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

bowl of white rice, veggies, and teriyaki chicken

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WaBa Grill is a fast casual restaurant chain. The chain is known for its rice bowls, which often contain a bed of rice, veggies, grilled protein, and various sauces. 

In 2004, the first WaBa Grill location was opened in Southern California. Since then, the restaurant has expanded to more than 180 locations spanning across southwestern states like California and Arizona.

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.

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. However, the small menu is one of the perks of dining at WaBa Grill since it takes the confusion and complexity out of ordering. The menu consists of the following main categories: Rice Bowls, Veggie Rice Bowls, Healthy Value Menu, Plates, Salad Entrees, Sides, Sauces and Dressings, and Beverages. 

The bowls and plates are very similar. Simply choose between white and brown rice, include optional veggies, and choose your protein. The proteins include: Chicken, White Meat Chicken, Sweet & Spicy Chicken, Rib-Eye Steak, WaBa (Chicken & Steak), WaBa (White Meat Chicken & Steak), Wild Caught Salmon, Jumbo Shrimp, and Organic Tofu.

Some of the meats are made with an in-house marinade while others are tossed in the signature WaBa sauce, which is teriyaki sauce. The restaurant has other sauces and dressings to choose from as well.

When you choose your rice, protein, veggies, and sauce, your bowl or plate is complete. 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 Nutrition Guide.

Most Nutritious Options
  • Organic Tofu Bowl (Rice Bowls)

  • Wild Caught Salmon Veggie Bowl (Veggie Rice Bowls)

  • Loaded Miso Soup with Tofu (Healthy Value Menu)

  • Organic Tofu Plate (Plates)

  • Signature House Salad (Salad Entrees)

  • Half-Ocado (Sides)

  • WaBa Sesame Dressing (Sauces and Dressings)

  • Water or Pure Leaf Tea Unsweetened (Beverages)

Least Nutritious Options
  • Waba Chicken & Steak Bowl (Rice Bowls)

  • Chicken Veggie Bowl (Veggie Rice Bowls)

  • Sweet & Spicy Chicken Mini Bowl (Healthy Value Menu)

  • Rib-Eye Steak Plate (Plates)

  • Spicy Asian Salad (Salad Entrees)

  • Pork Veggie Dumplings 10-Piece (Sides)

  • WaBa Sauce (Sauces and Dressings)

  • Pepsi (Beverages)

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 their Rice Bowls. This is simply a bowl of white rice or brown rice topped with a protein of your choice. The overwhelming 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.

Most Nutritious Option 

According to WaBa Grill’s Nutrition Guide, the Organic Tofu Rice Bowl is the most nutritious option in this category for several reasons. It contains the least amount of sodium, cholesterol, carbohydrates, and sugar. This option contains 670 calories, 11g fat, 2g saturated fat, 109g carbohydrates, 23g protein, and 1,593mg sodium.

Least Nutritious Option 

The WaBa Chicken & Steak Rice Bowl’s nutrition profile makes it the least nutritious option compared to the other rice bowls. Like the name suggests, this menu item comes with two servings of meat. 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.

Veggie Rice Bowls

The Veggie Rice Bowls are very similar to the regular Rice Bowls, though they also contain veggies. The veggies include broccoli, cabbage, and carrots. If you are looking for a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, and veggies, this is a popular option. Like the regular Rice Bowls, the Veggie Rice Bowls come with your choice of protein, rice, and various sauces in addition to the vegetables.

Most Nutritious Option 

One of WaBa Grill’s protein options is the Wild Caught Salmon. It is a good option for those who prefer an adequate amount of protein with less cholesterol. For that reason, the Wild Caught Salmon Veggie Rice Bowl is among the healthiest options. It contains your choice of rice, veggies, salmon, and sauce. Each bowl contains 580 calories, 3g fat, 1g saturated fat, 107g carbohydrates, 29g protein, and 2,323mg sodium. It also contains 45mg cholesterol, which is more than the tofu bowl with 0mg cholesterol but less than the chicken bowl with 155mg cholesterol.

Least Nutritious Option 

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 has a value-bowl combo called the Healthy Value Menu. The combo comes with 1 Mini Bowl, 1 Value Side, and 1 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.

