What to Eat at WaBa Grill: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

Waba Grill

Verywell / Christian Alzate

WaBa Grill is a fast-casual restaurant chain known for its rice bowls, which often contain a bed of rice, veggies, grilled protein, and various sauces. If you’re looking for a quick but healthy meal, WaBa Grill is a great option. Though its menu items can be high in calories, sodium, and cholesterol, the chain tends to have more nutritious selections than other fast-casual restaurants.

The menu is concise and the offerings tend to have simple ingredients, with most dishes costing less than $10. WaBa Grill also offers options for various diets, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, and more. It is also allergen-friendly for those with dietary allergies and restrictions.

Navigating the Menu

The WaBa Grill menu is simple and easy to understand. Since the ingredients tend to be simple and minimally processed, WaBa Grill is a go-to place for quick, healthy meals. To view the nutrition facts for each ingredient and menu item, refer to the WaBa Grill nutritional guide.

What to Order & Avoid at WaBa Grill
 Most Nutritious Options Least Nutritious Options
Organic Tofu Bowl (Rice Bowls) Waba Chicken & Steak Bowl (Rice Bowls)
Wild Caught Salmon Veggie Bowl (Veggie Rice Bowls) Chicken Veggie Bowl (Veggie Rice Bowls)
Loaded Miso Soup with Tofu (Healthy Value Menu) Sweet & Spicy Chicken Mini Bowl (Healthy Value Menu)
Organic Tofu Plate (Plates) Rib-Eye Steak Plate (Plates) 
Signature House Salad (Salad Entrees) Spicy Asian Salad (Salad Entrees)
Half-Ocado (Sides) Pork Veggie Dumplings 10-Piece (Sides)
WaBa Sesame Dressing (Sauces and Dressings) WaBa Sauce (Sauces and Dressings)
Water or Pure Leaf Tea Unsweetened (Beverages) Pepsi (Beverages) 

Most Nutritious Option

If you’re looking for the healthiest meal at WaBa Grill, the organic tofu bowl’s nutrition profile makes it the best choice.

Rice Bowls

WaBa Grill is known for its rice bowls. This is simply a bowl of white rice or brown rice topped with a protein of your choice. The majority of WaBa Grill’s protein choices are meat, such as chicken, beef, and fish. However, there is a grilled tofu option for vegans and vegetarians.

✓ Organic Tofu Rice Bowl

The organic tofu rice bowl is the most nutritious option in this category because it contains the least amount of sodium, cholesterol, carbohydrates, and sugar. This bowl provides 670 calories, 11g fat, 2g saturated fat, 109g carbohydrates, 23g protein, and 1,593mg sodium.

✗ WaBa Chicken and Steak Rice Bowl

The WaBa chicken and steak rice bowl comes with two servings of meat, making it higher in calories, fat, and sodium than other offerings in this category. The bowl contains 800 calories, 16g fat, 6g saturated fat, 122g carbohydrates, 37g protein, and 2,212mg sodium. It is also high in cholesterol with 125mg per serving. This meal is also low in fiber with just 1g fiber per serving.

To limit calories and carbohydrates, consider ordering one of the two seafood rice bowls: wild caught salmon or jumbo shrimp. These deliver 620 and 540 calories, respectively, and 109 carbohydrates each.

Veggie Rice Bowls

The veggie rice bowls are similar to the regular rice bowls (a base of rice with your choice of protein), but they also contain veggies, including broccoli, cabbage, and carrots. If you are looking for a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, and veggies, this is a popular option.

✓ Wild Caught Salmon Veggie Rice Bowl

One of WaBa Grill’s protein options is wild caught salmon. It is a good option for those who prefer protein with less cholesterol. This bowl contains 600 calories, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 106g carbohydrates, 30g protein, and 2,120mg sodium. It also contains 64mg cholesterol, which is more than the tofu bowl (0mg) but less than the chicken bowl (155mg).

✗ Chicken Veggie Rice Bowl

Though the chicken veggie rice bowl has simple ingredients—chicken, rice, veggies, and sauce—it is high in cholesterol, sodium, and sugar. It contains 710 calories, 11g fat, 3g saturated fat, 113g carbohydrates, 39g protein, and 2,505mg sodium. It also contains 155mg cholesterol and 40g sugar. For those looking for a low-cholesterol and low-sugar option, the organic tofu veggie rice bowl may be a more suitable choice.

