Two weeks into 2020, how are your new decade’s resolutions holding up? Embracing the exercise? Chucking out the chocolate? Banishing the booze?
It seems to me that all the tasty, fun stuff is always bad for us, while everything virtuous causes us to sweat like a turkey in December or tastes like cardboard.
Our own pre-teen has vowed to be healthier, so in an effort to support her – and ourselves – without omitting flavour and a full tum, Significant Other and I took her to the unassuming little healthy cafe and takeaway that is Lean & Green in Chorley.
Stumbling across it online, reviews promised delicious, fresh food, loads of choice and a spotlessly clean, friendly welcome. But would it be enough to tempt a fussy 12-year-old who still hankers after kiddy fodder of fish fingers and nuggets?
On the outskirts of the town, if you’re navigating all those roundabouts its bright green sign stands out. Set back from the A6 it’s directly opposite the leisure centre, perfectly placed for a paddle followed by a protein ball (more of those later).
Small but perfectly formed, inside it’s bright, modern and as clean and shiny as a new skinny pin. The green colour theme continues, adding a splash of colour to white tiled, muted grey and brick effect walls while potted plants add a bit of biophilia.
It was a dank and dreary early Saturday tea time when we arrived – never the busiest of hours, there were still a few customers coming and going and the Just Eat orders seemed to be starting up. Warm and welcoming, we were given all the time we needed to study the menu.
Which turned out to be quite a while. From all day breakfasts to Buddha bowls, salads to shakes, the choice is extensive but uncomplicated. Dishes on offer are simple but healthy and nutritious – omelettes, bagels, porridge and pancakes plus lean meats, fish and falafel. Bowl bases and ‘add ons’ are a filling array of rice, noodles and sweet potato mash, while sides and light sauces provide further flavour and a bit of zest. Plus there’s loads of animal product free dishes, perfect for Veganuary.
Determined to put these promises of healthy food with taste to the test, using the nutritional information on the menu I tried to concoct the lowest fat meal I could – fat means flavour after all. I came up with a king prawn Buddha bowl with sweet potato mash, broccoli, sugar snap peas and mixed beans (£9.95). I ‘larged’ it though, so does that defeat the object?
I don’t think so. I could tell with every mouthful that any disadvantage I was doing myself with amount was cancelled out by the goodness I was putting in.
A riot of colour, huge, juicy prawns sat on a mountain of steaming hot, soft sweet potato. Crunch and texture were provided by crisp peas and perfectly cooked broccoli, while beans added more substance. Altogether fresh and surprisingly moreish.
I was still digging through my bowl as the other two were putting down their knives and forks. Both had chosen chicken wraps (£5.95) – a tikka for SO and a plain and simple version for The Younger.
Packed with lean, tender chicken, both were shrouded in a freshly toasted wrap. The tikka was mild but tasty while a bit of tomato ketchup perked up the plain one (hardly one of your five a day, child!).
On the side we had dense, golden brown sweetcorn fritters (£3.95) plus some mild and filling halloumi, which was paired with a piquant chilli dipping jam (£3.50).
Not wanting one of their – very nice – cappuccinos (£2.50), The Younger browsed the dessert bar and came back with a hazelnut bliss protein ball (£1.95). Sweet little morsels, they comprise peanut butter, oats and honey to which you can combine all kinds of flavours. Coated in chocolate and so dense Dad had to have half, my jury is out on just how good for you these globes really are, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
Drinks were a freshly squeezed orange juice for me, while a Green One mixed juice and a Pink One smoothie (both £3.95) provided extra goodness for SO and The Younger. So that is at least one way of getting vitamins and minerals in her as, while she is trying, it doesn’t look like we’re weaning her off kids cuisine just yet.
But good luck to anyone sticking to a new year promise. And if it’s healthy food you’re after, you know where to go. Eat in or out, you can even shake it all about at home (every bit of exercise helps!) with their meal prep service.
So there’s no excuse for any of us not to have a Lean and Green 2020.
Lean & Green, Water Street, Chorley
Tel: 01257 279691
Five More To Try
Town House Coffee & Brew Bar - Based on Friargate in Preston city centre, Town
House is a double award winning coffee shop offering a healthier menu with a warm welcome.
Replenish Kitchen - Lancaster’s first clean fast food restaurant and takeaway offering clean breakfasts, protein packed salad boxes and wraps and burgers.
Ocean Cafe - Ocean Café opened in 2017 and offers nutritious, homemade food from their beachside location on St Annes promenade.
Fortitude Fuel - Poulton’s leading health bar and takeaway special-ising in healthy food, drinks and supplements, plus daily and weekly meal prep options
Freedom Organics Ltd - Organic vegan whole-foods store and cafe on Duckworth Street in Darwen. Soups, salads, cakes, raw treats, raw cold-pressed juice and more.