When the summer heat is picking up, sometimes you just fancy a lighter lunch even if it’s just so you can fit in an ice cream afterwards. I’ve collated a quick list of what Southampton has to offer when you’re after something a little healthier.
Docks is a lovely little coffee house on Oxford Street, spacious enough but full of small tables spilling out onto the cobbled streets, or you can sit in the window and watch the world go by. They have a large selection of sandwiches and wraps available as well as a tasty looking brunch menu including quiche made with local ingredients and fresh fruit smoothies. Keeping in mind that I was opting for something healthier today, I eagerly ordered the vegan fry-up which comes with beans, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, sausages, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes and two hash browns. Hitting your five-a-day whilst getting the satisfaction of a fry-up…What’s not to love!?
Cafe Thrive serve up an affordable vegan menu - just try and resist the cake display! There are plenty of healthy options to choose from (gluten/soya free options, too) but their most nutritious has to be the ‘big Thrive bowl’. Packed full to the brim with roasted vegetables, balsamic mushrooms (the unexpected gem of the whole dish), hummus, avocado, basil and lemon quinoa with falafel, topped with a sprinkling of sprouts and seeds. If you’re not into salads, there’s also a veggie-fuelled sandwich menu to choose from.
Mexigo is usually where I’d go if I want a fat burrito, but their burrito bowls are served with all the goodness just naked without the wrap - plus, because everything is made fresh to order you can pick and choose what you want in there and skip out on the less healthy options! This lower-calorie meal comes in between £6-£7 depending on your choices so it’s pretty reasonable, too. As well as being available on Deliveroo, they’re soon to launch a pre-order to collect function so keep your eyes peeled for that. Just choose your main filling, I usually have the veggie chilli but there’s also chicken and steak in a variety of flavours and then its just a matter of how many toppings.
Coffee Lab has been my go-to coffee place ever since it opened - largely because of the Hoxton Bakehouse buns they serve and the fact their brownies are the best I’ve ever tasted, but today we’re opting for the healthy stuff. Recently, they opened a much larger site by Bargate where they serve a full menu with plenty of healthy lunch items. Aside from the usual goodness-packed sandwiches, bagels and wraps, you can order avocado on toast with toppings of your choosing or a hearty bowl of soup. Whilst this lunch menu is served all day Friday-Sunday, it’s only served until 3PM on weekdays so keep that in mind if you’re turning up hungry! You can also choose from fresh salad bows at the counter and daily specials.
Aside from our amazing independents, we have such an array of affordable and quality chain restaurants here in Southampton and many of them offer lower-calorie options. Special shout out to Pizza Express and their under 600cal menu including a tonne of pizzas so you won’t feel like you’re missing out. The pizza is served in a doughnut shape with a salad in the centre and, surprisingly, the whole thing is less than half the calories of the caesar salad! Nandos is another great place to eat where you can be in control of your own portions, simply opt for a salad or corn in place of the chips or garlic bread and you’ll be well on your way!