What to Eat at IKEA Restaurant: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Meatballs, mashed potatoes, and vegetable medley served at the IKEA restaurant

 Icha Djati / Getty Images

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Since 1958, IKEA’s self-service restaurant has been customers’ source of affordable and tasty meals before, during, or after shopping trips. With 433 locations worldwide, you may find yourself at your local IKEA whether for new home decor or a quick dinner.

The Swedish retail giant is not only home to furniture but also to cheap meatballs and soft-serve. Salmon dishes, hot dogs, and veggie balls are among the IKEA food court’s most popular items. 

In recent years, IKEA has adjusted its menu to accommodate people with dietary restrictions. For example, vegetarians and vegans can enjoy meat-free hot dogs and meatballs with a side of vegetables. However, the allergen-friendly selections may vary depending on the country.

Navigating the Menu

Ordering food from an IKEA restaurant may remind you of a high school cafeteria or assembly line. Simply grab a tray and add items as you maneuver through the line. 

The self-service restaurant breaks its Swedish-inspired menu down into the following main categories:

  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Breakfast
  • Entrees
  • Sandwiches
  • Sides
  • Kid’s Meals
  • Desserts
  • Beverages
  • Bistro Food
  • Bistro Beverages

IKEA offers its breakfast menu at the IKEA restaurant on weekdays before 11 am. On your way out, you will see the IKEA Bistro. This is a smaller counter where customers can purchase hot dogs, soft-serve ice cream, cinnamon buns, coffee, and more. This is ideal for quick snacks. For meals, opt for the IKEA restaurant.

Most Nutritious Options
  • Tomato with Brown Rice (Soups)

  • Harvest Salad (Salads)

  • Gravad Lax with Rye Crispbread (Breakfast)

  • Veggie Balls with Thai Coconut Curry (Entrees)

  • Smoked Salmon Sandwich (Sandwiches)

  • Fruit Cup (Sides)

  • Kid’s Grilled Chicken with Strawberries (Kid’s Meals)

  • Pastry with Almond Paste (Desserts)

  • Water or Coffee (Beverages)

  • Veggie Hot Dog (Bistro Food)

Least Nutritious Options
  • Broccoli Cheddar (Soups)

  • Marinated Salmon Salad (Salads)

  • Swedish American Breakfast (Breakfast)

  • Chicken Tenders with Fries (Entrees)

  • Fried Chicken Sandwich with Fries (Sandwiches)

  • French Fries (Sides)

  • Kid’s Chicken Tenders and Fries (Kid’s Meals)

  • Chocolate Conspiracy Cake (Desserts)

  • Lingonberry Drink (Beverages)

  • Cheese Pizza Slice (Bistro Food)

Soups

IKEA’s selection of soups makes for great low-calorie options. While the broths tend to be high in sodium, the soups contain moderate fat and protein. There are also options for vegans, vegetarians, and those following a gluten-free lifestyle.

Most Nutritious Option

The Tomato with Brown Rice soup is a vegetarian-friendly appetizer, and it’s also the lowest in sodium of the soups. Each 10.5-ounce serving contains 120 calories, 3.5g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrates, 4g protein, and 570mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

While cheesy and salty, the Broccoli Cheddar is the highest in calories, fat, and sodium by far. Each serving contains 390 calories, 29g fat, 18g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrates, 13g protein, and 910mg sodium.

Salads

Despite salad usually being a safe option for vegans, all of IKEA’s salads contain milk-derived ingredients. However, these may be good choices for people following low-calorie or low-carb diets.

Most Nutritious Option

The Harvest Salad, which consists of mixed greens topped with tomatoes, feta cheese, dried cranberries, and pecans, makes for a light lunch. It contains 220 calories, 13g fat, 3g saturated fat, 19g carbohydrates, 7g protein, and 260mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

The Marinated Salmon Salad is the highest in sodium yet lowest in fiber among the salads. It contains 360 calories, 26g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 14g carbohydrates, 19g protein, and 750mg sodium.

Breakfast

IKEA’s breakfast options offer a healthy mix of Swedish and American options. Customers can opt for American classics like scrambled eggs and bacon or try the Swedish selections for a cultural twist.

Most Nutritious Option

For those unfamiliar, Gravad Lax with Rye Crispbread consists of rye bread, salmon, and various condiments for flavor. At IKEA, this breakfast option contains 290 calories, 14g fat, 5g saturated fat, 19g carbohydrates, 21g protein, and 800mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

The Swedish American Breakfast is sure to fill you up, though it’s high in calories, fat, sodium, and carbohydrates. The dish contains 680 calories, 34g fat, 8g saturated fat, 62g carbohydrates, 30g protein, and 1,350mg sodium. Fortunately, it’s large enough to share.

