As a mom on the go, the last thing I have time for is joining the "ladies who lunch" circuit. It's more like "ladies who have 25 minutes to cram in something between errands."
Needless to say, I believe the days of lounging with a glass of Chardonnay on a banquette at the Pump Room are light years away. At least it feels like it now, as I wrangle my 2-year-old through hurried meals of grilled cheese sandwiches.
But I'm on a mission to eat healthier and do it quickly. Here are some of my favorite places to go when you've got to eat fast-but not fast food.
Talk about efficient. Put your hazards on in front of the River North location, and in less than eight minutes, for about $8, you can have a high-protein, good-for-you meal that fills you up way beyond your kids' bedtime. You heard me right. There's nothing worse than starving in the school pick-up line. Try the Bar-ritos-all natural wraps with meat or vegetarian ingredients. Protein Bar Chicago has breakfast, too. I know I never have time to eat, let alone eat properly before school drop-off. 352 N. Clark St., (312) 527-0450, proteinbarchicago.com
Check out Chicago Parent on Facebook
When I'm feeling really ragged, I try to add a little continental cuisine flair to my day by swinging by Floriole Bakery in Lincoln Park. With handmade everything, Floriole is known for ingredients from locally sourced farms and butter or chocolate straight from Europe. After all, Floriole started as a stand at the Green City Market. I currently love the trio of salads in varieties like Beet and Black Lentils or White Bean Hummus and Toast. With their free Internet access as well, I don't feel too guilty staying for just a little while to get a little work done. 1220 W. Webster Ave., (773) 883-1313, floriole.com
The folks at Hannah's Bretzel call themselves "uber sandwich makers" and uber they are-Hannah's breads and fillings are all organic and hormone-free. The shop doesn't just take its patrons' health seriously, but that of the environment as well-all food is served on recycled materials. Makes carrying out that Thanksgiving 365 sandwich all that tastier. Four locations, hannahsbretzel.com
There's a lot of talk about the Mediterranean diet being one of the healthiest in the world, so I like to stock up on all the fixings of a good solid falafel feast. With the new fast-casual Falafill in Lakeview, I can get my fill of hummus, baba ghanoush and tabouleh in a hurry. Or just a delicious juice if I'm that busy. 3202 N. Broadway, (773) 525-0052, eatfalafill.com
Epic Burger has rules. Settled in the home-store mecca that is North and Sheffield, it sticks by its mantra of only serving the healthiest and most natural cuts of meats and freshest toppings. As a bonus, you can also grab a healthy smoothie with dairy alternative to take on the go. 1000 W. North Ave., (312) 440-9700, epicburger.com
What's your favorite family
eating spot? Post it to our Twitter feed.
Sara Fisher is a mother of two living in Roscoe Village. She also blogs at selfmademom.net.
See more of Sara's stories here.