Rise and shine! Time to get ready for another full day with extended hours on your feet.
*cracks open an energy drink*
Yet food may not be at the top of your priorities. You might wake up so early that skipping breakfast seems like the best option. You may work on a site with no decent restaurants or markets nearby, but don’t like cooking or are too tired to pack your lunch. Or you take short breaks, so you get a bagel and hashbrown from Tim’s.
Whether you are in construction, welding, electricity, or a different trade, grabbing a bite at work – let alone a healthy one – can be a challenge.
However, eating well throughout the day fuels your body to tackle those long shifts. And it doesn’t have to be a complicated or expensive effort.
Why eating local and seasonal foods is good for you
Nourish your body
Local and seasonal foods tend to go from the farm to the store or market, meaning they are fresher and minimally processed. They carry more nutrients and fewer additives than ready meals or packaged items and generally taste better. Think ripe tomatoes and bright basil vs. a jar of pre-made pasta sauce.
Support your community and environment
Loads of energy, waste, and packaging are required to transport and store food from across the country and the world. When you buy locally, you are not only supporting your grassroots farmers and community economy, but you are also reducing your environmental impact. And though specific local foods like fancy cheese and dry-aged meats can be pricey, buying in season means you can usually take advantage of great deals.
Wondering what foods are in season in spring? Check this guide.
How to eat healthy foods without complicating it or breaking your bank
Vet your restaurants
If you can easily access places to eat or shop during your shift, vet them to ensure you go for healthy and quality spots.
Toronto local foods to save for later:
- IQ Food is one of our favourite options, with multiple locations throughout the city. It offers fresh, seasonal ingredients and nutrient-dense meals made from scratch in inspiring spaces.
- There are also plenty of healthy eateries and restaurants to avoid going to the closest fast food chain or corner store.
PRO TIP: Let Google Maps vet healthy places for you by following these steps:
- Tap on your Google Maps profile icon.
- Go to Settings > Exploring places > Manage your preferences > Interested.
- Tap on Add topic.
- Add keywords like “Healthy food”, “Organic produce”, or any healthy places you liked from the above suggestions.
- Tap on Add preferences when done.
- Let the Google algorithm work its magic and make recommendations based on these selections.
You can also modify your dietary preferences to focus on vegan, vegetarian, kosher, and other categories.
Prep a no-cook meal on the go
No microwave or restaurant nearby? No problem! You can bring or buy ingredients at the closest farmer’s market to prep a no-cook meal on the go or during your lunch break.
Get a can of black beans and chopped veggies for a quick salad bowl.
Or make a tasty sandwich with the best combination:
- 100% whole grain bread vs. white bread — Take advantage of whole grains’ fibre and other nutrients instead of consuming a refined loaf with synthetic ingredients.
- Protein (e.g., boiled eggs, turkey, rotisserie chicken, tuna, hummus, mashed beans) — Keeps you full, supports your bone health, and lowers your blood pressure.
- Veggies and fruits (e.g., tomatoes, lettuce, sprouts, cucumbers, onions, peppers) — Increase your intake of fibre, vitamins, and minerals, and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer.
- Healthy fats (e.g., fatty fish, avocado, nut butter, olive oil) — Support your cholesterol levels and help you absorb vitamins and minerals, among other benefits.
PRO TIP: Take a look at these no-cook recipes for more inspiration and check our favourite places to buy food during the day all across Toronto!
