Healthy food doesn’t need to be expensive. Just like any food, filling your belly with things that benefit your body can be a drain on your budget, but it definitely doesn’t have to be if you know where to look. Toronto is home to a large selection of restaurants where you can feel good about what you’re ordering and eating, while at the same making sure that you’re not reaching too far into your wallet. Whether you’re in the mood for a veggie-packed salad, wrap, soup, or sandwich, here’s where to get the best healthy cheap eats in Toronto.
Kupfert and Kim
This casual, plant-based restaurant has six locations dotted around the city and makes nearly everything they serve from scratch, from sauces to pickles. The menu varies slightly from location to location, but you can expect generous portions in the form of superfood-stacked bowls, many of which are under $11. The Oaxaca, for example, is jam-packed with brown rice, black beans, kale, beets, corn, daikon, hemp seeds and organic tortilla chips. They also do all-day breakfast with a few filling smoothie bowls for just over $8 and a comforting brown rice congee topped with loads of veggies and house-made kimchee for $6.
Hibiscus is a small and quiet restaurant in bustling Kensington Market. The family-run vegetarian café is also organic and gluten-free. They specialize in sweet and savory crepes, which are a well worth ordering (especially the brie and pecan or the goat cheese with tomato and basil), but their salad is the way to go if you’re in search of a quick and affordable healthy lunch. A small salad is $9 and a large $12, but the flavor and texture-packed blend contains a whopping 42 ingredients, including kale, sweet potato, tofu, kelp, beets, and quinoa.
The Big Carrot
A Toronto institution, the big carrot has been stocking organically-grown, non-GMO and eco-friendly products since 1983. But they also have a café – Carrot Kitchen – that serves an extensive variety of home cooked healthy foods at reasonable prices. In terms of choice, they’ve got a large salad bar, hot food bar, organic rotisserie chicken, four daily soups and stews to choose from, sandwiches (signature or build your own) and even build your own tacos, burritos and burrito bowls. Many of their signature sandwiches go for $10, like the roasted squash and feta with toasted walnuts, red onions, arugula and roasted pear.
Providing Toronto with creative vegetarian and vegan eats since 1999, there are four locations of the justifiably popular eatery throughout the city. Portions, no matter what you order, are substantial, to say the least. And even the small versions of their hearty salads and the “baby” versions of their rice and noodle fresh bowls are filling. Choose from a huge selection of warps, salads, sandwiches and those aforementioned bowls. Baby size bowls atop brown rice, like the “energy” (filled with coconut curry sauce, marinated tofu cubes, curried chickpeas, sunflower sprouts, cucumber, tomato, red onion, and tahini), will run you $12.50.
Affordable salads and wraps are the name of the game at the aptly named and regularly busy Salad Days in Yorkville. Choose from a variety of warps and generous salads, or create your own custom salad. All of their wraps are under $7, with some, like the veggie wrap, hummus wrap and the Greek salad wrap under $5. Large salads are all under $9 (smalls are all under $5) and range from spinach and pear salad, to Greek salad, to apple and beet salad. Custom salads start at under $5 for a small.
Bolt Fresh Bar
Small, colorful Bolt Fresh Bar along Queen west offers some filling and veggie-laden salads and grain bowls for those looking for a substantial yet good-for-you meal, minus a hefty price point. The antioxidant salad, for example, is stuffed full of spinach, shredded beet, tomato, shredded carrot, shredded butternut squash, cauliflower, shaved red cabbage, and pepita and topped with a maple balsamic dressing, all for $12. Also for $12, you can design your own salad, or your own grain bowl (choose from rice or millet and add five toppings and a dressing).