Eating healthy while out and about is not the easiest thing to do. Many chains now offer a few token ‘healthy’ options like side salads but those really aren’t meal substitutes. We eat out so often and I usually try to opt for a healthier choice, plus I’m vegetarian so the options are limited. Personally I’d like to feel like I ate a meal and things like salad sandwiches just aren’t going to cut it and get me through to the end of the day. Over the years I’ve found ways to get my veggie groove on at all of the popular locations. Often when a great vegetarian option is introduced it’s not around for long so mostly these are ‘hacks’ of regular items so they are reliably available. If you’re looking to make some healthier choices in your diet this year or eat less meat here are my favorite options for quick meals on the go.
MacDonald’s is a tough one for vegetarians trying to make healthier choices because there is literally nothing vegetarian on the menu. When they do add something vegetarian and edible it tends to disappear just as fast. I’m still missing that breakfast kale wrap from a few years ago by the way.
Mcmuffin no back bacon
This is one where I would argue you don’t really miss the meat on the sandwich and it’s not usually something you have to wait extra time for. If you opt for an egg white you will save yourself an extra 50 calories but you might have to wait and I think the flavor suffers. I usually ask for salsa and add that into the sandwich as well. It’s an all day item now and for breakfast I’ll usually order one for breakfast but for lunch I’ll grab two.
280 calories 29 g carbs 12g fat 14g protein
If you are in the middle of nowhere in Canada you probably still have a choice of what Timmy’s to hit. To that end I have a few options here.
Cinnamon rasin bagel (toasted dry)
I know it’s boring dry and I know you’d rather have an everything bagel but the raisin bagel is made with whole wheat flour and it’s not really that bad dry. For the amount of calories I find it really filling and it’s a great way to start the day on track, plus it’s super cheap!
280 calories 55g carbs 1g fat 10g protein
Egg and cheese breakfast wrap
This is another one where you don’t really miss the meat but I’ll fess up I usually get the farmer’s wrap with the sauce. I actually find both options less filling than the bagel but much more tasty. Plus on a cold day you just want something warm. Both of these items are usually available all day. The farmer’s sauce does add quite a but so you have to decide if it’s worth it.
Egg and cheese Breakfast wrap – 270 calories 22 g carbs 14 g fat 13 g protein
Egg and cheese Farmer’s wrap – 499 calories 53 g carbs 19 g fat 16 g protein
Grilled cheese no bacon
At most locations the grilled cheese by default comes with bacon so it’s worth specifying. This sandwich is a bit of an odd ball because there is cheese in the sandwich and on the sandwich. It is a little bland so I usually get some ketchup to go with it. Ideally though I’d have a leftover packet of salsa in the truck from Macdonalds to go with it
Calories 490 45 g carbs 24 g fat 29 g protein
Egg and shredded cheese on whole wheat.
You might think I’m about to tell you about the veggie sub but I’m not. My recommendation is actually the egg sub and I say go for the cheese if you want to. My go to order is actually a flat bread but a whole wheat sub is a better choice for nutrients and calories. The protein in the egg and cheese go a long way to making you feel satisfied. A few notes on this one you can ask them to go easy on the cheese if you like to save a bit but it all comes down to the sauces. I opt for mustard at 10 calories but other pretty good choices are honey mustard, sweet onion and light mayo which are all at or below 50 calories. Stay away from the southwest, ranch and regular mayo though. I also opt for spinach over lettuce since it has more flavor and nutrients. The numbers below are for a 6 inch but for dinner at the end of the day I’ll usually get a footlong.
380 calories 46 g carbs 13 g fat 21 g protein (with mustard)
Veggie burger no cheese or mayo
I usually won’t hit two drive thrus for everyone’s needs because it’s just too much time. To that end I love to hit up a burger king when I can. There’s lots of meaty stuff to keep the boys happy and a veggie burger on a multi grain bun for me. I believe if you opt for no mayo or cheese (as I usually do) it might even be vegan. Skip the fries and onion rings to keep it reasonable but I usually do add some of their amazing zesty sauce to the burger (not included in the calorie count below.) This is one of the lowest fat options on the list.
Calories 330 51 g carbs 8 g of fat 15 g protein
We didn’t have a whole lot of Taco Bells around these parts and a couple have since closed. I’m pretty sour about it! But it is hands down my favorite fast food option out there because any menu item can have the meat replaced with beans! That means anything you want on the menu is available to you if your a vegetarian! Guess what the beans are even vegan! So rather than list my favorite menu items I’ll just nominate the whole friggin’ menu. Bonus points the mild or hot sauce it’s calorie free!
I know that this time of year we’re often resolving to make better food choices. And when we’re on the run that get’s really hard. It can be made harder by dietary restrictions like vegetarianism or veganism. It is possible to make healthier choices though. I thought I’d share some Canadian options with you since they are lacking out there. This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list and I could use some new options when I’m out and about! Leave your favorite options in the comments below!