Starting your mornings with the convenience of drive-thru coffee and a quick fast-food breakfast from Tim Hortons is a ritual for many seeking a delightful start to the day. Whether driven by the need for a swift morning fix or as a rewarding treat before a challenging day, this familiar routine may inadvertently contribute to an excess of calories, sugar, and salt if you choose the wrong items off the menu.
While it's common knowledge that donuts aren't the epitome of nutrition, indulging in such treats can still be part of a well-balanced diet. For those heading to Tim Hortons, we've compiled a list to serve as a handy guide, highlighting the best and worst selections in each food and drink category on the menu.
This curated list empowers you to eat healthily at one of your favorite fast-food breakfast restaurants so you don't have to sacrifice the convenience of a drive-thru meal, drink, or snack.
It's crucial to note that even the "best" options listed may not be ideal as regular components of your diet. For a truly well-rounded approach, prioritize whole foods with minimal processing as often as possible. Treats from Tim Hortons, like those featured below, should constitute only a small part of your overall dietary intake.
Without further ado, here are the 18 best and worst menu items at Tim Hortons.
Donuts & Timbits
Best: Honey Dip Timbit
Bite-size treats that you can purchase in low quantities make Timbits the best donut option at Tim Hortons. A single Timbit is only 45 calories and 4 grams of sugar. Enjoy just one to satisfy your sweet tooth, or have two to three and still stay under 150 calories. Even better, pair your Timbits with a source of protein, like yogurt or eggs, to make for a balanced snack.
Worst: Strawberry Bloom Donut
At 44 grams of sugar per donut, this is one of the highest sugar treats on the Tim Hortons menu. This amount of sugar is more than is recommended in an entire day for adults. With minimal protein and fiber, and half of its fat coming from saturated sources, this donut is better left at the store. A better alternative with a similar flavor profile is the strawberry dip donut which only provides 14 grams of sugar and 210 calories.
Best: Cran Apple Walnut Bran Muffin
Even though this muffin provides 20 grams of sugar, it is still one of the healthiest muffin offerings. This is because of the 8 grams of fiber it contains, along with healthy fats from walnuts. The amount of sugar it provides is more than one should have in a healthy meal, but it is the lowest of all the muffins. To make this a healthier choice, enjoy only half of the muffin and pair it with yogurt from home to incorporate more filling protein.
Worst: Chocolate Chip Muffin
Even though this muffin has only two more grams of fat than the best muffin on our list, it has more than double the saturated fat. In combination with little fiber and a high sugar and calorie count, this chocolate chip muffin made our worst list. The only modification that makes this muffin a better choice is splitting it with several people to keep your portion small, or skipping it all together.
Best: Plain Croissant
A croissant is hardly a balanced meal. However, when compared to other options that also pack high sugar counts and more saturated fat on the Tim Hortons menu, it is the best of the available choices. At 280 calories, this pastry allows you to incorporate a lean protein source to create a better balance of nutrients, and a more filling meal. Combine with ham or egg whites from home for a few calories and several grams of protein. Add a side of fruit for fiber to make a well-rounded breakfast.
Worst: Ultimate Cinnamon Bun
Speaking of sugar, this cinnamon bun contains double the recommended added sugar an adult woman should have in an entire day, let alone one meal or snack. At 570 calories, it also takes up a large portion of your calorie budget for the day. Nearly half of the fat it contains is from saturated sources, making it a less healthy source of fat. The glazed cinnamon roll provides a similar flavor for only 350 calories and 16 grams of fat making it a better alternative.
Best: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie
If you can't pass up a cookie when you head in for your coffee, this white chocolate macadamia nut option is your best bet. It still contains 15 grams of added sugar and 11 grams of fat, so you shouldn't indulge regularly, but this makes a reasonable occasional treat. Plus, you'll get some healthy fats from the macadamia nuts it contains!
