We all want to live our best lives and be happier, healthier and more mindful, but with increasingly convenient processed foods clogging the shelves and fast food restaurants lurking around every corner, searching for healthy food can be time-consuming and somewhat deflating. However, Manchester does have exceptional options for those looking for a health kick, if only you know where to find them. Look no further, this guide on eating clean will tell you where to find everything from healthy brunches to immune-boosting fermented foods.
Restaurants & Cafés
Restaurants and cafés used to be seen as places to indulge in unhealthy luxuries only, but now it’s not hard to find a less calorific alternative on the menu. With vegan cafés and protein-based low carb restaurants becoming more popular, you can easily find healthy options throughout the day from breakfast to late night snack. This may be a slightly more pricey option, but for those of us who lack inspiration and skill in the kitchen, it is a convenient way of eating a high-quality meal.
Evelyn’s Café Bar is open 10am until 11pm Monday to Friday (9am to 10:30pm at weekends) and offers a menu full of healthy, delectable and exciting meals that are inspired by cuisines from around the world.
Depending on how you shop, you could leave a supermarket with a trolley full of healthy food or products with very little nutritional value. The trick is to know what to look for on food labels and, of course, avoid the cream-filled cakes at the bakery counter. Supermarkets are now making a conscious effort to stock healthy alternatives in every aisle and many even have own-brand low calorie, gluten free and vegan-friendly options with easy-to-read nutritional information.
Aldi, who are running a ‘Get Set to Eat Fresh’ programme for children across the UK, offer a fantastic selection of reduced sugar, reduced fat, low calorie, gluten free and vegan options at reasonable prices.
High Street Retailers & Independent Stores
Just like supermarkets, high street retailers provide affordable and easy access to health foods. High street shops stock healthy diet staples as well as the latest food trends, and in some retailers you can even find niche products that are not stocked in mainstream supermarkets. Independent stores are wonderful vendors of healthy food that also support the local industry and give back to the community as they often source their goods from local farmers and producers.
Named the ‘Best Food Retailer’ at the 2017 BBC Food and Farming Awards, Unicorn is a grocery co-operative that champions organic and fair trade products by selling the freshest local produce.
A farmers market is an excellent source for a wide variety and abundance of healthy food, and there’s something rather satisfying about buying it directly from producers, cutting out the middle man (supermarkets) and knowing it’s fresh and raw. And, if you’re the kind of person whose knees buckle at the sight of those aforementioned cream-filled cakes, the market will allow you to stay firmly on your feet, as there is no such thing as processed food here.
With 70 stalls of fresh produce, Ashton has the biggest farmers market in the region and has been awarded ‘Best in the North West’ by the NFU and Observer Food Magazine.
You can find more healthy foods online than you can in restaurants, supermarkets, independent stores and farmers markets put together, so those who want to eat clean have to look no further than their phones. Of course, most of it isn’t as fresh and raw as you’d find in the farmers markets, but true to the nature of the internet, it is innovative, exciting and most importantly, often extremely healthy. You can find anything from super detox smoothies to powerful fermented food.
Manchester-based Loving Foods Ltd is an online retailer for fermented foods, which are completely organic, unpasteurised and packed with good bacteria to strengthen the immune system and improve gut health.