It’s often painful to be putting your all in at the gym, or waking early every morning to fit in a run before work, only to not be seeing the results that you want. You’ve heard it all before. Fitness is 80% diet. You didn’t want to believe it, but let’s face it, all modern evidence seems to point to that being the truth. The good news though, is that eating healthy isn’t all about protein shakes and kale salads. The modern foodscape in most major cities is brimming with healthy options that aren’t lacking in flavour and Toronto, always a culinary hotspot is helping to lead the way in healthy eat out options.
Gluten free and gourmet options alongside a nice dose of sugar free alternatives make Live a wonderful and healthy option if you’re looking to grab a bite. Head chef Jennifer Italiano’s inspired menu may be aimed mostly at the raw and vegan crowd, but you don’t have to fall into that ever expanding demographic to find something that will make your trip to Live worthwhile. With menu items ranging from Soups to Burrito’s and amazing combinations of dehydrated vegetables that you have to try to believe, Live is definately one of Toronto’s top healthy restaurant options.
A: 264 Dupont St, Toronto, ON M5R 1V7
Lorne’s Pick: Raw Combo includes a taste of the manicotti, pizza, enchiladas, and mezze plate.
Frustrated that the lone options in the world of take out and fast food were deep friend and completely unhealthy, raw chef Lisa Labute and Catharine Parker decided to make a change which led to the opening of The Goods in Little Portugal. Salad heaped with everything from mung beans to noodled beets, add in creamy dressings and healthy fats you will find your self all filled for hours. (647-340-GOOD)
A: 1255 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1X5
Lorne’s Pick: Chuck Norris Salad
In the heart of the financial district, sits Kupfert and Kim. An oasis of healthy choice in a sea of deep fried and grease filled food courts. Breakfast and lunch is available in hearty doses of wheat less, meatless take out that delivers the goods on deliciousness and will keep you fueled up and going for the entire day.
A: First Canadian Place, 100 King St W, Toronto, ON MX5 1C7
Lorne’s Pick: Burger On A Bed – patty of the day, on bed of brown rice, topped with pico de gallo, guacamole, pickled onions, served with roasted yam and side salad
Way back in the good ol’ days, 1999, before the trends of clean eating, veganism and vegetarianism had swept over the culinary world, a little restaurant touting those values first opened its doors. That Restaurant was and is called Fresh. Now with four different locations around the city of Toronto, Fresh has continued to evolve as more healthy eaters joined the growing masses and there is still almost always a wait. A wait that is worth it, as the food always delivers. Putting healthy spins on classics including quinoa rings, sweet potato fries and miso gravy, fresh has made healthy eating crave-able.
A: 147 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5V 2L7
Lorne’s Pick: Ace of Kales salad
When you think about middle eastern foods, you often think about spits of greasy meat and creamy sauces, all wrapped in a pita. Tabule has turned that thinking on it’s head, melding the middle eastern foods already on the healthy side, like Hummus and Baba Ghanoush with healthy alternatives to the classics like their gluten free falafel or dry aged lamb.
A: 2009 Yonge St., 416-483-3747; 810 Queen St. E.
Lorne’s Pick: Grilled Salmon Kabobs
Located in the Heart of Little Italy on Palmerston ave., Woodlot is the ultimate in intimate Canadian Dining. While there is plenty for meat lovers, including a delectable flat iron steak, and the lovers of rich foods, in their outstanding and buzz worthy caramelized Onion soup. What sets Woodlot apart, and earned it a place on this particular list, is it’s stand alone vegetarian menu which includes items like ricotta stuffed squash and tofu and mushroom pie that can be easily substituted for any meat based main course. Options like that make eating, healthy.
A: 293 Palmerston Ave.
Lornes Pick: Roasted Lake Eerie Pickerel
The further into the vegan incursion into the culinary world we go, the greater the innovations. These innovations include not only the development of raw flavours, but also the ability of some vegan chefs to give you the classic comfort foods you crave while maintaining a healthy vegan diet. The Hogtown Vegan is taking this approach to the next level as they’ve managed to put a delicious vegan spin onto a host of diner classics including their soy wings and meatless pulled pork.
A: 834 Bloor St. W.
Lorne’s pick: “Beef” and Dumpling Stew
Feel Good Guru is a super-local, awesomely organic plant-powered food spot that has grown far beyond it’s original vegan crowd. Locals have become enamoured with their blend of plant based juices and insanely delicious salads, which are topped with dressings that you’ll crave for days after you’ve finished licking every drop. For a menu that is comprised of entirely in house ingredients the prices are more than reasonable, and with it’s own garden in the area, the “plant powered food” couldn’t get more local.
A: 135 Tecumseth St #2, Toronto, ON M6J 2H2
Lorne’s Pick: Queen West Curry Salad
The beet is quintessential Junction eating. For a neighbourhood that has been up and coming forever and still combines some old school mainstays alongside its new trendy neighbours, the Beet’s eclectic menu perfectly reflects the hood. It’s the perfect place to go when you’re with a friend who is craving some classic comfort food and you want to keep your healthy eating streak intact. While your associate can grab a Bison Burger or gluten free Mac and Cheese, you can try out any number of Thai inspired dishes like an avocado stuffed with coconut rice, or their best selling Buenos Dias wrap, stuffed with avocado, spicy black bean spread and quinoa. The Beet has something for everyone and that includes healthy eaters!
