Combining health and fitness with a thriving social life has never been easy. But thanks to the changing zeitgeist on diet and health, things are improving. There’s been movement recently on the healthy eating front. More restaurants are moving in that direction by offering gluten-free or vegan options. And many are getting it into their heads that people don’t want to feel terrible after they’ve eaten at their establishment. They want something that’s uplifting and genuinely good for them.
So with that in mind, what are the best restaurants out there right now for those pursuing health and fitness goals? Let’s take a look.
Leon might be a fast food joint with a twist. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good compromise when you’re trying to get fit, especially if you go for breakfast.
Breakfast at Leon isn’t necessarily an unhealthy affair. Many breakfasts here haven’t been deep fried and aren’t dripping in fat. Here, you’ll enjoy things like fresh porridge with berries and seeds.
Porridge is a great start to the day for men who have been training hard in the gym. For starters, at Leon they use whole rolled porridge oats. That means that the porridge you get contains a full complement of beta-glucans. These chemicals help to improve blood flow to and from the heart. And they also help people maintain their immune systems, even during hardcore training periods. Beta-glucans assist the body’s immune response by helping white blood cells to get to the site of infection.
Don’t forget, porridge with seeds is full of zinc – great for boosting testosterone.
Pret A Manger
Leon isn’t everywhere yet. So you may be wondering, “are there any restaurants near me that make a healthy breakfast?” Fortunately, there are. Pret A Manger is best known for its doorstep sandwiches drenched in Mayo – not exactly the healthiest option. But Pret is also a great place to go in the morning if you haven’t had time to grab a breakfast at home. Here you’ll get oats, chopped fruit and natural yoghurt. It’s all good fare for people trying to build fitness.
Pret also makes a point of keeping the additives in its food to a minimum. According to fitness experts, like Steve Hines, this helps glycogen transport.
Wagamama might have a great name: but is this British owned Japanese restaurant any good when it comes to healthy food? The answer is that it depends on what you order.
Many dishes are loaded with bags of salt and fat, like the katsu curry. But other dishes are lighter, healthier, and come with a full complement of veggies. People in the know always ask for soba noodles or whole wheat noodles. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat. So if you’re sensitive to gluten, these could be the option for you.
Zizzi is an Italian restaurant chain popping up in up-and-coming areas across the country. Here you’ll find the usual assortment of pasta and pizza, all drenched in cheese.
But there are healthier alternatives on the menu. Take the “superfood salad” for instance. This is a salad of beans, squash, lentils and veggies. Beans and lentils contain vital nutrients, like resistant starch, which help your gut bacteria. And squash is packed with pectins and other rare nutrients which are great for fighting free radicals. What’s more, the combination of beans and veggies mean that energy is released slowly. You won’t find yourself reaching for snacks later on if you pick this meal.
Chilango offers patrons the best of both worlds. Here you get to enjoy tasty food that is also healthy if you know what you’re doing. Chilango is home to some of the cheapest bottles of wine on the high-street. And the portions are big.
When you order, make sure to get your burrito naked. Choose filling like beans, rice and bread. And make sure that the food you order is grilled, not fried.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
Gourmet Burger Kitchen might not be the first restaurant that pops into your mind when you think about healthy food. But it is probably the only place on the high street where you can enjoy a guilty pleasure that won’t ruin your fitness goals.
Experts recommend that fitness buffs opt for the buffalo burger. Buffalo meat is way leaner than domestic beef. And when combined with salads and root veggies, constitutes a relatively healthy meal. With the right sides, you’ll get your full complement of vitamins and minerals. And if you go easy on the starches, you won’t take in an enormous number of calories. An hour on the exercise bike ought to burn it all off.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen also excels in the condiments department. The coleslaw here doesn’t use fattening mayo. Instead, it’s tossed in a light, sweet vinaigrette. Very European.
Because Subway is so ubiquitous, it certainly deserves mention on the list of healthy places to eat on the highstreet. Like so many other restaurants, whether what you eat is healthy depends entirely on what you order.
Did you know that Subway sells salad bowls? They do. You can get a salad bowl, no bun, no meat, for about £2.50. If you want something a little more filling, choose whole grain bread and fresh veggies. Avoid the fatty dressings and pile on the salad vegetables.
Expert nutritionists recommend that patrons opt for the chicken tikka if they want a full sandwich. It’s not made from reformed chicken – which is good. And it’s relatively low in fat, which means the nutrients are more bioavailable.
What about if you’re on a hot date but want to stay fit? You can’t exactly go to Subway, can you? This is where Loch Fyne comes into its own. Here you’ll find healthy dishes, freshly cooking, based around fish. Nutritionists suggest that you start with oysters. These are low in calories and high in protein. Then move onto the salmon. Oily fish is better for you than practically any other meat. Add the minted potatoes and greens, and you’re flying.