Over the last few months I’ve been on a mission to find more healthy places to eat out or grab something on the go across Manchester – to try to balance out all the epic burgers and award winning donuts that it’s well known for. It took some digging but there’s actually a whole lot on offer across the city centre if you’re eating out but feel a bit burger-ed out.
Tucked away in The Arndale Markets Viet Shack is a great option for affordable healthy food on the go.
You can choose from Vietnamese style salads with herbs, spices and homemade hot sauce, wraps filled with grilled meat, lemon grass, fresh herbs and salad and homemade refreshing coolers made with water, fresh fruit and mint.
Lean and Mean
Another outlet in The Arndale Markets and perfect for a healthier lunch.
Their specialities are grilled fish and meat served with rice or pasta sides.
Try the grilled salmon or chicken with rice and a drink for £5.90, grilled halloumi with salad and a drink for £3.90 or a chicken pizza wrap served with a drink for £3.50.
Still one of my favourite places in Manchester – a cool relaxed restaurant serving from breakfast and brunch through to dinner and cocktails.
I’ve been a regular since it opened and can’t stop going back (mainly for their pancakes). I’d recommend their Green Bowl with kale, spinach, herbs, avocado, puy lentils, soft boiled egg and lemon, the roast salmon salad with potatoes, sprouting seeds, spinach and cream cheese or the crispy brown rice, grilled chicken, fried egg, chilli and green veg. Mmmm!
Now an established outlet in Spinningfields open from 7am-6pm offering a ‘design your own’ healthy meal service to either eat in or take out. Their menus helpfully give full calorie and macro breakdowns so you can tailor pretty much anything to fit your diet. My choices would be their free range scrambled eggs with spinach, tomatoes, chillies & wholemeal toast and their salads which you can customise add ons and sides. They also have a great selection of wraps with grilled meats and salad, dairy free milkshakes and flavoured coconut waters.
Located on The Avenue in Spinningfields they serve up all you can eat barbequed meats in my opinion one of the best salad bars in the city. ‘All you can eat’ and ‘buffet’ don’t typically go hand in hand with the word ‘healthy’ but at Fazenda the quality of the meat and the salad bar is second to none – so load that plate with meat and salad! You might have to exercise a little restraint when it comes to the giant parmesan wheel and the dessert list though. There are over 15 different cuts of meat depending on whether you go for lunch or dinner and you can ask for leaner cuts or for them to be cooked to your preference. Then there’s a range of cured meats, smoked salmon and prawns on the cold salad counter and an awesome selection of fresh salad ranging from tomato and mozzarella, mixed leaves, marinated cucumber, pickles, etc.
I’ve always thought of Bill’s for great British comfort food and amazing burgers but I’ve recently discovered that they also do awesome fantastic salads and lighter options. One of my new favourites is their superfood salad with kale, red onions, quinoa, roasted peppers and courgettes with an almond and ginger dressing with an extra chicken skewer. Then there’s their Naked Burgers – you still get your burger fix but it’s served with a big salad and tzakiki with no bun or fries. There’s also the chargrilled paprika and lemon chicken with summer slaw mint and coriander cous cous and a baby kale salad with lemon and garlic dressing or Pan-fried salmon, summer slaw, coriander, pickled cucumber and crab falafel. I’ve tried and would recommend them all. If you fancy sharing a dessert (because that’s half the calories – right?) the Lemon meringue cheesecake is literally one of the best things ever!
They’re a vegan café and have an ever changing daily menu serving up classic dishes with their own unique twist. You’ll find things like curry, chilli, koftes and stews all homemade with fresh ingredients. If you want something lighter they have a great selection of salads and wraps. They also have a juice bar and serve organic teas, coffees and dairy-free cakes. Until this year I hadn’t tried vegan cakes – but Oh My Days I’ve been missing out – think coconut cream, peanut butter and raw dark chocolate!