Entrees

For lunch and dinner, IKEA has more than a dozen entrees to choose from. Both vegetarians and vegans have several options from this category, though the menu items tend to be high in calories and sodium.

Most Nutritious Option

The vegan option — Veggie Balls — consists of meatless meatballs, coconut curry sauce, brown rice, and a medley of vegetables. The meat alternative is made of chickpeas and various vegetables. Each serving contains 450 calories, 17g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 58g carbohydrates, 16g protein, and 1,350mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

One American classic on the Swedish menu is the Chicken Tenders with Fries. Though this may be a familiar pick, the sodium content is significantly higher than recommended in a single meal. Each serving contains 900 calories, 62g fat, 13g saturated fat, 58g carbohydrates, 35g protein, and 2,040mg sodium.

Sandwiches

If you want a grab-and-go lunch, sandwiches are the perfect contenders. There are seven to choose from, though none are vegan-friendly or gluten-free.

Most Nutritious Option

The Smoked Salmon Sandwich is flavorful, satiating, yet light. It contains 310 calories, 8g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 37g carbohydrates, 20g protein, and 470mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

The Fried Chicken Sandwich with French Fries sounds appetizing after a long shopping trip, but it’s best left for special occasions. Each serving contains 1,020 calories, 36g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 117g carbohydrates, 33g protein, and 2,520mg sodium.

Sides

IKEA’s selection of sides consists of meatballs, veggie meatballs, fries, mashed potatoes, bread, fruit, and more. There are several low-calorie options while others, like the Macaroni & Cheese, are more indulgent.

Most Nutritious Option

You can’t go wrong with ordering the Fruit Cup. It contains seasonal fruit and counts towards your daily fruit consumption. Each 8-ounce cup contains 110 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 23g carbohydrates, 2g protein, and 20mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

Unsurprisingly, the French Fries are the highest in calories and fat with Macaroni & Cheese coming in with the most sodium. A 6-ounce serving of the fries contains 480 calories, 32g fat, 7g saturated fat, 44g carbohydrates, 4g protein, and 700mg sodium.

Kid’s Menu

IKEA’s restaurant has several kid-friendly meals to choose from, including a designated kid section. The main entrees include foods like chicken tenders, mac and cheese, pasta, grilled chicken, meatballs, and veggie balls.

Most Nutritious Option

Vegetarian and vegan children can opt for a kid-sized serving of the veggie balls, while others may choose a grilled chicken entree served with various fruits. The Kid’s Grilled Chicken with Strawberries contains 190 calories, 8g fat, 4g saturated fat, 12g carbohydrates, 19g protein, and 520mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

Like the adult version, the Kid’s Chicken Tenders and Fries offer the least nutrition content. Each serving contains 450 calories, 31g fat, 7g saturated fat, 29g carbohydrates, 17g protein, and 1,020mg sodium.

Desserts

IKEA’s case of cakes, mousses, pastries, and other desserts is hard to pass up. When you want to treat yourself, opt for the lower-calorie desserts.

Most Nutritious Option

Despite being a dessert, the Pastry with Almond Paste contains fewer than 200 calories. Each pastry contains 190 calories, 10g fat, 5g saturated fat, 24g carbohydrates, 2g protein, and 50mg sodium. It also only has 11g sugar per serving.

Least Nutritious Option

If you’re on a low-calorie diet but crave chocolate, consider splitting the Chocolate Conspiracy Cake with a friend. Each slice contains 540 calories, 33g fat, 15g saturated fat, 60g carbohydrates, 6g protein, and 330mg sodium. It also contains 42g sugar per serving.

Beverages

IKEA’s casual restaurant has a handful of drinks to choose from. You can’t go wrong with water or plain coffee, but they also have fountain drinks like sugar-free cola.

Most Nutritious Option

Since water and plain coffee are naturally calorie-free, they are popular options among people following various diet plans. IKEA also has a sugar-free cola that contains 56 calories, 14g carbohydrates, and 14g sugar per serving.

Least Nutritious Option

IKEA’s Lingonberry Drink is a sweet but sour beverage. Each 10-ounce serving contains 61 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 14g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 3mg sodium per serving. It also contains 14g sugar per serving. With a small serving size and refills available, the calories add up quickly.

Bistro Food

IKEA’s Bistro is a separate counter from the IKEA restaurant. It has a smaller menu and is usually located near the exit so shoppers can grab a snack on the way out. The Bistro is famous for its affordable hot dog combo.

