Toronto's social media influencers are changing the city's food game.
With thousands of followers, fitness gurus like Jessica Morris are among a group of local Instagram elites who are seriously shaping the way Toronto eats, lives and stays healthy.
Jessica - a certified Nutritional Practitioner and Personal Trainer - specializes in natural nutrition, body composition, and longevity. And her passion for natural nutrition, fitness and wellness is spreading across Instagram.
With a clientele of professional athletes, it's safe to say she knows how to stay fit - just look at her Instagram. So how does she manage to stay healthy and escape the temptation of indulging in one of Toronto's many greasy, drool-worthy spots? She goes straight for the guilt-free cafe and restaurants. And if you haven't managed to find them for yourself yet, don't worry, she's let us in on her secrets.
Here are Jessica's favourite places to eat in the city:
Where is one spot in the city where we can always find you? (other than the gym, of course!)
There is no single spot where you can always find me in the city, as I am always on the move. Travelling between Mississauga/Etobicoke and Toronto to see clients for nutrition, training and food intolerance blood tests I am typically in transit via my car or by foot!
Name a cafe where the staff knows your order by heart.
I absolutely love Thrive Organic Kitchen & Cafe on Lakeshore where I love to get a matcha latte, bulletproof coffee or 'Citrus Cleanse'. I am there so often that the staff know me and I typically spend time chatting with the staff/owner while they make my drink, because everyone is so friendly!
What's your favourite Instagram-worthy place in Toronto?
Planta is such a beautifully decorated spot that has a very earthy and modern JMH vibe to it. Not only is their food incredible to photograph, but the banana-leaf wallpaper is pleasing to the eye and sets an amazing background for any instagram photo!
Name somewhere (or something) at the top of your food bucket list you'd love to try buy haven't yet.
With all of these incredible new juice companies popping up on the west end, I would like to try them all out. I am a sucker for juices because they're great nutrient-dense and energy-boosting drinks to have while i'm on the go. I always feel complete when i've had my daily green juice.
What's your favourite restaurant in the city to meet up with your friends?
That's a tough one: I would have to say it's split between Live Organic Food Bar and Fresh Restaurants. Both places are incredibly fresh and plant-based, which I love. If you're busy and only have an hour to meet a friend, I find Fresh has a quick turn-over and is fast-paced, while Live is more of a relaxed and chilled vibe. Both are delicious, it just depends on what you're looking for.
What's your all-time favourite order and where is it from?
At the moment I cannot get enough of the Serenity Bowl from Thrive Organic Kitchen & Cafe: Mixed greens, carrots, sweet potato, avocado, roasted red peppers, sprouts and I always substitute the granola and add extra tempeh with a side of olive oil pesto dressing. They always ask if you want brown rice or quinoa for the base of the bowl and I always get the brown rice.
If I have room for dessert, they make a killer sweet potato muffin and raw dark chocolate brownie with Maca powder. Okay... now you have me drooling!
Name an underrated place you've been that's so good you'd recommend it to anyone.
As mentioned above, I really don't think Thrive Organic Kitchen & Cafe gets the credit that they deserve. Just like Fresh and Live, they are plant-based but have options like egg for those who desire it. It's a great place to take someone who is convinced that they don't like vegetarian or vegan food.
Do you have a favourite bar in the city?
The only bar I go to is Barre class.
If you had to eat dinner at the same restaurant in Toronto every day for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?
Because I can't just choose one: I would have my appetizer at Fresh (sweet potato fries or soup) main course at Thrive (Serenity Bowl) and dessert/Juice to-go at Live Organic Food (acai bowl, gluten-free chocolate chip cookies that are baked fresh and liquid plumber juice for the road).
Name your favourite brunch spot.
Live or Thrive! Because I don't eat eggs, I enjoy their tofu scramble and gluten-free pancakes/toast options. Be sure to get there early because it fills up fast!
What's your favourite place to indulge in dessert?
In bed! I am currently obsessed with So Delicious Coco Whip blended with frozen mixed berries to create a sorbet. If I have am craving something salty I opt for kale chips or root veggie chips!
Do you have a secret spot you'd love to tell us about?
My kitchen! I create unique, healthy and fast recipes and meal ideas that I post on my Instagram stories (between my workouts) so stay tuned!