Healthy Value Menu

WaBa Grill offers a combo called the Healthy Value Menu. The combo comes with one mini bowl, one value side, and one value drink. Essentially, the value menu contains the same menu items as the regular menu but at smaller serving sizes. This allows customers to enjoy a budget-friendly menu that may also be lower in calories, sodium, carbohydrates, cholesterol, and sugar since the portions are smaller.

✓ Loaded Miso Soup With Tofu

Loaded miso soup with tofu is the most nutritious side in this part of the menu. It contains 160 calories, 4g fat, 1g saturated fat, 19g carbohydrates, 9g protein, and 651mg sodium. It is also free of cholesterol and contains just 3g sugar. The miso soup can also be ordered with chicken or white meat chicken, though these proteins add more cholesterol and sodium.

✗ Sweet & Spicy Chicken Mini Bowl

When ordering from the healthy value menu, customers can choose from various mini bowls. These are smaller versions of the rice bowls.

The sweet & spicy chicken mini bowl is a popular option, but it is not the most nutritious option from this category because it packs a large amount of cholesterol—86mg cholesterol per bowl—into a miniature serving size. Each serving contains 320 calories, 6g fat, 2g saturated fat, 47g carbohydrates, 21g protein, and 454mg sodium.

For a lower-calorie, lower-fat (but higher sodium) mini bowl, consider the white meat chicken veggie option. It has 300 calories, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat, 48g carbohydrates, 21g protein, and 850mg sodium.

Plates

For those looking for a larger portion size, WaBa Grill’s plates offer the largest servings. Each plate comes with your choice of rice, your choice of protein, fresh greens, and citrus. The selection of rice and protein is the same as the rice bowls and veggie rice bowls. Due to the larger portion sizes, the plates tend to be higher in calories and other nutrients than the bowls made with the same ingredients.

✓ Organic Tofu Plate

Like the rice bowls, the organic tofu plate is among the most nutritious options in this category. It is served with rice, tofu, greens, and sauce. The plate contains 830 calories, 14g fat, 3g saturated fat, 132g carbohydrates, 30g protein, and 2,002mg sodium. It is also free of cholesterol and lower in sugar than other options in this category.

✗ Rib-Eye Steak Plate

The plate with the most calories, saturated fat, and carbohydrates is the rib-eye steak. It contains 1,070 calories, 28g fat, 12g saturated fat, 153g carbohydrates, 44g protein, and 2,761mg sodium. The rib-eye steak plate is high in cholesterol with 107mg cholesterol per serving. However, it does not contain the most cholesterol of the protein options.

The chicken plate contains 224mg cholesterol. Those looking to reduce their consumption of cholesterol should opt for the organic tofu plate, which is free of cholesterol since it does not contain any animal products.

If you are craving the steak option but want a smaller portion size, consider ordering the mini rib-eye steak bowl instead or splitting the rib-eye steak plate with a friend.

Salad Entrees

WaBa Grill's salad entrees offer a large volume of food without the carbohydrates associated with white rice and brown rice. There are two salad entrees to choose from: signature house salad and spicy Asian salad. Both are served with chicken.

✓ Signature House Salad

The signature house salad served with white meat chicken contains 470 calories, 24g fat, 4g saturated fat, 20g carbohydrates, 45g protein, and 608mg sodium. It is also low in sugar with just 5g sugar per serving, though it contains 123mg cholesterol. Though salads are usually vegan-friendly, vegans should be aware that this salad contains dairy, eggs, and chicken.

✗ Spicy Asian Salad

WaBa Grill’s other salad entree, the spicy Asian salad served with white meat, is another low-calorie option. However, it is high in sodium. It contains 530 calories, 20g fat, 3g saturated fat, 43g carbohydrates, 49g protein, and 1,558mg sodium. To reduce the sodium in this menu item, order the dressing on the side and use a smaller serving. The WaBa sesame dressing is the lowest in sodium, with 330mg sodium per serving.

Sides

WaBa Grill has a large selection of sides and add-ons. These can be added to your WaBa Grill entree or purchased separately. Unprocessed sides, such as avocado, steamed veggies, and brown rice, are generally more nutritious compared to the processed sides like soup and dumplings. Animal products, including chicken, steak, salmon, and shrimp, offer additional protein, though they tend to be high in calories, cholesterol, and sodium.

✓ Half-Ocado

If you’re looking to bulk up your rice bowl, veggie rice bowl, plate, or salad, the Half-Ocado is an excellent choice. It is simply a serving of half an avocado, which contains 150 calories, 14g fat, 2g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrates, 2g protein, and 5mg sodium. Other nutritious sides include the brown rice, salad, and steamed veggies. 

