Where to Eat When you're Getting Lunch Out in Calgary

Did you forget your lunch at home?  Does your job involve multiple client lunch meetings per week?

Or does eating leftovers seem unpalatable, but you still want to eat healthy?

We have the perfect guide for you based on restaurants in Calgary’s downtown core.

Our goal is to help you make a healthy and balanced choice without having to over-think it. We have provided a few examples of balanced choices from various restaurant menus.

First, some tips for choosing a healthy lunch out:

  1. Avoid anything deep-fried: avoid French fries, fried spring rolls, chicken strips, chicken wings, to name a few.Instead of fries, try a soup or salad on the side. Or ask for grilled/steamed vegetables. Choose grilled chicken over crispy chicken.

  2. Ordering an entrée-sized salad? Pay attention to how much add-ons are in the salad. Beware of how much cheese, fried noodles or candied nuts that may be added.

  3. For a soup and sandwich combo, choose the vegetable or broth based soups.

  4. Be mindful while you eat. Slow down, chew thoroughly, and enjoy each bite.

  5. Save the alcohol for the weekend – we know it’s difficult. Try to choose water or club soda with a lemon/lime wedge.

GRAB and GO RESTAURANTS IN THE CALGARY CORE+15 

Freshii

  • Salads: Metaboost, Fiesta, Buffalo, Zen, or the Kale Caesar à Add chicken/steak/tofu (Falafel is tasty vegetarian choice, but it is higher in calories and lower in protein than tofu!)

  • Wraps: Fiesta, Buffalo, or Zen

  • Bowls: Teriyaki Twist, Oaxaca, Mediterranean, Buddha’s Satay, or Bamboo

  • Burritos: Smokehouse or Baja

Kona Poké/ Hola Poké / Hula / Po-ké

  • Choose the regular sized bowl, try half brown, half white rice

  • Customize your bowl by adding extra veggies J

  • Limit anything deep-fried, i.e. wonton chips, onion crisps

  • Go easy on the mayo-based sauces (keyword = aioli), or ask for sauce on the side!

Hot Buffets (Marcello’s, Mercatino, Sunterra)

  • Hot Entrée: make a balanced meal: choose a starch (ie. potatoes, rice or noodles) with veggies and a protein

  • Salads: make sure you add a starch (ie. quinoa, rice or pasta) and protein (chickpeas, beans, chicken or fish) so that you’re not craving sweets mid-afternoon

Mint Leaf (Vietnamese)

  • Pho: Request vegetable or chicken, and extra veggies!

  • Vermicelli Bowls: Beware of the deep fried spring rolls added, so ask for extra veggies instead.

Tim Horton’s:

  • Beverages: Keep it simple. Order regular coffee/tea instead of the fancy drinks (You guessed it, I’m talking about that extra-sweet French Vanilla, or those crazy iced cappuccinos).

  • Breakfast: Greek Yogurt Parfait (good source of protein and calcium), Breakfast Sandwiches (opt for the English muffin bread with just egg and cheese, skip the sausage/bacon), Bagel BELT on a 9-grain bagel with egg whites (extra protein) and turkey instead of sausage/bacon. Or their instant oatmeal!

  • Lunch/Dinner: Chili (regular size) with a whole-wheat bun, Turkey Bacon Club Sandwich, or the Chipotle Chicken Grilled Wrap

SIT DOWN RESTAURANTS

Local on 8th Ave

  • Appetizers: Szechuan Edamame Beans (a vegetarian source of protein, and fun to eat!), or the #1 Grade Tuna Poke (contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for long-term brain and cardiovascular health. Let’s face it – Albertans don’t eat enough fish.

  • Bowls: #1 Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl (excellent source of protein and Vitamin B12), or the Superpowers Bowl

  • Salads: The Super Freekeh Salad (great mix of various protein sources)

Cactus Club Café

  • Appetizers: Edamame Beans, Tuna Tataki, or the Tuna Stack.

  • Bowls:Tuna Poke Bowl, The Modern Bowl (substitute the avocado for salmon/chicken to get some extra protein in there!) or the Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl

  • Salads: Raincoast Greens Salad (various sources of dietary fats + protein)

  • Side dishes: If you’re ordering a sandwich with a side, try to choose the kale salad or fresh greens most often.

Earls

  • Appetizers: Tuna Poke, or the California Roll

  • Salads: Field greens salad + grilled chicken/salmon, or the West Coast Ahi Tuna Salad

  • Pizza: Margherita Pizza, (split this with a friend and get a side salad)

  • Tacos: Chipotle Chicken Tacos or Baja Fish Tacos

  • Bowls: Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl, Salmon Zen Bowl, or the Hunan Kung Pao

  • Steak: 6 oz steak with seasonal veggies (request steamed veggies) + jasmine rice

National

  • Appetizers: NTNL Mezze Plate (no chorizo)

  • Salads: Quinoa & Roasted Squash Salad, NTNL Super Salad

  • Bowls: Glory Bowl, Seared Salmon Bowl, Chili Crusted Albacore Tuna

Pig & Duke

  • Bar Snacks: Beef Jerky, House Pickled Eggs, Cauliflower Wings (get your veggies in!)

  • Appetizers: Veggie Platter, Korean BBQ Steak Bites (no garlic bread)

  • Salads: House Salad (add chicken/tofu/prawns), Quinoa Salad, Beet Salad, Ahi Tuna Salad

  • Sandwiches/Wraps: Crispy Chicken Wrap (request grilled chicken), Chipotle BBQ Chicken Wrap (mayo on the side), Chicken Club (no garlic aioli), Bomb Sandwich (smoked pulled chicken) – request mixed greens on the side for all sandwiches!

  • Burgers: Classic 6oz Burger, Harvest Veggie Burger – request mixed greens on the side J

  • Bowls: Asian Noodle Bowl, Ginger Beef

Original Joe’s

  • Appetizers: Starter salad, Bruschetta, Brussels sprouts, Chicken Gyoza, Lettuce Wraps, Hummus and Pita

  • Salads: West Coast Chop, Grilled Chicken Caesar, California Cobb

  • Bowls: Teriyaki Rice Bowl, Pacific Rim Noodle Soup

  • Sandwiches/Wraps: Mediterranean Pita Wrap, The Five Hundred

  • Tacos: Long Beach Fish Tacos

  • Steak: Steak & Shrimp w/ Mixed Greens Salad

Sushi Restaurants

  • Go for salmon and tuna, for an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin D, and vitamin B12

  • Watch out for ingredients such as cream cheese, mayonnaise, or tempura (deep fried protein/veg). Stick to the basic and simple types of rolls containing fish and veggies!

  • Ask your server if there is a low-sodium soy sauce available. There is almost 900 mg of sodium in one tablespoon of regular soy sauce. That’s almost half the recommended intake per day.