Worst: Cookie Filled with Nutella
One cookie you should skip when browsing the options is the cookie filled with Nutella. At 360 calories, it provides enough calories for a balanced meal, all packed into a cookie that can be eaten in just a few bites. Not to mention, the majority of the calories come from empty sources, like sugar and saturated fat. If you are craving chocolate, the chocolate chip cookie comes in at 210 calories and 17 grams of sugar, making it a slightly better choice.
Best: Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
This breakfast sandwich makes for a filling meal that provides a reasonable number of calories. The 20 grams of protein will leave you satiated, and you may even have calories left in your budget to add a side of fruit from home for a boost of fiber. At just under 1,000 milligrams of sodium, it packs a salty punch so make sure to watch your salt intake the rest of the day to help balance out your sodium consumption.
Worst: Farmers Breakfast Grilled Wrap
At close to double the calories of the best breakfast option, this wrap provides less protein and close to double the saturated fat. A combination of eggs, sausage, and hash browns fill the wrap, leading to a low fiber and exceptionally high fat count. Skip the hash browns to save over 100 calories without dropping protein much, or go with the turkey sausage sandwich as a healthier breakfast alternative.
A cup of chili makes our list of the healthiest items on the Tim Hortons menu for several reasons. It contains plenty of protein and fiber to constitute a balanced meal, and it is also relatively low in carbs for those who watch their intake. At 330 calories, there is room to add a side fruit or veggie from home to create an even heartier meal that will keep you satisfied throughout the afternoon.
Worst: Mac & Cheese
This mac & cheese provides 16 grams of protein which is more than any of the soups, but the low fiber count relative to its 48 grams of carb makes it a less healthy meal. The 27 grams of fat will take up a lot of your fat budget for the day, too, much of which comes from saturated sources. Instead, go with the chili or one of the wraps for a more reasonable meal.
Coffee, Iced Coffee
Best: Steeped Tea made with Whole Leaf
A plain tea is one of the best drink options at Tim Hortons. This is because it contains antioxidants that support cellular health while providing no added sugar or saturated fat. A cup of black coffee is another great option and only sets you back 5 calories. Watch out for the sweeteners and milk you may add to your drink. Go with minimal sugar or use a substitute that provides zero calories.
Worst: Iced Coffee (cream & sugar)
The iced coffee at Tim Hortons comes with cream and sugar, which leads this coffee drink to contain empty calories. Although 7 grams of sugar and 70 calories won't set you back much for the day, a couple of these in combination with other sugar sources could lead to excess. To make this a better option, skip the sugar or ask for it to be made half-sweet to cut the sugar grams.
Iced Capp, Hot & Cold Espresso Beverages
The combination of black coffee and milk in this drink allows it to be a good option if you don't want a plain cup of joe. With 7 grams of protein, it can also improve satiety and contribute to a balanced meal or snack. Luckily, the 10 grams of sugar are from milk and not added sugar, making it better than many other drinks on the Tim Hortons menu.
Worst: Oreo Iced Capp
On the other hand, the Oreo-flavored Ice Capp packs a calorie punch with loads of sugar and saturated fat. You could skip the whipped cream on top to make this drink slightly better, but even with that modification, you may want to skip this drink. All of the Iced Capp drinks contain quite a bit of sugar so consider choosing an iced coffee instead if you are looking for a cold coffee drink.
Best: Brewed Iced Tea-Unsweetened
A plain iced tea may not be the most fun drink on the Tim Hortons menu, but it packs flavor, antioxidants, and hydration without any added sugar or calories. Liquid sources of calories don't tend to be as filling as food, so skip calorie-containing drinks in favor of saving calories for more nutritious and satiating foods. If you want to add a touch of sweetness to your tea, go with a zero-calorie sweetener or consider a hearty squeeze of lemon juice instead for a flavor boost.
Worst: Apple Cider
The apple cider may be the worst drink option on the menu at Tim Hortons. This is because it contains zero grams of protein and fiber, and all of the carbs it provides are from sugar. The large size of this drink will set you back close to 100 grams of sugar, making this a drink to skip at all sizes.