Grab and go food in London – 5 easy wins

Pret

Top of the list because they are absolutely everywhere in London. And they provide “Freshly prepared, lovingly handmade food” i.e. simple ingredients you might use at home. I’m sure you could dig into the nutrition of a large chain and find something wrong if you really wanted to take down the globo café oppressors, but honestly life is too short. This is simple food in easy reach to anyone in Central London. Take it.   

Plus 50p off your coffee for using your reusable bottle. If you drink their black filter at 99p, that means a coffee in Central London, drink in, for 49p. Refreshing.

I’ve got a penchant for the Chefs Italian Salad (636kcal, 25g Protein, 11.4g Carbs), or the occasional  Tuna Nicoise salad (176kcal, 26.5g protein, 4g carbs) – without dressing, add 265kcal for the 45g serving of the Dijon dressing).

 

Itsu

A great variety of tsay options at 60 odd locations all over London gets Itsu on the list. Hot noodle pots, soups and rice dishes, salads, sushi and wraps. Itsu has the greatest range of healthy treats on this list.

Katsu Chicken pot'soup is more than soup! It is a meal (297kcal, 18.7g protein, 40g carbs). But this cultural translation issue is a win.

Lean Satay Chicken Salad is a winner for a low cal option (209kcal, 23g protein, 7.3g carbs) and The Humble Warrior packs more punch (408cal, 48.6g carbs, 13.7g protein). Though I’m not sure it’s humble to say you’re humble? Humble it properly, eat it.

 

Sushi (any sort)

Yes I’m being non-selective but this is a resource for you not a click bait list. Sushi is generally a good choice you can swap in for a sandwich if you want simple fish and vegetables with your carbs. It’s easy to pick up anywhere and eat on the go. Yes an actual sushi brand like Itsu, Wasabi or Yo Sushi will probably taste better than that made by a supermarket, but when you gots to eat quick you gots to buy quick.

If you’re happy to buy the slightly more expensive packs that’s where the real benefit is as you can choose one with more Sashimi, so that you can tip the macro balance of the meal to more protein. That might mean spending £6-9+ instead of £4-6 but it does help hit higher protein macros on the go.... e.g. 6 salmon Nigiri (189kcal, 14g protein, 18g carb).

 

M&S Salads

I feel safe when I walk in to M&S food hall. Maybe it’s because of the golden years of Marks & Sparks during my childhood, maybe it’s the more recent food porn of the “Not just any profiterole…” ads, maybe they just make good food for a supermarket…

Personal favourite is the Nutty Superfood Salad. I’m not vegetarian. It’s just tasty. But the crayfish and mango salad is damn good too and hearty enough with the wild rice to give it some long term energy chops. They have a very convenient habit of being in lots of train stations too. Smart cookies.

 

Eat

If you work in the City you are never far from an Eat. If you can get to one then we rubber stamp their Crayfish avocado salad (15g of protein and 388kcals with dressing, 189kcals without) and warming breakfast pots eg BBQ beans, egg, avo and feta, 389kcals of warm hug in a pot, 11g of protein and 34g of pretty complex carbs to get you through the morning.

 

Honourable Mentions

Scotch Egg – an honourable mention/confession goes to my mobile breakfast. Yes the meat is not great. Yes it’s a cold egg wrapped in sausage and breadcrumbs. But let’s keep it real, sometimes you’re running around like a mad person between early meetings/gym/stuff and a (relatively) non-messy protein heavy breakfast that involves eggs is what I ‘need’ to feel full. Not every day, ideally rarely. But it’s still a secret weapon. (1 egg, 265kcal, 11g Protein, 16g Carbs).

Leon, Tossed, every other supermarket salad, etc – I like them all I just thought the ones above would have the most impact for Londoners.

Ssssshhhh – sometimes I have a sandwich... Don’t. Tell. Anyone.

Local cafes - if you're venturing in to the scary unknown of a local cafe don't panic, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes with some brown toast will not kill you... or even throw off your macros. Just avoid fried eggs and be selective about the quality of meat you allow past your pearly whites. I order veggie fry ups with scrambled eggs, with a side of mayo and give zero extra thought to it.

 

 

James Hardy