When dieting or eating healthy, a major cross roads that you will face is when it’s time to be sociable and eat out or even when you’re stranded in town and are looking for a quick bite. It can be that make or break moment when your sitting in TGIF and the decision comes whether to eat a chilli burger with all the trimmings or a salad. And no one wants to sit lamenting a miserable salad in a restaurant surrounded by friends as they tuck into succulent steaks and wedges sprinkled with melting cheese. Even getting caught out on a day in town can pose a threat when O’Connell street alone is aligned with two MacDonald’s, two burger kings, no less than three subways, an Eddie rockets, a Super macs, an all you can eat Chinese buffet and countless deli counters.
But you can’t lock yourself up at home either, resigned to life of slim fast milk shakes. It still always takes determination and will power to stay on the right track, however here are some healthy restaurants and even some healthy options that you can stick to in fast food restaurants.
Healthy and organic restaurants
Blazing salads- This vegetarian wholefood deli, located on drury street in dublin has recieved the best in Ireland award 2014. As well as vegetarian salads and savoury foods, it also provides sugar free cakes to keep you on the right track.
Freshly Chopped-Located on Baggot street with a new store coming to balls bridge on the 22nd January. Chopped provides a deli with a difference, with a large variety of both exotic and national veg and differently spiced meats/ fish to add flavour to their salad bowls and wraps. They also provide fresh smoothies and soups in accordance with their healthy theme.
Cornucopia- Cornucopia is placed on bustling wexford street in Dublin 2, however it isn’t new to the Dublins health food framework when it was founded in 1986. While it provides vegetarian and vegan aimed breakfasts, lunches and desserts, it can also be a great place to attend when it hosts a variety of events and talks.
Taste company- The taste food company is located on South William street, an area abundant with tempting culinary options. Since 1998 however, the taste company have strived to freshly produce Dinners, salads and deserts without artificial additives and preservatives. If you like what you ‘taste’, the company also caters for businesses and executive events so you can win brownie points with the boss.
The Farm restaurant’s- These Irish owned restaurants can be found on Dawson street and Leeson Street (both close to Stephen’s Green). The menu includes organic and vegetarian options such as the asian green salad, vegetable and sweet potato pie and the risotto gratin. Like most of Dublin’s dinning scene however, it can work out a little pricey. However they have a worthwhile early bird offer from 3-7.
Govindas- If you are a fan of indian food, Govindas is a healthy european/indian vegetarian restaurant on Abbey street. It has also been praised for a reasonable pricing list, with large sharing platters pricing in at less than ten euro. Dishes are substituted with the healthier counterparts of veg, spinach and chickpeas.
Healthy choices in fast food chains
Eddie rockets- Everyone knows the tempting array of american dinner classics from chilli dogs to cheese fries that grace the Eddie Rockets menu. The restaurant has recently brought in a series of healthier meals however like the lettuce burger that replaces the traditional burger buns for iceberg lettuce or they also provide bowls of sweet corn with bacon as a substitute for fries, if your self control can allow for it.
Nandos- This Portuguese themed chain made it name through one signature dish, peri peri chicken. With Nandos restaurants located in Dublin, it can be a popular stop off after a day in the city. The good news is that peri peri chicken is actually good for you. The problem is that creamy mash, fries on the side and the bottomless soft drinks aren’t. The Cous Cous salad with Peri Peri chicken is delicious with Chickpeas, olives, peppers, mixed leaves and coriander . This way you get to taste the succulent chicken with added nutrients instead of fries.
TGIF- An evening in TGIF can be quite testing particularly if an appetizer to share is ordered and potato skins and wings are being thrown around. But with some restaurants, the more experimenting and enticing the unhealthy foods are, the more interesting and appealing the salads are. TGIF is a testimony to this. The Yucatan salad is inventive and delicious with chicken seasoned with garlic, oregano & blackening spices on top of avocado and a variety of vegetables. If you are looking to be particularly healthy though, it could be a good idea to order it without the cheese or tostadas. The shanghai salad is another treat for adventurous eaters with citrus chicken and mandarin oranges included in the dish. When in TGIF however it could be a good idea to skip straight to the salads rather than torture yourself with the other sections.
MacDonald’s- It has been a while now since MacDonald’s launched their diet aimed salads and Wraps. A menu option that has been scrutinised by customers in the past. The one option I would recommend most is the grilled chicken salsa wrap (without the mayonnaise) . In reality though one of these wraps is just not filling as a full meal. I would recommend avoiding MacDonalds at all costs. With the persistent hunger you may experience after chomping down on this wrap, the smell of a big mac may prove itself irresistible.
Subway- One thing about subway is the diversity in calories between their subs. Here you have the the opportunity to stick to your guns or let your diet to go awry. Classics like the meatball marinara provide a whopping 560 calories and 24 grams of fat, while other simple choices like the turkey breast and ham or the veggie delight don’t go over 300 calories.