Here at Predator we know our customers take great care in their diet and that eating out can sometimes prove problematic. One diet we know can prove especially difficult is the low-carb diet, yet it’s become increasingly popular in recent years. There are many reasons why people decide to switch to a low-carb diet, including:
- Rapid weight loss – normally within two weeks.
- Restful sleep, more energy and reduced appetite.
- You ‘feel full’ quicker, reducing total calorie consumption.
- Reduced blood sugar and insulin levels, with a significant improvement in Type 2 diabetes sufferers.
- Increased HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol) and reduced LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol)
Following a low-carb lifestyle when cooking at home is relatively straightforward, but finding restaurants that cater for low-carbers can be tricky. As we are based in Leeds, we decided to create a low-carb guide to eating out in the city. To help you easily locate low-carb places in your area, we’ve included an interactive map:
View Low-carb eating in Leeds in a larger map
Do Thai food and a low-carb diet really go together? Ban Kaewkraikhot, the owner of Leeds-based restaurant Sukhothai, tells us why such a diet does not mean the end of enjoying tasty Thai food…
Following a low carbohydrate diet can be hard and can usually involve limiting yourself to a diet that consists of vast amounts of meat and vegetables and very little in the way of things such as pasta, rice or bread.
However, enjoying Thai cuisine is a great way to explore some of amazing tastes AND keep a check on the carbohydrates while you are at it!
This is because Thai food is big on the use of vegetables in many of its dishes, but it also goes a bit easier on typically high-carb foods such as noodles and rice than other variations of Asian cuisine.
The trick is, of course, to know what to look for when dining out ‘Thai Style’…
Exciting low-carb Starters
You think Thai food; you might think deep-fried. Well, Ban is the first to admit that some dishes are probably not for the ‘carb watchers’ out there. However, two things that Thai food has in its locker are versatility and variety!
A perfect low-carbohydrate starter is Scallop Gratium Prik Thai – stir-fried scallops with garlic and pepper – or, if scallops aren’t your thing, how about Hoy Op? Mussels steamed with Thai herbs and a spicy Thai sauce.
Away from seafood, Sai Oua is a Thai sausage, featuring minced pork with red curry paste and lime leaves.
Thai Soups & Salads
Thai soups and salads are often incredibly tasty low-carb options and just happen to contain an abundance of key vitamins and minerals.
Tom Yum Gung is a great example that includes prawns, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, tomato, onion and mushrooms – it packs a spice too, with fresh chilli lurking in the mix!
Poh Taek is another punch-packing option that includes low-carb faves, such as mixed seafood, herbs and spices.
Or try Ban’s own ‘sexy salad’ – Som Tum – featuring shredded papaya, carrot, tomato, chillis, peanuts and dried shrimps.
What main course should I choose?
Surprisingly, the majority of Thai mains are low-carb options. For example, many duck and chicken options are very low in carbohydrates and feature loads of vegetables and spicy peppers, which are also low on the carb scale.
– Pad Prik with your meat of choice (available with chicken, pork, beef or lamb) and stir-fried with fresh chilli, spring onion, bamboo shoots, carrot and onion, is a fabulous dish to sample.
– Yum Nua Yang is an amazingly low-carb dish featuring chargrilled sirloin steak, sliced and tossed in a spicy salad with chilli, tomato, and onion and lemon juice. Just yummy!
– Phed Pad Broccoli, featuring stir-fried duck with broccoli, onion and carrot.
Or, opt for a fish dish, Pla Neung Manow – sea bass, steamed with Chinese leaf, chilli, coriander, lemon and garlic:
Alternatively Pad Pak Ruam which is a mixed vegetable dish with a choice of prawns or squid, stir-fried in oyster sauce:
Another seafood dish is Gung Prik Gluea (below) – Large king prawns, dusted in flour, deep-fried and smothered with rice wine sauce, chilli, a pinch of salt, onion, spring onion and black pepper.
Don’t forget that whilst Thai cuisine is heavily based around meat ingredients, it also has a vast array of vegetarian-friendly dishes too.
Pad Poy Sien fuses shiitake mushrooms, celery, Chinese leaf, bean sprouts, onions and mange-tout in a soy sauce, with optional bean thread noodles or maybe the less complex Pad Ga Prao Pak – simply stir-fried mixed vegetables, bean curd, basil and chilli.
So there are just a few examples of why you shouldn’t discount Thai food, whether you are on a strict low-carb diet or just watching them.
Sukhothai pride themselves in being able to adapt the dishes to individual requirements and all its staff know the menu well enough to advise you upon the right dishes – whatever the dietary requirement! If you would like more information about Sukhothai, its restaurants or its menus, please visit www.sukhothai.co.uk.
Let Arc inspire you!
