It’s January again, and your favourite City eateries are flogging super-healthy lunches. We tried them all so you don’t have to...
Vital Ingredient Immunity Booster
£6.25 Chicken, beetroot, sweetcorn, pomegranate, spinach. Carrot and apple dressing
Dishes like these give detoxing a bad name. Weird fruit and veg parings – pomegranate and sweetcorn anyone? – combined with an acrid apple and carrot dressing makes for a repellent pinkish mulch that you would only ever eat in January.
Pod Chicken Detox Box
£5.99 Chicken nori wrap, spinach, avocado, red cabbage, pickled ginger, green peas, edamame beans, shredded carrot, coriander
There’s self-denial and there’s self-flagellation. With rock-hard avocado and indeterminate tasteless blue stuff this is more the latter. You can’t fault it for healthiness, but does detoxing really have to be this joyless?
Leon Superclean Quinoa Pot
£1.95 Quinoa, semi-dried tomatoes, peas, cucumber, fresh mint, parsley
The semi-dried tomatoes can overpower what is otherwise a fresh-tasting pot of goodness. It’s great value for money, considering it’s full of pricey quinoa, and vegan to boot.
Mark’s and Spencer Crayfish with Noodles
£4.39 Crayfish, noodles, edamame beans, Asian roasted veg, soy and ginger dressing
This must be one of the lightest lunches around at 360 calories, but there’s not much of it either. There’s plenty of crayfish, but steer clear of the oversweet, gloopy soy and ginger dressing.
Itsu Hip, Humble and Healthy box
£4.79 Rice, edamame beans, seeds, avocado, herb dressing
Green vegetables, avocado and rice; not the most exciting lunch in the world, but a suprisingly satisfactory one, provided you slather it in healthy herb dressing and soy sauce. Though if you’re carb-phobic, the big splodge of white rice will hardly count as healthy.
Chop’d Healthy Chicken and Avocado salad
£4.95 Mixed leaf, Mexican bean mix,roast chicken, avocado, sunflower seeds,parsley.
This bucket-load of salad is full of tender roast chicken, but slightly stingy on the avocado. It could also do with a good shake to distribute the beans, but it’s sure to keep you full until dinner time.
Chilango Zero Carb Chicken Box
£3.60 Chicken, avocado, roasted veg
This one’s more for the gym bunnies than the fairweather January detoxers. It may have zero carbs but what it does have is grease. In abundance. It’s delicious though, with smoky tender chicken and creamy homemade guacamole. More of a treat than a diet option.
Fred’s Superfood Salad
£4.50 Feta, quinoa, hummus, avocado, pomegranate, beetroot
There’s something weirdly austere about this offering from Fred’s, the way the ingredients stand awkwardly next to each other avoiding eye-contact like commuters on a cramped tube. Come on guys, you’re a salad, so stop behaving like a sandwich. Still, you can’t go wrong with loads of hummus and feta, even if they bump up the calorie count to non-detox levels.
Tortilla Naked Burrito
£5.70 Grilled chicken, black beans, guacamole, mexican rice, salsa roja
This breadless burrito has nothing to be ashamed of. The smoky, salsa-smothered chicken was the best quality meat we encountered. It’s packed full of flavour, but also full of stodgy white rice.
Pret A Manger Super Food Salad
£4.50 Beetroot, cucumber, tomato, wild rice, french dressing.
Unlike humans, this salad is naughtier when dressed. Undressed, it’s as pious as you like, providing crunchy veg, wild rice, quinoa, beetroot and... boredom. But pour that half-pint of oily, mustardy, honey-ey liquid over the top, and it morphs into a delicious indulgent treat – but one that won’t help you get rid of that festive flubber.