Another day, another lunch hour, and if you spent a significant chunk of yours puzzling over a nutritional label in a supermarket aisle or quizzing a waitress on fat percentages, perhaps you should be asking instead: when did eating healthy become so complicated?
Maybe it was at the point that low fat labels became high sugar warnings, or when carbs were deemed the new calories. Then gluten was the new carb, then clean eating the new paleo, and all of a sudden you find yourself eyeballing a boiled egg wondering if it will lead to an early death.
City-based personal trainer Bradley Hill saw first hand our confusion about food; his clients lamenting over a lack of energy from their pre-packaged ‘healthy’ meals or guiltily admitting to scoffing four chocolate biscuits following a bland or boring salad.
So much so, he used it as the basis for Simple Health Kitchen, a new City eatery that makes a meal out of going back to basics. “I used to tell my clients, just eat how your grandmother used to cook,” he says. “Pick a carb, a protein, plenty of veggies and make sure there’s lots of variety so you don’t get bored.”
To that end, Simple Health diners have a choice from 11 hearty salads, a flavour-packed slab of protein and a range of colourful sauces, which they can mix and match into a tasty lunch box of nutritional goodness.
The concept itself isn’t all that revolutionary – in fact, your grandmother is probably feeling pretty smug right about now – but Simple Health Kitchen remains a refreshing alternative to the same-old healthy fast food options that often come with a side of preservatives.
Feeling virtuous on a Monday? Go for kale and rainbow chard in a basil dressing and Sicilian salmon. For a midweek protein hit, throw a black and brown rice combo in with your turkey burger and sweeten it up with a beetroot and tahini salad. As for Friday, treat yourself with sweet potato wedges and a chicken breast swimming in Peri Peri spices.
Early birds can start the day off right with porridge, fresh juices and smoothies, and there is also a veritable slew of afternoon snacks to see you through until dinner – brownies, cookies, flapjacks and raw chocolate snacks that deliver the mid-afternoon sugar hit without the guilt.
By ditching refined sugars for natural sweeteners like coconut sugar and cacao powder and replacing starchy white flour with its gluten-free counterpart, Bradley and his team have managed to keep all of the sweet treats gluten-free without compromising on taste – it’s all about balance after all.
“You can exist on super healthy food, but you hate your life,” says Bradley, who speaks from experience as a former fitness model.
“Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be kale and spinach all the time either. It’s about stripping everything back and creating dishes based around nourishing, hearty foods that you enjoy.” Sounds pretty simple to us.
Simple Health Kitchen, 73a Watling Street EC4M 9BJ