Most Nutritious Option 

The Healthy Value Menu attempts to attract health-conscious customers who are also on a budget. Many of the value menu items are sides, including salads, soups, and dumplings. From the selection, the Loaded Miso Soup with Tofu is likely the most nutritious side to choose. It contains 160 calories, 3.5g 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.

Least Nutritious Option 

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—84mg 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. 

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.

Most Nutritious Option 

Like the Rice Bowls, the Organic Tofu Plate is among the most nutritious options in this category. It is served with rice, tofu, greens, citrus, 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.

Least Nutritious Option 

The plate with the most amount of 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

Though WaBa Grill is known for its Rice Bowls, it contains other menu items as well. The Salad Entrees offer a large volume of food without the carbohydrates associated with white rice and brown rice. These are low-carb options that are suitable for people following low-carb diets such as the keto diet. There are two Salad Entrees to choose from: Signature House Salad and Spicy Asian Salad. Both are served with white meat.

Most Nutritious Option 

If you are looking for a low-calorie option on the WaBa Grill menu, the Signature House Salad served with white meat is a good option. It contains just 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.

Least Nutritious Option 

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 portion size. The WaBa Sesame Dressing is the lowest in sodium with 330mg sodium per serving for those on a low-sodium diet.

Sides

WaBa Grill has a large selection of Sides and Add-Ons. These can be added on top of your WaBa Grill entree or eaten separately. Some sides include soup, salad, dumplings, extra protein, extra rice, and steamed veggies. The unprocessed sides, such as avocado, steamed veggies, and brown, are likely the superior choices compared to the processed sides like soup and dumplings. The sides of animal products, including chicken, steak, salmon, and shrimp, offer additional protein, though they tend to be high in calories, cholesterol, and sodium.

Most Nutritious Option 

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 an avocado, which contains 150 calories, 14g fat, 2g saturated fat, 2g protein, 8g carbohydrates, and 5mg sodium. Other nutritious sides include the Brown Rice, Salad, and Steamed Veggies. 

Least Nutritious Option 

WaBa Grill offers Pork Veggie Dumplings in orders of 5 pieces and 10 pieces. These are popular appetizers at the fast casual chain, though they are very high in sodium. The 10-Piece Pork Veggie Dumplings contain 420 calories, 15g fat, 4g saturated fat, 14g protein, 76g carbohydrates, and 2,310 sodium. If you are looking to enjoy dumplings in moderation, order the 5-Piece option or split with family or friends.

Sauces & Dressings

Since WaBa Grill is popular for its teriyaki bowls, customers gravitate towards the sauces and dressings. WaBa Grill has 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 of its menu items default to WaBa Sauce, though a different sauce or dressing can be requested at the time of ordering. Condiments like sauces and dressings tend to be higher in calories and sodium, which is the case with the selection of condiments at WaBa Grill.

Most Nutritious Option 

The WaBa Sesame Dressing offers that salty, Asian-inspired flavor that the classic teriyaki WaBa Sauce does but with less sodium. In fact, this dressing contains the least amount of sodium out of all of the WaBa condiments. A 1-ounce serving of the WaBa Sesame Dressing contains 110 calories, 10g fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g protein, 8g carbohydrates, and 330mg sodium. In comparison to the 780mg sodium that the Sweet Chili Sauce contains, this is a more nutritionally sound option. To cut back on sodium, opt for this dressing when ordering a salad. If you are looking for a sauce with less sodium, the Spicy WaBa Sauce contains the least amount of sodium with 610mg sodium per 1-ounce serving.

Least Nutritious Option 

The original WaBa Sauce and the Sweet Chili Sauce ring in with the most sodium in this category. They each pack 780mg sodium per 1-ounce serving. Since WaBa Grill offers extra WaBa Sauce to its guests, the sodium is sure to add up. The 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, it 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 cut back on the sodium.

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. 

Most Nutritious Option 

When looking for the most nutritious drink at any restaurant, water is always a great source of hydration. Plus, water is free of calories, carbohydrates, fat, and sodium. Since many people follow different dietary guidelines, ordering water is a good way to stick to your macronutrient goals. Pure Leaf Tea Unsweetened is also a suitable option. An 18.5-ounce serving size contains 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 0mg sodium. The black tea in this beverage is also a good source of caffeine.