Our favourite Toronto farmer's markets
Our favourite Toronto butcher shops
- The Healthy Butcher
- 298 Eglinton Ave W, Toronto, ON M4R 1B2 → View map
- Bespoke Butchers
- 215 Madison Ave Toronto, ON M5R 2S6 → View map
- 1378 Queen St East Toronto, ON M4L 1C9 → View map
- 458 Danforth Ave Toronto, ON M4K 1P4 → View map
- Find them at St. Lawrence Market! → View map
- 714 Queen St. West Toronto, ON M6J 1E8 → View map
- 1589 Bayview. Ave Toronto, ON M4G 3B7 → View map
- 26 King St. West Dundas, ON L9H 1P7 → View map
- Sanagan’s Meat Locker
Our favourite Toronto fisheries
- De La Mer
- 189 Danforth Ave. Toronto, Ontario, M4K 1N2 → View map
- 291 Roncesvalles Ave. Toronto, Ontario, M6R 2M3 → View map
- 1543 Bayview Ave, East York, ON M4G 3B6 → View map
- 728 St. Clair Ave. West, ON M6C 1B3 → View map
- Hooked Inc.
- 888 Queen Street East Toronto, ON M4M 1J3 → View map
- 206 Baldwin Street Toronto, ON M5T 1L8 → View map
- 18 Ripley Avenue Toronto, ON M6S 3N9 → View map
- Diana’s Seafood
- 2101 Lawrence Ave, E. Scarborough, ON M1R 3C3 → View map
Our favourite Toronto bakeries and organic mills
- 8 Pardee Ave. Toronto, ON M6K 3H1 → View map
- At Wychwood Barns Farmer’s Market → View map
- Saturdays from 8am – 1pm
- 1847 Stone Milling
- Available at various retailers and online
- Blackbird Baking Co.
- 172 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T 1L8 → View map
- 635 Queen St E Unit 101, Toronto, ON M4M 1G4 → View map
- Mabel’s Bakery
Try a farm box
If you have zero time or desire to go to the store or farmer’s market, consider a farm box.
These customizable baskets are packed with organic, seasonal, and sustainable foods from local farms and makers and delivered straight to your home.
Here are some of our favourite Ontario farm boxes:
Are prepared meal box subscriptions worth it? Farm boxes are different from meal box subscriptions (e.g., Hello Fresh, GoodFood, Chef’s Plate). Although these kits are convenient and allow you to experiment with new recipes, they can be expensive, carry a lot of packaging, and may not include local, seasonal, or organic ingredients.
PRO TIP: Check the farm box sizes before purchasing as they typically bring enough food for at least 2-3 people. You don’t want any of that precious produce to go to waste!
Pack your food ahead of time
This might be the obvious or last resort. But packing your meal beforehand ensures you have something with you no matter where you’re working—and gives you control over the ingredients.
The key? Know what to buy and embrace the beauty of batch cooking or leftovers.
- Know what to buy: Reach for whole foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Fresh ingredients are optimal, but pre-washed, pre-cut, frozen, or canned options are convenient time savers. The less processed and packaged, the better.
- Batch prep and cook like a pro: Wash and cut your produce at once to grab and use as needed. Separate and pre-pack your protein per servings before freezing them. Then, make batches of protein and side dishes (e.g., chicken, meatballs, roasted veggies, potatoes) and store them accordingly. Mix and match these during the week to get different combinations.
- Leverage leftovers: Had roasted chicken for dinner? Remove the bones and throw it between flax seed bread with some lettuce and tomatoes, and BOOM—you get an elevated chicken sandwich. Made a large pot of stew or soup? Heat some of it, pour it into a thermos, and take it with you. Got veggie leftovers? Add them to your scrambled eggs or omelette for an easy breakfast. Don’t throw away your leftovers. Store them, reinvent them to create a new meal, or complement them with a nutritious takeout option (e.g., brown rice).
Eating healthy IS doable!
Vetting your restaurants, prepping no-cook meals, buying farm boxes, and packing your grub gives you multiple alternatives to make healthy food the regular choice at work instead of the exception, without sacrificing flavour or your paycheck.
This also translates into eating healthier off work since ingredients will likely be already at home, and your habits will become second nature. Remember, the occasional unhealthy meal is not the end of the world. What matters is what you do consistently.
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Next month we’ll dig deeper into meal planning and prepping for a busy day at work - no granola advice!
Have questions about how to maintain a healthy diet? I’m always here for you. Fill out this form, and I’ll be in touch.