If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m super passionate about healthy food but I’m not yet a master chef. I can make simple things like salads and smoothies, but for some reason buying something quick and convenient is so much more satisfying!
I’m trying to cut back on eating out to both save money and reduce waste like plastic containers, but sometimes when you’re out and about there’s no avoiding it. Luckily, Toronto has so many wonderful healthy lunch spots for convenient, grab and go meals. I have a few old faithfuls I swear by, and there are always new ones popping up as well which is great to see!
From the sleek, contemporary branding to the endless superfood creations, Impact Kitchen will always be one of my favourites. They have options for every style of eating from paleo (I recommend the lean bowl with kale, zucchini and chicken!) to vegan (the falafel and tempeh salads are amazing), and so many delicious superfood lattes with adaptogens like ashwaganda. They also have grab and go pre-made options you can take home like paleo chicken tenders and collagen chocolate pudding. Yum! I love hitting the Summerhill location after a Pilates class or the Brant Street location if I’m downtown in the King West area.
Another Summerhill/Rosedale staple, Pantry is also chicly branded and an awesome options for vegan or paleo eaters. You can choose between mix and match combos like 3 sides or 1 protein and 2 sides (my personal favourite). Some of my favourites are the jalapeno kale caesar, the chicken burger with chipotle aioli and the Brussels sprouts.
If you’re in the St. Clair West area, I would definitely recommend making a pit stop at Mary Be Kitchen. My friend just took me here for the first time last week and I couldn’t believe I had never been there before. Similar to Pantry, Mary Be Kitchen offers combo options like 3 sides or 1 protein and 2 sides, and they also have yummy mocktails like kombucha and delicious baked goods. I ordered the 3 sides combo with sweet potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, a blueberry kombucha and a chocolate chip cookie and it was delicious. They also have a lovely patio and super sweet branding. Love!
I will always love Freshii as one of my favourite spots for easy grab and go lunches. There are Freshii locations all over the city which is so convenient if you’re in a rush and need something healthy and tasty. I love doing a custom salad with tofu (their chicken isn’t my favourite), broccoli, greens, spicy peanut dressing and sriracha.
My most recent addiction is basically everything at Village Juicery. I’ve been visiting the Bloor West Village location almost daily and stocking up on green juice (I love the Be Clean!), ginger shots (they help with metabolism, immunity, digestion and more), salads and lattes like the matcha latte or the longevity latte. The salads are great for lunch – I especially love the Plant Protein salad with quinoa, cashews, cauliflower and greens and the Rainbow Thai salad which has a lovely nutty flavour. Village Juicery is definitely a higher price point so I should probably chill out on this addiction but everything there is so delicious and thoughtfully made.
I haven’t been to Mad Radish since before the pandemic but when I was working at Yonge & Bloor it was always in my lunch rotation. You can create custom salads with a variety of fresh, healthy ingredients and I love that they have things that are different from your run-of-the-mill salad bar like cashew parmesan and capers. And they have La Croix, score!
Calii Love was also high on my list of favourite lunch spots while working in the Yorkville area, but I still love it just as much today as I did pre-Covid. This spot also has a salad bar type of situation with some super unconventional ingredients like seaweed, cashew dressing, fresh microgreens and espresso walnuts. They also have some great lattes – my personal favourite is the activated charcoal latte which makes for a cute Instagram story.
It’s always so great to see more and more healthy shops and restaurants pop up in my city. I remember even just a few years ago when I was first diagnosed with T1D there really just wasn’t a ton of businesses offering alternative paleo/keto/clean options so I feel so fortunate to live in a city where they’re becoming the mainstream!
What are your top recos for quick, convenient and healthy options? I’d love to hear from you!