This isn’t your average takeaway on Oxford Road. Although it might look like a kebab shop and be sandwiched between other takeaway outlets but it’s owned by the award-winning Zouk restaurant so you know as soon as you step inside you’re in for a treat. Inspired by Morrocan, Indian and Lebanese street food they serve up spit roasted meats and fish, salad boxes and wraps with a range of fresh salads that their chefs make up daily. You can choose from grilled cauliflower with turmeric, tabulleh with tomatoes and parsley, Moroccan couscous, wholegrain rice salads with pomegranate seeds, flavoured quinoa, baba ganoush and leafy salads and then add your protein options or sides.
8th Day café
A Vegan superstore and Co-operative on Oxford Road with a Vegan café tucked underneath. Their menus change daily but you can expect salads, sandwiches wraps along with ever changing hot dishes such as currys and stews. They have a good section of fresh juices, smoothies, shakes which you can supplement with extras like spirulina or protein. Then theres organic teas and coffees and vegan cakes including include Vanilla Chai, Earl Grey & Cardamom & Peanut Butter Brownies.
Gym and Juice
I’ve only recently discovered this place but as the name suggests it’s a gym and juice bar.
They sell cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices made using state of the art presses to preserve all of the natural goodness meaning nothing else needs to be added. They also offer 3, 5 and 7 day juice packages to cleanse your digestive system and re-boot your immune system. The packs contain 6 x 500ml natural juices a day and can be topped up with protein supplements and naural fusion shots to keep energy levels up. I’ve never tried a juice cleanse but I’m keen to give it a try!
Now expanding across Manchester this is one of my favourite lunch spots for great quality sushi.
They make it fresh daily and it also works out cheaper than the pre-packed ones you buy in the Supermarkets or largerchains close by. My personal favourites are the salmon sashimi – raw thick pieces of salmon served with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy and the terriaki chicken served with rice.
If you’re not into sushi they also sell awesome chicken curry and noodle soups to takeaway and the calorie content is always printed on the label so you can make healthy choices.
Find them on Great Ancoats Street for their speciality ‘Kettle Boxes’ – their pick and choose protein packed salad boxes. Start by choosing your size – regular or large (I would recommend the large even though it does bump the price up but I was still hungry with a regular and had to go back for a protein brownie).
Choose your protein, ranging from grilled chicken, beef, prawns, salmon and haloumi. Then add your base of sweetpotato, brown rice, cauliflower rice or pasta. Finally add your salad additions and toppings such as nuts and seeds and choose your sauce/dressing.
I don’t know how it’s taken me so long to come across these guys but they’re a cool vegan lunch wagon and mobile juice bar that only pops up in Greengate Square 8am-2pm Mon-Fri. Apparently the rest of the time ‘they’re off saving the world…’ They serve up epic fresh juices and a seasonal hot menu for takeaway breakfasts and lunches. Expect to find things like chia seed breakfast pudding, homemade granola and avocado on toast to go, Asian style salads, vegan brownies and takeaway hot drinks. But seriously – those juices!!
A brand new addition to the Manchester health food scene this week which started out as a small independent market stall in 2004 and now has outlets across London. They’re passionate about where their ingredients are produced and have stuck with most of their suppliers since they started. You can choose from ready made salads like the Summer chicken pesto with raw courgette, chilli, mint, pomegranate and lemon juice, opt for a soup, warm salad, stew, protein pack (these sound great with options like seared yellow fin tuna, blanched broccoli, french beans, raw carrot, red cabbage in balsamic vinegar, edamame beans, parsley and sunflower seeds or design your own from their salad bar. They’re also list the calorie and macro contents to help you make your choices. I can’t wait to try them out!
Still a firm favourite located in the newly renovated Corn Exchange. Their Vietnamese themes dishes are traditionally low fat, high protein and there are plenty of gluten free options. Their speciality Pho (noodle soup) (which is what I usually opt for) with their overnight bone broth, noodles, fresh vegtables, slow cooked meat, some are topped with an egg or prawns and served with a side plate of fresh herbs, chilli paste, fish sauce and garlic vinegar. Their fresh juices are also great and I always come away full and with a happy food face but still feeling like I’ve had a healthier option!
If you have any other recommendations or know of any others coming soon I’d love to hear from you!