Most Nutritious Option

Vegans and vegetarians will be delighted to know that IKEA’s veggie meatballs also come in hot dog form. Compared to the regular hot dog, the veggie dog is lower in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Each veggie hot dog contains 231 calories, 7g fat, 0g saturated fat, 34g carbohydrates, 8g protein, and 495mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

Another American classic on the IKEA menu is single pizza slices. The Cheese Pizza Slice is an indulgent choice with 400 calories, 15g fat, 8g saturated fat, 47g carbohydrates, 17g protein, and 950mg sodium per serving.

Diet-Specific Options

IKEA offers choices for vegan, vegetarian, and low-carb diets, but could improve its gluten-free low-FODMAP, diabetes-friendly, low-fat, and low-sodium menu items.

Gluten-free

Many IKEA restaurant menu items, such as hot dogs and sandwiches, come on bread containing wheat. Unfortunately, IKEA does not offer gluten-free alternatives to these foods. However, there are several foods suitable for people who follow a gluten-free lifestyle:

  • Moroccan Lentil with Harissa Soup
  • Harvest Salad with Chicken
  • Regular Breakfast
  • Chicken Meatball Plate

Low-carb

Low-carb diets, such as the keto diet, have grown in popularity. While IKEA doesn’t have menu items that are labeled low-carb, followers of the diet may find the following options compliant:

  • Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Iceberg Wedge Salad
  • Bacon Strips
  • Scrambled Eggs

Low-FODMAP

The low-FODMAP diet is designed to pinpoint foods that trigger uncomfortable digestive symptoms. Foods with high FODMAP content are restricted on this diet. Usually, this means eliminating legumes and certain fruits and vegetables. The low-FODMAP diet guidelines make it difficult to eat out, but the following menu items may be tolerable:

  • Tomato with Brown Rice Soup
  • Side Salad
  • Hash Browns
  • Salad Bar

Diabetes-friendly

Depending on the diet guidelines, the following low-sugar and low-sodium menu items may be suitable for people with diabetes:

  • Chicken Meatballs
  • Smoked Salmon Sandwich
  • Salad Bar
  • Organic Pasta and Sauce

Low-fat

When eating out, low-fat options can be hard to come by. Here are the menu items at IKEA that are the lowest in total fat and saturated fat:

  • Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Harvest Salad
  • Organic Pasta and Sauce
  • Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Low-sodium

Food made in a restaurant setting tends to be much higher in sodium than if it was prepared at home. To reduce your sodium intake when eating at IKEA, look for these menu items:

  • Smoked Salmon Sandwich
  • Salad Bar
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu
  • Side Salad

Vegetarian

Since vegetarians consume dairy and egg products, they have more options at IKEA than strict vegans. Here are just some of the vegetarian options at the IKEA restaurant:

  • Mushroom Bisque
  • Swedish Pancakes
  • Veggie Balls
  • Vegetarian Wrap with Hummus

Vegan

With its introduction of veggie meatballs and veggie hot dogs, IKEA has become a more vegan-friendly place to eat. However, vegans have fewer options than vegetarians. If you’re vegan, try these menu items at IKEA:

  • Veggie Hot Dog
  • Veggie Meatballs
  • Organic Pasta with Sauce
  • French Fries

Food Allergies and Safety

IKEA menu items may contain the following allergens: milk, fish, tree nuts, soy, egg, and wheat. Plant-based meat alternatives exist for vegans and vegetarians. IKEA also has plans to introduce non-dairy soft-serve alongside its ice cream selection in the future.

While not impossible, people with food allergies may find it difficult to find something appetizing at the IKEA restaurant. Many foods, including the soups and salads, are made with milk products. This comes as an inconvenience for people with milk allergies and non-dairy diets. Similarly, people following a gluten-free diet have limited options at IKEA.

However, foods that do not contain these allergens may be exposed to them in preparation. People with strict food allergies and dietary restrictions should be aware of the possibility of cross-contamination. 

A Word From Verywell

The IKEA restaurant is a convenient place to eat when running errands and shopping at the home furnishings store. With multiple places to buy food, you may find yourself getting a snack while at IKEA.

Since the IKEA restaurant is quick-service, it’s no surprise that some menu items are high in calories, fat, carbohydrates, sodium, and sugar. To avoid selecting a dish that doesn’t meet your diet needs, consider reading the menu and nutrition facts ahead of time. 

When in doubt, opt for dishes like the Harvest Salad, Hearty Chicken Noodle Soup, Veggie Balls, and Smoked Salmon Sandwich. Alternatively, you can make exceptions on special occasions if the more indulgent menu items stand out to you.

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