan, low-carb and gluten-free choices. Like Kairos and Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Roly Poly provides the nutritional information for all of its dishes. It offers classic lunchtime foods like hot and cold turkey, chicken and tuna wraps and salad options with 21 different dressings. This is the perfect place to grab a quick, healthy lunch in between classes. 


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