As we all know, trying to find a Slimming World friendly restaurant is never easy.
Eating out with friends or family can sometimes feel more daunting than exciting.
Personally, if I've been having a great week so far and I'm eager to stick to the plan as much as possible then browsing through the menu only seems to concern me.
I'll be constantly thinking; "How much oil is that cooked in?" ... "In a cream sauce? What a shame!" ... "I wonder if they'll cut the fat off that?" ...
And you know what? It's okay to ask those things. It's okay to be conscious of what you're eating. After all, we're just eating healthily. It's not like we're asking for the world!
Earlier this week my family planned that we should go out for a meal as my sister was moving to Leeds University on the Friday and it's the last time we'll all be together until Christmas.
My parents had visited a Harvester Inn (The Old Castle in Salisbury) before and my mum said it was great. It's not the classiest place in the world and sure, it's a cheap, family restaurant. However, it was so easy to put a meal together without feeling too guilty on the SW Extra Easy plan!
This is the way the Harvester menu works:
You chose a meat (or a vegetarian or pasta dish)
The meat is usually served with a certain vegetable.
Then you pick from a side - For example, Jacket Potatoes, New Potatoes or Fries.
Extra Easy! See what I did there? ;)
I chose 'Simply Chicken' which is a skinless flame grilled chicken breast. On the menu it's served with green beans (but I hate those so I asked for peas instead!) and I had new potatoes for my side.
I double checked with the waiter that the chicken breast was skinless and definitely not cooked in oil. I also asked that I could have my potatoes and peas without the butter.
Harvester are famous for their unlimited salad bar and boy, I can tell you, it was a godsend!
I went up and got a bowl of superfree delights: lettuce, peppers, sweetcorn, red onion and even some cous cous!
This really bulked out my meal which did look a little on the sparce side when it came out but I suppose that's why they offer the pick 'n' mix style salad!
All in all, I was really impressed with Harvester.
My meal was pretty much syn-free (which is outstanding for a restaurant!) and I felt like I could enjoy my meal without feeling guilty. It was great to feel involved and as normal as everybody else. It does help that my mum and sisters are following SW too so we all supported each other and didn't get too tempted!
The staff were great and very accommodating. The food was cooked like we asked and there wasn't a drop of butter in sight!
No desert for any of us but to be honest I didn't even want one after having such a filling, healthy meal. I left feeling bloated but really good about what I'd eaten.
Harvester, you've got my seal of approval!
The whole meal being a cheap and cheerful £5.99 (I think.. it might have even been £4.99!) I can positively say it's great value for money!
Highly recommended. Will definitely go there again.
Some SW tips for eating out at Harvester:
What to choose from?
* Flame-grilled chicken breast (keep it a free food by removing the skin)
* Rump/sirloin/rib eye/fillet steak
* Lamb steak
* Gammon steak
* Flame-grilled salmon steak
* Grilled sea bass fillets
* Jacket potato
* Pilau rice
* Baby potatoes – ask for them with no butter (or butter on the side) so you control the Syns
* Corn on the cob – again ask for no butter
* Roasted flat mushrooms
Stock up on SuperFree food from the salad bar to bulk up your plate:
* Red and green peppers
* Grated carrot
Free Food favourites from the salad bar:
* Cous Cous
Low Syn options:
* Chickpea salad
* Pasta salad
Click here for Slimming World's Food Optimising Guide to eating at Harvester.
Click here to see the Harvester Menu.