With all the publicity and campaigns promoting healthy eating we are all aware of the choices we should be making. We are also encouraged to go to the gym or exercise more, drink more water, take more relaxation and to generally lead a more natural and healthy lifestyle. In reality, we know how difficult this can be. Modern life is stressful and many of us live life on the edge, much to the detriment of our health. One of the main reasons we do not eat healthy is lack of opportunity and, dare I say it, laziness.
I see many people on social media who go for a run or a swim and then pop into a takeaway on the way home. Surely this is defeating the whole idea of keeping healthy and getting fit? Exercise naturally makes us feel hungry, so the time directly after we have exercised is the time when we are likely to reach out for an unhealthy snack bar or ready meal. That is, unless there is something else available.
I am very lucky to be a member at David Lloyd Club in Harrogate, as never before have I been able to get fit and healthy and more importantly, STAY fit and healthy. This is perhaps the biggest issue most people have with joining a gym. They join for a few weeks and then quickly lose interest, either because they are bored (due to lack of variety in the gym) or because they have slipped back into an unhealthy lifestyle (which usually entails eating junk food.)
As I have written in previous blogs, this boredom and lack of interest NEVER happens for me at the David Lloyd Club as there is so much variety of classes and exercise. I previously wrote about the classes at the David Lloyd Club and if you missed it, you can read it here.
One of the positive things about being a member at David Lloyd Club is the fact that they have a fabulous cafe within the club. This is not some small pokey room serving coffee and a few biscuits! This is a properly managed cafe serving top quality healthy meals all prepared by their in house chefs. Today I want to let you know about their new food menu which was released just this month. The menus are regularly changed, although the key standard choices are usually kept on the menu continually.
I eat at the cafe regularly (at least twice a week) and so can give an honest report of what the food is like. The menu choice is as you would expect from a health club and is full of healthy meals. It can be seen from the menu that so much effort and thought has gone into EVERY meal. Ingredients such as omega seeds, pomegranate seeds and various healthy dressings are added to a lot of the meals. These meals are not ‘thrown together’ but they are prepared and presented in a way that you would see in a top class restaurant. The calorie count of each is dish is printed in the menu, so you can make a more informed choice.
So what can I recommend? Well, firstly the menu is so extensive that it is hard for me to pick a few of my favourites. Honestly, it is ALL that good. You can eat breakfast at the Club, anything from greek yoghurt topped with blueberries, bananas and maple syrup, right through to a traditional Club breakfast which is also served as a vegetarian or vegan option. For a main meal the choices are fabulous and I can honestly say I have tried most of these as we always have lunch at the Club on a weekend. Lighter options are available such as soup, sandwiches or jacket potatoes through to various pastas, grills, burgers, salads and even a yummy Penang vegetable Thai curry served with healthy brown rice.
Children are not left out in this fabulous range of meals and they have their own dedicated menu, including a ‘build your pizza’ choice which must be a winner. Healthy eating is still key in the children’s menu choices including such things as brown rice, salad, fresh vegetables and crudites on offer.
Of course no cafe based at a gym would be complete without the offer of fresh smoothies and protein shakes. These are all made to order and include such options as The Lean Green which includes spinach, kale, broccoli, mango, passion fruit, banana, spirulina, chlorella, whey protein and apple juice.
Gluten free options are also available in many of the meals and the Club are keen to stress that they have a special allergen menu which is available, highlighting the major allergens that are served in the cafe.
As I mentioned earlier, March has brought with it a fabulous new menu for the cafe. I couldn’t wait to try the new dishes on the menu and so I will list a few here to give you an idea of what is newly available.
Firstly one of my favourite all time meals is Tuna Nicoise. I am a huge fan of tuna and think it is a great healthy food choice. The Tuna Nicoise at the Club consists of tuna steak, mixed leaf salad, hard boiled egg, new potatoes, green beans, red onion, cherry tomatoes, black olives and a lemon dressing. And very nice it is too!
Next up is a new dish that I think will become a firm favourite, especially with my husband! The Mexican breakfast was created for the David Lloyd Clubs by a club member in Southampton. I think it is really nice to involve club members in creating new dishes and really says a lot about the Club. Plus this is a great dish. The Mexican comprises of toasted flatbread, with spicy tomato sauce, two poached eggs, avocado and grated cheese. Absolutely delicious.
My next choice is the smoked salmon brioche bun topped with avocado and a poached egg. I am really loving brioche buns at the moment and this is just my kind of meal. Perfect for lunch after a class or gym session.
Fish is always a healthy choice and I am starting to enjoy more fish, especially if it is cooked right. So this dish of harissa glazed cod really appealed to me. The dish comes with new potatoes, chorizo, mixed peppers, cherry tomatoes and green beans. A perfect healthy choice.
For my lunch today I had a dish from the small plates section of the menu. I had smashed avocado with mixed leaf salad, mixed peppers, pine nuts, chilli, lime and cherry tomatoes on toasted Khobez flatbread. It was absolutely delicious and a great choice if you want a smaller portion healthy meal.
My husband chose mushroom Benedict for his lunch which looked and tasted amazing. (Yes, I sneaked a little!) This consisted of flat mushrooms, two poached eggs and hollandaise sauce on a toasted wholemeal muffin.
So, there are just a few of my favourites from the current Spring / Summer menu at the David Lloyd Club. I have to say it is a joy to eat in the cafe after a class, workout or swim. Of course you can just pop in for a coffee after the gym, which is what we do, especially on an evening. My husband and I use this time to relax and catch up on the day’s news. The cafe is comfortable, roomy with plenty of comfortable chairs for you to relax, plus all the daily newspapers for you to read.
At the Club in Harrogate there is an adults only room which is perfect for working or quiet reading. I often use this room when I need more quiet time, although to be honest it never really gets over busy in the main section of the cafe. Plus there is a fabulous sitting out area around the tennis courts which is wonderful, particularly in good weather. It really does feel like you are on holiday and hard to believe you are in Harrogate.
Children are not left out and they have a dedicated section with toys and other activities. This is a REAL family club and it is wonderful to see families enjoying family time together while keeping fit and healthy.
For me the cafe facilities are a big part of our time at the gym. We very rarely use the gym and then dash off home. We prefer to eat there and relax as it adds to the whole experience of feeling good. The staff at the cafe are all wonderful, well trained in their duties, but more importantly they are all excellent in customer service and are a credit to the Club. The cafe is overall managed by Matt who is both professional and friendly and really makes the overall customer experience an excellent one.
In a world where many of us treat the gym experience as a hurried and uncomfortable hinderance to our busy day, I wonder if we should look at creating a more relaxed approach to the gym and exercise. This is where David Lloyd Club far outweighs its competitors. By providing excellent eating and social facilities they are encouraging us to be more relaxed and sociable. This almost creates a strong sense of community which is something that many other gyms and leisure venues just don’t have.
As a member of David Lloyd Club in Harrogate, I feel part of a community of like minded people. I have made many friends and honestly miss the Club when I am away on holiday. I believe having the added asset of a fabulous cafe and social area really improves this community feeling, which can only increase a person’s well being and overall health, both mental and physical.
I hope you have enjoyed this insight into this wonderful facility and the new menu at the Club. Hope I didn’t make you feel too hungry! If you fancy trying the facilities at the Club why not give them a call and arrange to have a look round? I will leave the link below.
Until next time dear friends