So why do people still fear eating out? Tracking down a Slimming World-friendly (SWF) meal in Manchester isn’t hard guys and gals, in fact, it’s quite the opposite.
I actually had to edit this article several times because I exceeded my work count too many times! So to summarise, eating out and following this plan isn’t difficult whatsoever – you just need to make the right choices!
Manchester isn’t shy of great steak houses, but the new kid on the block may top them all with their massive selection of SWF steaks and sides. Dakota Grill, as part of the Dakota Hotel, supplies grass-fed, 35-day-aged steak that is lightly seasoned and then cooked to your liking. If you want to be really good, I’d opt for their incredibly lean 225g Fillet (£33) and a splash of complimentary Bone Marrow Jus or Blue Cheese sauce if you don’t mind parting with some Syns. From a Mixed Leaf Salad to Courgette Fritters, Tenderstem Broccoli to Chilli & Garlic Hand Cut Chips, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to sides (all £4) because majority of them are still on plan!
Dakota Bar & Grill, 29 Ducie St, Manchester M1 2JL
0161 674 9180
Don Giovanni’s is my go-to for a classy dinner because most of Italy’s most popular dishes consist of free foods… can I get an ‘Amen’ for pasta, rice and potato? But even if you’re looking for something less carb-heavy, there’s a huge selection of meat and fish dishes served with SWF tomato-based sauces. And if you really want to push the boat out, their Fillet Steak (£24.50) and Half Lobster (£15) are absolutely to-die-for.
Don Giovanni, Peter House, 1-2 Oxford St, Manchester M1 5AN
0161 228 2482
Did you know most of the food in this award-winning restaurant is less than £5? And did you also know that most of it is SWF? Well, you do now so let’s get to the good part where I tease you with seductive descriptions of grub. From their Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Burger (£3.50) to their BBQ Meats & Rice (£5.50-£5.99), Saignon Summer Salad (£3- £5.50) to the Grilled Steak Cow Burger (£4), you’ll spend more time racking your brain over what to choose then you will money. And you’ll consume even less Syns at that!
Viet Shack Restaurant, 63-65 Great Ancoats St, Manchester M4 5AB
If you’re yet to visit Foodwell, you’re crazy, because a lot of their fresh and nutritious food is not only delicious, it’s also SWF too. I could be here all day listing my favourite meals from all six (yes six) of their food menus, but I’d be here all day so let’s just pick a few. Foodwell’s breakfast menu is literally a dieters dream. From a simple bowl of porridge (£4) to something grander like Steak and Eggs (£9), it’s probably the best menu in town for the most important meal of the day. For lunch, brunch and dinner, you’ll have your pick of lean meats, fresh fish, Ramen Bowls, Chicken Skewers and dozens of other on-plan meals. But don’t worry if you’re in a hurry, their in-house deli is bursting with a massive selection of healthy food as well.
Foodwell, Suite 2, Ground Floor, One New Bailey, Stanley St, Salford M3 5JL
0161 989 4040
The Counter House
Ancoats’, The Counter House, looks too cool to be SWF, right? Wrong! Even hipsters watch their waistlines. Their selection of food is massive to say the least, but I’m a particular fan of their fresh Salad Bowls (£9-£11), Grilled Half Roast Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash (£14.50), Baked Cod with Giant Cous Cous (£17) and Lemon Paprika Chicken Skewers (£5.50). But considering they have 4 menus, you won’t have to look far before spotting some more on-plan meals.
The Counter House, 35 Blossom St, Manchester M4 6AJ
0161 414 0065
Bosu Body Bar
Where do I even start? Bosu Body Bar on Cross Street was created on the grounds of healthy living so you’re good to go with pretty much everything. Their ‘Weight Loss Menu’ includes anything from Clean Cottage Pie to a Chicken Halloumi Burrito, Lemon Herb Baked Fish to a Grilled Brunch with Chicken Sausages… And with the nutritional value stated for every meal, how could you possibly fall off the path? Whether you’re looking to pick up something quick on your way home or want to sign up to one of their Prep Plans, Bosu meals are all you need and more.
Bosu Body Bar, 46 Cross St, Manchester M2 7AR
Curry is a bit of a grey area on SW because a lot of dishes contain a shit tonne of oil, fat and cream. Unless you’re making it yourself, finding a healthy option in a restaurant can be tricky, but not if you head to Zouk on Oxford Road. A fair few curries on the menu are tomato based, which means less fat and more SW-friendly. To name a few, the Biryani, Karahi, Tarka Dall, Magaz and Railway are just a handful of dishes that would be more than suitable for your requirements. Not to mention, they have an entire section on the menu for grilled meat and fish!
Zouk, 5, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5QS
0161 233 1090
Albatross & Arnold
I’m just going to get straight to the point here- id go as far as to say about 85% of Albatross & Arnold’s menu is SWF- no joke. Granted, it’s a modest menu consisting of lots of delicious fresh fish and meat, but this sharing-style menu is just perfect for a little date with a friend or partner. Chargrilled Tiger Prawns with Chill & Garlic? (£17)- Yes please. Chicken with Smoked Swede, Wild Garlic and Pickled Carrots? (£18)- Yes please. Baked Baby Beets with Goats Curd and Quinoa? (£11) – Yes please. Need I go on?
Albatross & Arnold, New Ct St, Manchester M3 3AN
0161 989 7050
The sister restaurant to Don Giovanni, Cibo is also one of my favourite restaurants in Manchester and just so happens to be very SWF. To start, id opt for the Rape E Fagaeole (Italian Sausage, Broad Beans and Wild Broccoli £8.50), the Minestrone Vegetable Soup (£5.50) or the Polpette (Beef Meatballs in Tomato Sauce £5.90) because they’re all ridiculously good. For main, you’re pretty spoiled for choice but I’d definitely recommend the Suprema Di Pollo (Chicken Fillet baked with Honey Roasted Veg £16.50) or the Spaghetti E Vongole (Pasta with Fresh Clams and Cherry Tomatoes £15.50). Trust me, I’m Italian!
Cibo, 3-11 Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4NW
0161 834 9741
If Carlsberg made restaurants it would be something like Pho because this Vietnamese haven is a dieters dream. Their sensational soups and broths are almost completely dairy free, gluten free and low in fat so finding Syns will be harder than finding the bottom of your bowl because trust me, you’ll polish off your meal pretty quickly. They even have meals that are less than 500 calories!
Pho, 37 Hanging Ditch Unit 15, The Corn Exchange, Manchester M4 3TR
0161 464 9779
Need to grab something quick on your lunch? No bother, Zorbas in the Arndale food market is the place for you. This small, Greek food stall specialises in the Greek equivalent of a kebab, the Gyros, but obviously their version is way healthier. Pick from a selection of grilled meats, rice and salad and add on a drizzle of sauce (I recommended that tzatziki) if you’ve got some spare syns knocking around. It’ll cost you less than a fiver and is kind on your waistline- what more could you want?
Zorba’s, Arndale Food Market, Manchester M4 3AH
Oké Poké on Church Street is an Hawaiian street food supplier with a menu full of fresh, flavoursome ingredients. Offering either Poke Bowls (£7.95) or Pokerito’s (£6.95) you can either choose from a selection of meats, rice’s and salads yourself or let them do it for you. Either way, everything is fresh, grilled and incredibly healthy. This will be a lunch you won’t forget.
Oké Poké, 59 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD
0161 879 7735