There used to be a time when eating out was an almost exclusively indulgent affair - a chicken Caesar salad was considered the ‘healthy option’. Though we enjoy life and hardly hold back on the fries when we do hit a burger joint, it's nice to be able to get a healthy breakfast or lunch on the go during the working week, or even the odd healthy takeaway dinner.
With a rise in the number of people being more conscious about what they eat, there has been a marked increase in cafés and restaurants around the country offering menus to cater for the health-conscious and those with intolerances. More importantly, however virtuous the food may be, most people don’t want to compromise on taste and flavour which is why restaurateurs have got creative with their menus. There is something for everyone – and whether vegan or meat eater; nut lover or nut free, quite often you forget that what you’re eating is actually good for you when it tastes so good!
While London is at the forefront, cities across the UK are not missing out and it’s possible to eat well in pretty much every UK city. So here is a list of our favourite healthy eating joints - check them out and let us know what you think!
Manchester - Bosu Body Bar
Bosu Body Bar was set up by two personal trainers and a ballet teacher so you can be sure that you will be getting a nutritious, protein-packed meal. They’re best known for their protein boxes and if you’re into counting macros and meal prepping, they even have that covered too!
Leeds - Filmore & Union
The creation of a former wellness clinic owner and executive chef, Filmore & Union is expanding their number of eateries across the North, with other locations including York and Harrogate. This place really does cater for everyone so if you’re vegan, gluten-free or paleo, there is something for you. If you’re early enough for breakfast, don’t miss out on getting yourself an açai bowl.
Brighton - Food for Friends
This award winning vegetarian restaurant is all about flavour and innovation using fresh, local and organic ingredients. The menu changes according to what is in season and there are vegan and gluten-free options available. Try a sharing platter for two to get a taste of some of their best dishes.
Newcastle - RAWR
Get your superfood fix from RAWR’s great selection of juices and smoothies, opt for overnight oats as a delicious and nutritious breakfast or a RAWR Classic Vegan Thai Dye salad if you end up staying for lunch too!
Nottingham - Alley Cafe Bar
More than your average vegetarian hangout, Alley Cafe Bar also plays host to Nottingham’s creative scene with open mic nights and local artist exhibitions for your entertainment. For a light bite, try the Spicy Halloumi & Chickpeas and top it off with the vegan Decadent Chocolate Torte.
Birmingham - 1847
With restaurants in Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton and Manchester, 1847 is testament to the fact that plant-based eating is a growing phenomenon being enjoyed by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Why 1847? Well, it is the year the Vegetarian Society was formed. They offer a vegetarian twist on a Surf & Turf which also happens to be gluten free.
Combining organic, seasonal and local produce with a warm and inviting atmosphere – this is more adventurous than a simple salad or healthy soup. Go to Cannonmills restaurant (or Earthy cafe, which is next door) or one of their two other locations: Causewayside (where there is also a busy cafe) and Portobello. Menu includes dishes such as venison ragu with kale polenta, beetroot and squash fritters and blackcurrant and gin sorbet.
Situated at the heart of the city centre, round the corner from the National Galleries and major shopping streets, Urban Angel provides a perfect place to relax before or after exploring the city. With a host of healthy brunches available all day, a daily- changing lunch menu and an irresistible selection of gluten, dairy and wheat free cakes for a warming afternoon pick me up.
Away from the main city centre, Clifton Village is not to be missed out when visiting Bristol and neither is Primrose Cafe. Locally, ethically and sustainably sourced, the menu is extensive and seasonal. Breakfast options include smashed avocado on sourdough toast with goat’s cheese and poached egg and the wellness salad serves up a nutritious lunch.
The Thali Cafe
With humble beginnings as a street food truck at Glastonbury, The Thali Cafe is now an award winning, healthy restaurant with several locations in Bristol. Delivering you an authentic taste of India, the Northern Thali is their original, signature dish and it also happens to be gluten-free and vegetarian. If you’re taking away, their tiffin is not of the cake variety but worth going for!
The Spotless Leopard
Vegan food from a van never tasted so good! The Spotless Leopard is all about ethical, local and organic ingredients. Popular choices include the vegan mac and cheese or scrambled tofu wrap. Keep an eye out for their pop-up restaurant events where the vegan cream tea is always a hit.
With two great locations on Dover Street and just off Sloane Street, Raw Press isn’t just about juice (although you shouldn’t leave without trying one)! Both cafes boast a selection of healthy breakfasts and lunches from vegan buckwheat waffles to a kale superfood salad. You could easily spend all day here! Their lunch-time salad bar is a hit and if the creamy cashew courgette is on the menu, it may well make your day!
Farm Girl Rosie Mann brings a bit of Australia to London - simple, real and nourishing foods and a relaxed environment to enjoy eating it in. Try something a bit different with the Pitaya bowl or sprinkle some superfoods over your fresh garden soup. So much more exciting than your average healthy fare and you wont feel saturated with nuts and coconut butter, which we often feel overdosed with when eating at health food restaurants.
It’s probably been a while since you got to hang out in a treehouse but now you can do just that at Squirrel in South Kensington. This place isn’t just your average health food restaurant and restrictive isn’t their thing either, with pretty much all the options on the table. You decide what goes in your bowl and there is a vast selection of cold-pressed juices, nut milks and other drinks to choose from too – we especially love their drinking well with kombucha, barley water or cayenne/lemon coolers on tap. If you need an idea to start, who wouldn’t want to try a seasonal special ‘Mary Berry’ salad or their ‘Bright Eyed’ green juice.
If you want healthy-but-you-would-never-know-it, SHOT (Simple, Healthy, Organic, Tasty) is the place to go, and we have a soft spot for them as our very own co-founder Alice helped founders Rahil and Asad with their menu. In the heart of the city, it offers insanely good food for breakfast lunch and dinner, perfect if you’re bored with Pret. No matter how you want to eat there is something for you, and they also source ingredients from farms that guarantee the wellbeing of animals, with organic vegetables where possible. For a midday boost, the mackerel and beetroot salad contains nutrients that will reduce fatigue and contribute to cognitive function. If you want to introduce someone a little bit tentative to healthy eating, the sourdough steak sandwich, or warming Chili con carne are sure to keep them happy.
Cheltenham - The Core
The Core Juice Bar on London Rd has everything you need to kick start your health routine. They go the extra mile with their healthy options offering delicious smoothies s and a wide range of nutritious natural dishes (many of them raw). They are constantly trying out new recipes and flavour combinations making it really worth a repeat visit.
If you have any other suggestions then we would love to hear them ❤