Least Nutritious Option 

Soft drinks are known for being high in calories, carbohydrates, and sodium. This is also true of the soft drink selection at WaBa Grill. The restaurant offers Pepsi soft drinks. A 12-ounce serving of Pepsi contains 150 calories, 9g fat, 0g saturated fat, 41g carbohydrates, 0g protein, and 30mg sodium. It also contains 41g added sugars. It is generally recommended to avoid sodas to help with weight loss and encourage overall health. 

If you are looking for a carbonated beverage to enjoy, WaBa Grill has a limited selection of sparkling water from the brand Bubly. The 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

The original WaBa Sauce is not gluten-free, making it more challenging for people who follow a gluten-free diet to find a suitable option on the menu. Fortunately, the Sweet Chili Sauce and WaBa Sesame Dressing are both gluten-free. Substitute any sauces and dressings for these gluten-free alternatives to make your meal gluten-free. Here are a few good choices:

  • Sweet & Spicy Chicken Bowl
  • Sweet & Spicy Mini Bowl
  • Sweet & Spicy Chicken Veggie Bowl
  • Sweet & 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 tend to contain fewer carbohydrates. You can also build a low-carb meal from the Sides menu by simplifying ordering a side of protein, veggies, miso soup, and avocado. Try out one of the following:

  • Signature House Salad
  • Sweet & Spicy Chicken Veggie Mini Bowl
  • Half-Ocado
  • Steamed Veggies
  • Loaded Miso Soup with Tofu

Low-FODMAP

While it is generally difficult to find low-FODMAP options when dining out, WaBa Grill has a decent selection. Since brown rice is low-FODMAP, anyone following these dietary guidelines should order brown rice instead of white rice. Many of the 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. Low amounts of sugar can be consumed in moderation. While WaBa Grill has low-FODMAP options, people following a low-FODMAP diet should only visit on occasion since the sauces and dressings may not be well tolerated. Opt for:

  • Brown Rice
  • 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. However, brown rice and steamed veggies are a good source of fiber since they are complex carbohydrates. WaBa Grill also has plenty of protein options that are suitable on a diabetes-friendly diet, though they tend to be high in cholesterol. It is recommended that people with diabetes opt for lean proteins like chicken and salmon. Go for one of the following:

  • Steamed Veggies
  • Signature House Salad
  • Brown Rice
  • Wild Caught Salmon Veggie Rice Bowl
  • White Meat Chicken Veggie Rice Bowl


Low-fat

Though restaurants tend to have menu items that are higher in fat, WaBa Grill deviates from the norm. Many of its menu items are low in fat and saturated fat, making it a suitable place for people who follow low-fat diets. These options are compliant:

  • 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 their 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. Pick from:

  • Signature House Salad
  • White Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Steamed Veggies
  • Organic Tofu

Vegetarian

WaBa Grill is a very vegetarian-friendly place to eat. Simply choose the Organic Tofu as your protein of choice and nearly every menu item can be made vegetarian:

  • Organic Tofu Rice Bowl
  • Organic Tofu Veggie Rice Bowl
  • Organic Tofu Plate
  • Loaded Miso Soup with Tofu
  • Spicy Asian Salad (replace white meat with tofu)

Vegan

Almost everything that is vegetarian at WaBa Grill is also vegan. All of the sauces and dresses are vegan with the exception of the Ranch Dressing. This means that vegans can enjoy Rice Bowls, Veggie Rice Plates, Plates, and Salads. If you follow a vegan diet, WaBa Grill is an excellent place to find a balanced vegan meal consisting of rice, veggies, and tofu:

  • Organic Tofu Rice Bowl
  • Organic Tofu Veggie Rice Bowl
  • Organic Tofu Plate
  • Loaded Miso Soup with Tofu
  • Spicy Asian Salad (replace white meat with tofu)

Food Allergies and Safety

WaBa Grill’s Nutrition Guide clearly labels which menu items contain the following allergens: 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 their condiments in moderation since they can be high in sodium.

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