Lorne’s Pick: Bison Burger
A: 2945 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P 1Z2
Thrive Organic puts it’s main focus on fresh, healthy ingredients. Its menu boasts 90% organic ingredients which are all fair trade and as local as possible. You’ll find no preservatives here and the chefs strive to pack as many superfoods as they can into their gluten free, vegan and sprouted options. Thrive is an amazing place to stop, 7 days of the week for a healthy option.
A: 3473 Lake Shore Blvd West, Toronto ON M8W 1N5
Lorne’s Pick: Serenity Bowl – kale, arugula, carrots, sweet potato, roasted red peppers, hemp granola, avocado, sprouts, with a Lemon Spirulina dressing.
Thanks to some great feedback from our readers we have decided to add a bonus section:
Doug’s McNish is a man on a mission. That mission is to bring comfortable and filling vegan, gluten free and organic food to a public that doesn’t know how much it needs it. That’s the mission, but what’s the plan? Doug’s plan includes his successful cook books, his pop up shop at the Brick Works every Saturday and at his brick and mortar spot on Marlee Ave in the west end, where you’re lucky to get a table for his soon to be legendary Sunday brunch. Public Kitchen has found a way to satiate even the most hard core carnivore, with his unique takes, including ‘The Scrambler’, a giant pile of scrambled tofu accompanied by caramelized onions, mushrooms, peppers, black bean chilli, home fries and tempeh bacon. Topping the whole thing off is toast that comes with sunflower seed miso butter. These things are just be the opening salvo so keep your eyes peeled for even more innovation from Doug’s Public Kitchen. Watch out world, it may be time to convert.
A: 561 Marlee Ave, Toronto, ON M6B 3J3
With three locations in the downtown core, Crave Healthy Habits promises to be a new kind of fast food and bills itself as being “Field to Fork” promising incredible fresh ingredients in each and every one of it’s to go box’s. Each of their box’s offer you an entire healthy meal and range from some basic salad options, with meat and tofu available to box’s that take your taste bud’s around the world, like their Enso which is like deconstructed sushi and the Indian inspired Taj Mahal. On the steamed box side of things, check out the uber popular Californication, with a grilled chicken breast nestled in a selection of veggies including snow peas and alfalfa sprouts with either brown rice or quinoa. For downtown office workers looking for a healthy lunch that’s grab and go, Crave Healthy Habits is an incredible option.
A: 120 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5H 1T1
A: 145 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 1J8
*there is also a location in TD Center
As modern chef’s have continued fervently tackle the age old task of creating delicious meals, that forgo the butter in flavour more creative ways to add flavour and the demand for fresh, raw, local, vegan and vegetarian foods grow, the healthy options will grow with them. So get out there, explore some new restaurants while knowing that eating out, doesn’t have to mean eating unhealthy!
|Thrive Organic Kitchen||4.5||3.7||8.2|
|“Very hearty, filling meals that are both tasty and good for you! They have a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan meals. My personal favourite is the Bella pizza!”|
|“Top notch salads and smoothies! Loving the BBQ brussels sprouts, Green Gold, and Sweet Heat! Filling, nutritious, delicious. :)”|
|Live Food Bar||4.2||3.9||8.1|
|“This place actually had amazing food, I’m by no means a vegetarian or vegan, I enjoy my bacon, but I had the Mancotti and oh my was it ever good.”|
|The Hogtown Vegan||4.3||3.9||8.2|
|“Without a doubt worth the trip from downtown. The best vegan spot I found while in Toronto. Excellent beer selection as well. Will make it a point to get there next time I am in town.”|
|“Fantastic food, simultaneously elegant and rustic. Amazing house made bred. Inspired use of local ingredients. Smart, professional staff. I go a few times a year and it always makes me happy.”|
|“This place has burgers that has no meat (I know!) that tastes like a hamburger.”|
|Kupfert and Kim||4.1||3.6||7.7|
|“I would literally fly to Toronto to eat here again… and I’m not even vegan.”|
|“Really fantastic place! There are many gluten free, vegan options, and they are all delicious. I adore this place and will continue to come back.”|
|Feel Good Guru||3.4||3.3||6.7|
|“My absolute favourite raw vegan place in TO. Moira is a master chef and her team are amazing.”|
|“The food was great! And it’s gluten-free and/or vegan if you need it to be. It is a fairly small restaurant so it can be busy. The portion sizes seemed very sufficient to me. I had a great experience.”|
|Doug’s Public Kitchen||4.4||3.4||7.8|
|“Doug’s cooking has helped my family transition to a plant based diet by showing us just how good vegan food can be!”|
|Crave Healthy Habits||3.9||3.5||7.4|
|“I absolutely LOVE this place. All the staff members are so friendly. The food is nutritious and tastes delicious!”|