If you pay real close attention to my IG account, then you would know that on Wednesday night myself and a plus one headed over to an event run by Eldon Square shopping centre in Newcastle- and that we got to feast. On healthy food. I literally don’t think I could’ve been more excited. My friend Iona and I were assigned Wagamama’s, and if you want to skip straight to the healthiest options from this restaurant, then scroll to the bottom of this post!
The idea of the event was that a group of us bloggers were split into two-person teams with our plus ones, and then were randomly assigned a restaurant in Grey’s Quarter to find the tastiest options for you guys. Slight disclaimer before I go any further: if you are going out for an occasional meal, then don’t worry about what you are eating. Enjoy it. Not enough health and fitness blogs highlight that to have a lasting, positive relationship with enjoying eating well and moving about, you have to have balance. This being said, for me personally, if I know I’m going to be eating out a lot in a short space of time, I always want to have some healthier options to fall back on: it keeps me feeling like I can function normally, and not morph into a food-coma-sloth. That is where this post comes in.
So, we kicked off the night at Giraffe with a smoothie making class. We tried every smoothie on the menu, and one of the mocktails, and the mango lassi. My top picks were the:
Mango Lassi- Creamy, but with a bit of a Greek yoghurt tang, and a wonderful mango colour and taste. If you try one smoothie, or even want a dessert alternative, then go for this.
Green Canyon– This is an acquired taste, and one for people who like veggies in their smoothie: spinach, kale, banana, and apple juice. Sweet from the banana and apple, kind of earthy from the spinach and kale.
Ginger Blast- I love ginger so of course I was going to like this one: ginger, pineapple, apple juice, elderflower cordial, banana.
Okay, then came the mystery restaurant we’d be eating at. I have been to Wagamama’s before, but this time we got a full run down of the menu’s best options, and our server Chris highlighted some dishes we wouldn’t previously have interpreted as the healthy options. We ordered:
- Grilled tuna: came with quinoa, kale, red peppers, red onion, and edamame beans, plus a miso cucumber and sesame seed salad. Tonnes of flavour, perfectly cooked tuna, and got me to that nicely full feeling (instead of those “healthy” options we know aren’t really so satisfying)
- Firecracker chicken : This also comes in prawn. Obviously, I’m not really into chicken, but I did try the veggies and the sauce. This is called the “firecracker” for a reason. The sauce contains hot chilli, along with mangetout, red and green peppers, and onion. Comes with steamed rice, shichimi, sesame seeds, and a wedge of fresh lime. Again, a really filling, satisfying option.
- Wok-Fried Greens: tenderstem broccoli and bok choi stir-fried in garlic and soy sauce. Simple, but really delicious, and a great way to bump up your intake of vegetables with the meal
- Steamed Yasai Gyoza: Get the steamed ones, with either the chicken or the veg filling, and you have a great healthy side. The vegetable ones are amazing, and the dipping sauce reminded me of a teriyaki marinade- you get loads, and so I poured some over my tuna, it was that good.
Obviously, another major benefit of Wagamama’s is how fast the food is. Think of it as a healthy, comforting, fast food. Brilliant if, as a student, you’ve been in the library all day and feel like splashing out on food you haven’t made. At the end of the evening I actually asked Chris if he would mind grabbing a menu and highlighting all of the healthy options for you guys to check out, and you can see them below. Some of them might surprise you. You can always get a healthy, but decent meal if you know who to ask:
- Edamame (these are a great source of protein)
- Wok-fried greens
- Lollipop prawn kushiyaki (prawn skewers with lemongrass, lime, and chilli- definitely getting these next time)
- Steamed gyoza, in either the chicken or veggie version (the pulled pork is higher in fat, if you are keeping tabs on this)
- Sirloin and shitake salad
- Itame curry (another one I want to try next time: rice noodles in a coconut and lemongrass soup, with loads of veggies, and either of chicken, prawn, or tofu & vegetable. This is also a dairy and gluten free option, if you’re looking for one)
- Teriyaki soba, with salmon
- Chicken ramen
- Seafood ramen
- Yasai ramen (you can ask for this without the eggs, and get extra mushrooms, if you are vegan. Chris did point out that the chefs are more than happy to make swaps like these, so don’t be afraid to ask!)
- Teriyaki donburi
- Grilled tuna
Also, for a bit more of an interesting drink then take a look at the juices: the ‘super green’ and the ‘positive’ juices are my favourites, but Chris also recommended the ‘raw’ juice, which is a little sweeter.
There you have it, the best options you can grab at Wagamama’s! A massive thank-you to the Intu Eldon Square team, and the Giraffe and Wagamama’s staff for a beautiful event.
The other bloggers will all be writing posts about their assigned restaurants, so if you want to know the healthier options from a few more eateries, then keep an eye on Intu Eldon Square’s social media feeds. As it is January, I know that a lot of you are trying to find a healthier way of eating that works for you- but it doesn’t have to mean cutting out social events with friends and family, and I hope that this post helps you with that!