Can You Eat Healthy At Cracker Barrel?

Cracker Barrel is a popular American restaurant chain that serves fast-casual dining fare. Their menu is based on traditional Southern cuisine, and the inside resembles an old-fashioned general store. While Cracker Barrel is a cozy joint that serves America’s favorite comfort foods, many of their dishes are high in saturated fat, sodium, sugar, and processed ingredients. Some of their least healthy meals include the Southern Fried Chicken and Gravy n’ Biscuits, which are loaded with unhealthy fats and calories. 

Fortunately, there are a handful of healthier items on the Cracker Barrel menu. There are even a few vegetarian and vegan options. When choosing healthier options at Cracker Barrel, you should focus on choosing fruits, vegetables, and lean meats that aren’t fried or loaded with other ingredients. 

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How Often Should You Eat Fast Food?

The best way to ensure a healthy diet is to avoid fast food altogether, as many fast food joints load their meals with sodium, artificial sweeteners, and processed ingredients. However, going out to eat with friends and family is inevitable, and sometimes you have to choose a fast-casual eatery to save time and money. It’s generally ok to eat a fast food meal once a week, as long as you’re not overdoing it. Additionally, many fast food chains do offer healthier options, so you can still make informed choices.

There is plenty of research that shows that a diet high in fast food is bad for your health. Fast food has been linked to obesity, depression, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer. Eating foods high in sugar, salt, saturated or trans fast, and processed ingredients causes a spike in blood pressure and increases inflammation. This inflammation in the body can trigger unwanted health consequences and digestive issues. Unbalanced fast food diets have even been shown to lower the capacity for memory and learning. 

Going to a fast food restaurant once in a while is OK, as long as you know how to make informed choices and understand moderation.

“Cracker Barrel has a handful of healthier options to make dining easier if you’re looking to reduce calorie intake and limit processed ingredients.” 

The healthiest options at cracker barrel

Cracker Barrel has restaurants across the country in 45 states, so some menus will differ based on location. In general, the Cracker Barrel menu is divided into five sections: Breakfast, Lunch n’ Dinner, Vegetables, Sides n’ Such, and Desserts. You view their complete nutritional guide here. 

Good Morning Breakfast

Cracker Barrel serves breakfast all day, so you can get this healthier menu item any time. The Good Morning Breakfast consists of two scrambled egg whites, turkey sausage, sliced tomatoes, grits, and fresh fruit. With 27 g of protein, you’ll feel satisfied from this meal while keeping calories and sugar low. 

Homestyle Chicken Salad

Cracker Barrel’s Homestyle Chicken Salad is high in protein and low in saturated fat. Available on their Lunch n’ Dinner menu, this salad features smoky southern grilled chicken breast, a heaping pile of lettuce, and a side of dressing. You can swap out the dressing for olive oil and skip the croutons.

Vegetable Soup

For a healthy, delicious side, you can order Cracker Barrel’s vegetable soup loaded with broth and veggies. They use a beef bouillon base, so it is not vegetarian or vegan. However, you’ll get a big bowl of potatoes, diced tomatoes, peas, corn, celery, and lima beans with a light broth,and you can even turn it into a meal with a larger serving size.


Lemon Pepper Grilled Rainbow Trout

This dish features two lightly seasoned, boneless trout filets plus two country sides. You can opt for healthier sides, such as the vegetable soup, house salad, broccoli, or green beans, instead of the loaded hash browns or bacon macaroni n’ cheese. You’ll get plenty of protein and veggies with the Lemon Pepper Grilled Rainbow Trout dish. 

U.S. Farm Raised Catfish, Grilled

Similar to the rainbow trout, you can get a grilled catfish filet with healthy sides of your choice. It’s typically served with steak frites and coleslaw, but you can swap out the fried potatoes for broccoli or vegetable soup. 

Grilled Pork Chop

Pork chops are great lean meats high in protein and low in fat. When ordering the Grilled Pork Chop at Cracker Barrel, you can order healthy sides such as broccoli and baked potato without the heavy dairy.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options at Cracker Barrel

If you don’t eat meat or animal products, you can still find several menu items at Cracker Barrel suitable for your dietary needs.

Vegetarian options at Cracker Barrel include:

  • Pancakes
  • Eggs in a basket
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Grits
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Sourdough bread

Vegan options (which also work for vegetarians) include:

  • Coarse ground grits
  • Fresh seasonal fruit
  • Multigrain toast (without butter)
  • Fresh steamed broccoli
  • Steak frites
  • Baked potato with no dairy toppings
  • Coleslaw
  • Tossed salad
  • Oatmeal
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • English muffin
  • Red skin potatoes


Is Cracker Barrel a buffet?

Cracker Barrel has a full menu you can order from and is not a buffet. While they do have all-you-can-eat biscuits served all day, their meals are served a la carte and hot. 

Is Cracker Barrel expensive?

Cracker Barrel is a relatively inexpensive restaurant, where most meals cost between $10 and $15. Additional sides, drinks, and desserts cost a few dollars extra. 

Is vegan fast food healthy?

If you stick with vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, vegan fast food can be healthy. However, there are plenty of vegan options that still use artificial ingredients and lots of sugar. When choosing vegan options at fast food joints, stick to foods you can recognize that aren’t processed. 

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Jason Hughes
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