✗ 10-Piece Pork Veggie Dumplings

WaBa Grill offers pork veggie dumplings in orders of 5 pieces and 10 pieces. These are popular appetizers at the chain, though they are very high in sodium. A 10-piece order of pork veggie dumplings provides 420 calories, 15g fat, 4g saturated fat, 76g carbohydrates, 14g protein, and 2,310mg sodium. If you are looking to enjoy dumplings in moderation, order the 5-piece option or split the larger order with your dining companions.

Sauces and Dressings

WaBa Grill is known for its teriyaki bowls, but offers four sauces and three dressings: garlic serrano sauce, sweet chili sauce, WaBa sauce, spicy WaBa sauce, WaBa sesame dressing, spicy sesame dressing, and ranch dressing.

Many menu items default to WaBa sauce, but you can request a different sauce or dressing when you order. Condiments like sauces and dressings tend to be higher in calories and sodium, and the condiments at WaBa Grill are no exception.

✓ WaBa Sesame Dressing

The WaBa sesame dressing offers a salty, Asian-inspired flavor that is similar to the classic teriyaki WaBa Sauce, but with less sodium. A 1-ounce serving of WaBa sesame dressing contains 110 calories, 10g fat, 2g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 330mg sodium (by far the least of all the sauces and dressings; the next-best option is the spicy sesame dressing, with 550mg sodium per 1-ounce serving).

To cut back on sodium, opt for this dressing when ordering a salad. If you are looking for a sauce vs. a dressing, the spicy WaBa sauce contains the least amount of sodium: 610mg per 1-ounce serving.

✗ WaBa Sauce

The original WaBa sauce and the sweet chili sauce ring in with the most sodium in this category. They each contain 780mg sodium per 1-ounce serving. WaBa sauce contains 60 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g protein, 14g carbohydrates, and 780mg sodium per 1-ounce serving.

Though it is higher in sodium, WaBa Sauce is fat-free and low in calories, which may make it appealing to people following low-fat and low-calorie diets. When opting for the WaBa sauce, use a smaller portion to reduce sodium intake.

Beverages

Like many fast-casual restaurants, WaBa Grill allows customers to choose from a variety of fountain drinks, including soft drinks like Pepsi and Diet Pepsi. WaBa Grill also has other drinks to choose from like Dole Lemonade, Bubly Lime, Gatorade Cool Blue, apple juice, and more. 

✓ Pure Leaf Tea Unsweetened

When looking for the most nutritious drink at any restaurant, water is always a great choice. If you're looking for a little flavor without any calories, consider plain iced tea.

Pure Leaf Tea Unsweetened contains 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 0mg sodium in an 18.5-ounce serving. The black tea in this beverage is also a source of caffeine, so be aware of that if you prefer to limit caffeine in your diet.

✗ Pepsi

A 12-ounce serving of Pepsi contains 150 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 41g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 30mg sodium. It also contains 41g added sugars. Nutrition experts generally recommend avoiding sodas to help with weight loss and encourage overall health.

If you are looking for a carbonated beverage, WaBa Grill has a limited selection of Bubly sparkling water. Bubly Lime sparkling water contains 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrates, 0g protein, 0mg sodium, and 0g sugar per 16-ounce serving.

Diet-Specific Options

WaBa Grill offers choices for low-carb, vegetarian, vegan, low-FODMAP, and low-fat diets, but doesn’t have many low-sodium, gluten-free, or diabetes-friendly menu items.

Gluten-Free

Rice is gluten-free, but the original WaBa sauce is not gluten-free. Substitute sweet chili sauce or WaBa sesame dressing, which don't contain wheat (the WaBa sesame dressing does have soy). For a nutritious option, choose the sweet & spicy chicken bowl, which also packs in 38g protein.

  • Sweet and spicy chicken bowl
  • Sweet and spicy mini bowl
  • Sweet and spicy chicken veggie bowl
  • Sweet and spicy chicken plate
  • Signature house salad with WaBa sesame dressing

Low-Carb

Since the base of many WaBa Grill menu items is white rice or brown rice, the low-carb selection at WaBa Grill is slim. However, the salads and mini bowls contain fewer carbohydrates, and the sweet & spicy chicken veggie mini bowl is a healthy go-to. You can also build a low-carb meal from the sides menu by ordering a side of protein, veggies, miso soup, and avocado.

