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A Registered Dietitian On The 7 Healthiest Items At Tim Hortons

There are two secrets for making better-for-you choices at Tim’s: customization and ordering in person (in other words, skip the app). 
A Registered Dietitian On The 7 Healthiest Items At Tim Hortons

Looking to grab a quick and nutritious meal while you’re running errands, chauffeuring the kids or road-tripping for the weekend? There’s a good chance you’ll find a Tim Hortons close by. That’s because there are over 4,000 Tim's across Canada (that’s more than the number of McDonald’s, KFC and A&W combined).

It’s not always easy to source fast food that’s filled with vegetables and protein (as opposed to sugar and sodium). Ordering wisely takes some know-how, and I’ve discovered two secrets to finding better-for-you menu options at Tim’s: customization and ordering in person (in other words, skip the app). 

Since everything is made fresh, it’s entirely within your power to add extra tomato or swap processed cheese for real cheddar. One downside? Ordering online or through the Tim’s app limits your choices because not all customized options are listed. Rest assured, the drive-thru or counter staff will allow more customization for your bread, protein and vegetable preferences (additional items cost between $0.30 to $1.50). Here’s how to navigate the menu to make seven healthier choices.

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1. Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich 

At Tim’s, breakfast sandwiches are made with processed cheese by default, but you can customize and switch to real cheddar cheese instead for a healthier breakfast option. Why make this change? Processed cheese has almost triple the amount of sodium compared to real cheddar. It’s 381 mg sodium per slice in processed cheese vs. 135 mg sodium in natural cheddar. Pair real cheddar with egg, lettuce and tomato by ordering live (the cheese and vegetable options are not available on the app).

Nutrition information (approximate due to customization): 281 calories, 11 g fat, 29 g carb, 15 g protein, 343 mg sodium

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2. Spinach & Egg White Omelette Bites

Tim’s offers two flavours of Omelette Bites: The leaner Spinach & Egg White or the more indulgent Bacon & Cheese. The spinach version has fewer calories, plus less fat, saturated fat and salt, but a bit less protein too (13 g vs. 15 g). One order comes with two spinach bites for 130 calories, but that small amount of food likely won’t fill you up. Consider getting two orders for 260 calories and 26 g of satiating protein, if your wallet will allow for the extra expense. Bonus: Omelette Bites are gluten-free, so may be a safe option if you have celiac disease (check with your local restaurant to be sure).

Nutrition information (per two bites): 130 calories, 6 g fat, 6 g carb, 13 g protein, 410 mg sodium

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3. Regular Chili

This mix of beef, vegetables and kidney beans contains 19 g of protein and 5 g of fibre, which will help keep you feeling full for a few hours. The recipe is loaded with tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and celery, and boasts a nice meaty texture and a piquant sauce. It’s also listed as gluten-free (check with your local restaurant to be sure). One caveat: it’s a bit of a sodium bomb. Your body requires just 1,500 mg per day, so this is more than half of your daily intake.

Nutrition information: 310 calories, 16 g fat, 22 g carb, 19 g protein, 910 mg sodium

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4. 12-Grain Bagel BELT Sandwich

Real talk: It’s impossible to make a low-sodium sandwich at Tim’s, but customizing can help. Bonus: This one is fully customizable from the app. The Bagel BELT has many options for ingredients including bacon, sausage, egg, processed cheese and real cheddar. For optimal protein with less saturated fat, choose egg (not bacon or sausage) and cheddar (not processed cheese), then add extra tomato and lettuce.

Nutrition information (approximate due to customization): 508 calories, 21 g fat, 58 g carb, 25 g protein, 700 mg sodium

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5. Garden Salad with Grilled Chicken 

Tim’s garden salad is a blend of lettuce, tomato and cucumber with a balsamic vinaigrette. The side salad isn’t filling, but you can add grilled chicken for a protein boost. (Not a fan of chicken? You can also customize with an egg patty, cheddar cheese or deli turkey for protein instead.) And don’t skip the balsamic vinaigrette! The oil from the dressing will help your body absorb the good-for-you antioxidants like vitamin C from the vegetables.

Nutrition information (approximate due to customization): 229 calories, 14 g fat, 11 g carb, 17 g protein, 772 mg sodium

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6. Cilantro Lime Chicken Loaded Bowl

Veggies, grains and protein? This hearty bowl has all of the components of a balanced meal. It’s made with garden salad nestled beside a rice blend (which includes black beans and corn) and is topped with grilled chicken strips and a cilantro-lime sauce. It’s also available with crispy deep-fried chicken strips, but the grilled chicken has fewer calories and less fat. The biggest drawback is the sodium content (1,170 mg), but that’s about average for a fast-food meal. You can customize it to reduce sodium by requesting double the salad and half the rice (just not on the app).

Nutrition information: 570 calories, 26 g fat, 57 g carb, 25 g protein, 1,170 mg sodium

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7. Vanilla Greek Yogurt with Mixed Berries and Almond Granola

The bad news: This parfait is packed with sugar (25 g, which is six teaspoons). The good news: It also contains 8 g protein, 3 g fibre and is a source of calcium. The granola is made from whole-grain oats and the fruit is just fresh berries—no syrup. If you’re craving something sweet, this is more nutritious than a muffin or donut.

Nutrition information: 250 calories, 7 g fat, 40 g carb, 8 g protein, 115 mg sodium

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Cara Rosenbloom is a Toronto-based dietitian, writer, recipe developer and food trends expert at www.WordsToEatBy.ca

This article was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2024.

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