Firstly, lets start with New Years resolutions. To be honest I don't believe in them. Do they actually last past February? In 2016 I really nailed my fitness routine, running sometimes up to 4 times a week. But I still just ate whatever I fancied, which sometimes meant eating a chocolate bar for breakfast. But I've come to understand that what I fuel my body with also has an effect on how I feel. Now don't worry, I'm not going to start turning down glasses of champagne or chocolates. I'm just making more 'health conscious' decisions when I prepare my meals, or when I eat out with friends.
I was delighted when intu Eldon Square challenged me to eat healthy at one of their many restaurants, Pizza Express.
Of course I took my healthy eating partner along with me, my Mam. She was extremely sceptical if there would be anything healthy to eat at Pizza Express.
We were seated and browsed through the menu. Towards the end of last year, I gave up eating meat, which therefore automatically cuts a lot of the menu down to size for me.
To kick things off we got some olives 'for the table' which I basically ate.
These pitted olives were marinated with garlic cloves and pink pepper corns £2.80.
After a long debate about what we should start with, we both went for my favourite starter, buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad - £5.55 which was gluten free.
I drizzled balsamic vingar over the top of the basil and pesto dressing. It was absolutely delicious.
The mozzarella from Pizza Express is up there with the best I've ever tasted, and I've tried a lot of mozzarella.
Now you should know by now pizza is, without doubt my favourite food, and if I had to eat one cuisine for the rest of my life it would be Italian. Can you imagine how happy I was to hear that there was a pizza on the menu that was under 600 calories.
Let me tell you how it works. This is called Leggera, those who speak Italian will know that it means 'light'. So Pizza Express take one of their dough balls that they use for their pizza bases and half it, roll it out into a pizza shape, and then take the centre out. So the base of a leggera pizza looks like a polo mint. The mozzarella they use is a lighter one. The hole is filled with salad, using a light salad dressing. I went for the vegetarian option.
Leggera padana, £10.20, goats cheese, caramelised onions, spinach, red onion, tomato sauce and garlic oil. It was incredibly tasty. I'm sure this is the first time I've ever had a pizza with goats cheese and I would definitely have it again.
The salad in the middle of your pizza can be upgraded to Pizza Express' super food salad, which is packed with lentils, chickpeas, beans and rice for an extra £1.60. The salad is also available as a starter or a main course.
Mam went for risotto fresco which was gluten free.
Oak roasted, peppered salmon filet, garlic, fresh parsley in a creamy white wine risotto, with gran milano cheese £10.15.
Of course I had to order pudding, how could I say no?
I went for the chocolate brownie that was made with gluten free flour with ice cream £5.55.
I love chocolate brownie and this was delicious but extremely filling.
Mam had the vanilla cheesecake - £5.35. I know she really enjoyed it, as by the time I had managed to ask for a taste it had all gone.
The staff at Pizza Express were extremely friendly and helpful especially Mantas and Jan.
Good news for everyone that can't eat gluten. Pizza Express do gluten free classic pizzas and gluten free dough balls. The menu also clearly states what is gluten free, with GF symbol next to the food.
Mam was pleasantly surprised at the Pizza Express menu, and she said she would definitely go back to Pizza Express.
There, we have my first blog post for 2017, how is your year going so far? Have you made a resolution and will be sticking to it?
Eating Healthy at intu Eldon Square Newcastle
*This meal was complimentary for the purpose of my blog, as always my opinion remains my own.