Leeds based Arc Inspirations, who own and manage ten award winning bars and restaurants across Yorkshire, has always included healthy options and energising dishes within their menus. Many of their healthy dishes, which include low GI, low-carb and gluten free options, have become favourites for customers who are looking for a boost of energy but without additional carbs. Many dishes also evolved through the close relationship Arc Inspirations enjoy with the Leeds Rhino Rugby League and England’s Rugby Union teams. Sport is in their blood and a balance of eating well and sustaining energy levels are key elements in the development of their healthy dishes.
The menus constantly evolve to maintain interest and from the beginning of this year, their locations now offer the brand new ‘Super Food Menu’ to add to their healthy eating portfolio. Executive Chef, John Richold teamed up with renowned local chef Anthony Flinn to create a selection of new dishes using ingredients from the Top 50 Super Food list. The dishes are proving popular with all their customers and offer a healthy but substantial alternative. Quinoa, bulgur wheat and green vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, pak choi and seaweed, provide vitamins and minerals to boost energy and well-being, are cleverly combined with protein and fibre to create a range of well-balanced and delicious dishes. Customers can choose their own meat, fish or vegetable main and add a super food salad to create their own healthy dish. The key to Arc Inspirations is that their healthy menus provide choice, and combined with their existing low-carb, low fat and low GI dishes, customers seem to enjoy the variety.
John Richold explains: “We understand that our customers expect the best and we didn’t want to provide dishes that didn’t satisfy or deliver on taste. We have managed to balance these elements and create some outstanding dishes for everyone, for those who want to manage their food intake, and for those who just want to try something new. We don’t do ‘bird-seed,’ we do satisfying, energising dishes that work for all.”
The CrossFit burger is a mainstay on the menu and continues to be one of their best sellers. The relationship with CrossFit stems from Managing Director Martin Wolstencroft’s love of this mix of exercise disciplines. It’s the perfect balance of improving strength, general fitness and learning new skills.
The CrossFit burger (below) fits with the philosophy by providing protein from locally sourced high quality meat, energy from the sweet potato wedges which replace the traditional bun, accompanied by a fried egg and cheese, served with an avocado and crisp bacon salad. It’s the perfect combination and boosts energy levels when the going gets tough.
Favourite dishes will remain on the menus and with John’s now famous traditional American style of cooking, which involves long and slow cooking over American hardwoods and char broiling meat to create distinctively flavoured and tenderised meat and fish, the team are putting Arc Inspirations on the culinary map nationwide.
Low-carb dishes include:
Salmon and sweet potato fish cake and super food green salad, which includes a vibrant salad loaded with broccoli, kale, pak choi, sea weed, sesame seeds and a drizzle of chilli and balsamic oil.
– CrossFit Leeds Ultimate Brekkie. Designed by the friends at CrossFit, Leeds. Sweet potato hash browns topped with spinach, crispy bacon, poached eggs and fresh avocado and tomato salsas.
– King Kong Kirke. Leeds Rhino Ian Kirke’s very own creation Two homemade burgers topped with Monterey Jack cheese, mixed house salad, tzatziki and sweet potato wedges.
– Caveman Salad. Chargrilled sliced steak on a mixed leaf, cherry tomato, cucumber, red onion & roast pepper salad, drizzled lightly with balsamic dressing.
– Cajun Chicken Salad. Cajun chicken breast served with our fresh garden salad, boiled egg and buttermilk dressing.
– El Ferino Fajita Salad. Cajun spiced chicken with peppers and onions served with a large house salad, homemade tomato and avocado salsas.
– JP’s Double Indonesian Burger. Two homemade Indonesian spiced burgers served with sweet potato wedges, crisp oriental salad and low fat satay crème fraiche. Inspired by Leeds Rhino Jamie Peacock.
For more information, why not visit the Arc inspirations website.
Another type of gastronomy well-suited to the low-carb lifestyle is Greek food. Greek cuisine offers a fine selection of light, low-carb dishes that can be mixed and matched in a tapas style. Meatballs, kebabs and chargrilled meat and fish and be mixed with feta, fresh herbs and Greek salad to provide a bespoke low-carb feast. If you haven’t considered Greek food as a low-carb choice when eating out, we’d strongly recommend checking it out.
In Leeds one of the largest chains of Greek restaurants belongs the Olive Tree group. With over 30 years in the industry and restaurants in Chapel Allerton, Headingley and Rodley, the Olive Tree is well worth a visit. The group also owns Gorgio’s restaurant in Headingley, which is also a great low-carb place.
All restaurants in the chain off some fantastic low-carb delights, such as:
– Solomos (char-grilled salmon).
– Kota Rignati (Chicken fillet marinated in olive oil, lime juice & herbs then char-grilled with oregano).
– Keftedes (lamb meatballs).
– Kota Souvlaki (chicken kebab).
– Horiatiki Salada (Greek salad).
For information contact the Olive Tree: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope this guide has been useful to any low-carb (and Paleo) diners in Leeds. If you are a local low-carber with more suggestions, or a restaurant that would like to be featured in the next edition, please contact Matthew@predatornutrition.com.
Although this edition focuses on Leeds, we’re already looking at branching out and exploring other cities!
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