  • Signature house salad
  • Sweet and spicy chicken veggie mini bowl
  • Half-Ocado
  • Steamed veggies
  • Loaded miso soup with tofu

Low-FODMAP

Since brown rice is low-FODMAP, anyone following this diet should order brown rice instead of white rice. Many of WaBa Grill's protein options are also low-FODMAP, including animal products and tofu. Since cabbage and carrots are high-FODMAP vegetables, avoid the steamed veggies and veggie rice plates.

However, the sauces and condiments at WaBa Grill may not be compliant with a low-FODMAP diet, as they can be high in sugar. Consider skipping the sauce or ordering it on the side for a smaller serving size.

For a healthy low-FODMAP meal, order the tofu rice bowl, and make sure to specify brown rice, not white rice.

  • Brown rice
  • Organic tofu rice bowl (replace white rice with brown rice)
  • Wild caught salmon bowl (replace white rice with brown rice)
  • Organic tofu plate (replace white rice with brown rice)

Diabetes-Friendly

Diabetes-friendly diets tend to monitor carbohydrate intake. The base of WaBa Grill’s menu items is brown rice, white rice, and steamed veggies, all of which provide carbohydrates. However, brown rice and steamed veggies are a good source of fiber since they are complex carbohydrates

WaBa Grill also has plenty of suitable protein options, though they tend to be high in cholesterol. A diabetes-friendly diet favors lean proteins like chicken and salmon, so the best option is the wild caught salmon veggie rice bowl with brown rice.

  • Steamed veggies
  • Signature house salad
  • Brown rice
  • Wild caught salmon veggie rice bowl
  • White meat chicken veggie rice bowl

Low-Fat

Many WaBa Grill menu items are low in fat and saturated fat, making the restaurant a viable option for people who follow low-fat diets. For a warm and filling meal, enjoy the loaded miso soup with tofu, which contains only 4g fat.

  • Organic tofu rice bowl
  • Wild caught salmon rice bowl
  • Loaded miso soup with tofu
  • Rice
  • Steamed veggies

Low-Sodium

Many items at WaBa Grill are marinated in original WaBa sauce, which is high in sodium. The sauce contains 780mg sodium per 1-ounce serving. This means that there is a limited selection of low-sodium items at WaBa Grill. To reduce the sodium, order sauces and dressings on the side and use a smaller amount. Or stick with the sides menu; lower portions mean lower sodium.

  • Signature house salad
  • White rice
  • Brown rice
  • Steamed veggies
  • Organic tofu

Vegetarian

WaBa Grill has a vegetarian-friendly menu. Choose the organic tofu as your protein of choice and nearly every menu item can be made vegetarian. Many WaBa Grill locations also offer Plantspired Steak, a plant-based meat alternative (it does contain soy and wheat).

  • Organic tofu rice bowl
  • Organic tofu veggie rice bowl
  • Organic tofu plate
  • Loaded miso soup with tofu
  • Spicy Asian salad (replace white meat chicken with tofu)

Vegan

Almost everything that is vegetarian at WaBa Grill is also vegan. All of the sauces and dressings are vegan with the exception of the ranch dressing. This means that vegans can enjoy rice bowls, veggie rice plates, plates, and salads. The organic tofu veggie rice bowl is a great vegan option with 600 calories, 22g protein, and 9g fiber.

  • Organic tofu rice bowl
  • Organic tofu veggie rice bowl
  • Organic tofu plate
  • Loaded miso soup with tofu
  • Spicy Asian salad (replace white meat chicken with tofu)

Food Allergies and Safety

WaBa Grill’s nutrition guide clearly labels which menu items contain milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Many menu items contain soy and wheat, so people with those food allergies should proceed with caution when eating at WaBa Grill.

It is generally safe for people with allergies to milk, peanuts, and tree nuts to eat at Waba Grill. However, people with allergies to eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat should note that cross contamination may occur in the WaBa Grill kitchen.

A Word From Verywell 

WaBa Grill is a nice deviation from the typical fast-casual restaurant. The chain prides itself on offering meals that are typically fresher and healthier than you can get when dining out. Though some items are high in sodium, cholesterol, and carbohydrates, most of WaBa Grill’s menu items are low in fat yet high in protein. They are also moderate in calories.

If you want to eat at WaBa Grill, you can feel confident in your decision. Just consume the condiments in moderation since they can be high in sodium.

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2 Sources
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