Manchester Airport provides at least one hope

Walking into Terminal One at Manchester Airport is a little daunting. Not least, finding that most of the cafes and restaurants are actually in the departure lounge so somewhere for a quick meeting on the landside is slightly problematic, also the ceiling on the ground floor entrance of terminal 1 is extremely low. Now what does that matter? I hear you ask. Well even for someone my height I had an overwhelming sensation that I either needed to duck or get out as quickly as possible.Manchester iStock_000019163518XSmall

Thankfully, Joe’s Kitchen was right there, just opposite Boots the chemist, and with a slightly less clinical low flying ceiling making a more conducive atmosphere to relaxing and discussing business.

In fact, a number of the tables were already filled with business colleagues who were deep in conversation or work related activities when I visited.  Out of the three restaurants on the ‘landside’ arrivals and check in on the ground floor, this appeared the best at catering for executive travel needs.

The menu featured several options, marked with a heart symbol and an indication of calorie content.  Alas no other nutritional information was supplied.  Although surprisingly, there no words of ‘lean, healthy or good for you’ in sight as other caterers have been tempted to include. Unlike other chain restaurants who dominate in so many airports, this one appears to have a chef with some inspiration and creativity towards the provision of healthier options.

At the top of the menu under Joe’s favourites, which according to ‘Joe’ were ‘comforting grub, sure to fill you up and make you smile!, were two ‘healthier options’. The first being Grilled Herby Chicken with only 450 calories if you choose it served with just lemon. This comes served with brown basmati rice and wilted spinach, both of which add fibre and a variety of nutrients such as iron, vitamin C, Niacin, thiamine Beta-carotene, zinc and potassium. There is also a choice of either house garlic or herb butter if you desire additional energy in the form of fat (not included in the 450 calories).

Joes Kitchen Lentil Cottage Pie 4The second option was Lentil and Spinach Cottage Pie, again at 450 calories, which also looked nutrient dense.  Lentils are particularly good sources of soluble fibre which might help to lower blood cholesterol, as well as having a high satiety value and low energy density. This is why they are generally recommended for countering some chronic health conditions. They are also a good source of many amino acids, although limited in two which are indispensable to our bodies, and subsequently often used as a preferred protein source for vegetarian based diets. The other ingredients listed included chickpeas, aubergine, cherry tomatoes, ragu sauce, topped with glazed parsnip and carrot mash.

Menu options not highlighted by a heart symbol and energy value, included Joe’s Homemade Burger, Chicken Burger, Freshly Battered Fish, Beef Chilli Bowl, Sausages & Mash and Ham Hock Cake. Every one of which, regardless of cooking method, appears to include fresh herbs and a combination of nutrient rich fresh produce.

Further down the menu under pasta, there was another ‘healthier’ choice indicated, ‘Spaghetti, Cherry Tomatoes and Basil’ at only 525 calories. The drizzle of olive oil and Italian hard cheese not only added a few extra calories, but also a little more taste and additional nutrients at little expense of health. Those requiring less energy could always request to hold the olive oil and add the cheese themselves if so desired.

Under salads was a fourth choice of ‘Spinach Salad’ at 450 calories which comprised of mixed mushrooms, roasted yellow and red peppers, avocado, tomatoes, artichoke, croutons & roasted pine nuts and of course spinach. Easy to see that this was packed full of goodness. Joe’s house dressing topped the salad, but there was little to indicate what Joe’s dressing comprised. I’m assuming it was included in the total energy content, but you can always reduce the calorific value by requesting for it to be served on the side and adding it as wished.

Lastly, one option which would make my husband chuckle with delight was the Fish Finger Sandwich at 575 calories, served with gem lettuce, tartar sauce and a pot of tomato ketchup. I wish he was with me now so I can see his face as it’s not every day a childhood favourite becomes not only socially acceptable but also indicative of something that might be of some value.

Sadly, there were no appetisers or desserts indicated with a symbol and energy value. This is probably where Joe’s Kitchen is missing a trick or two. As had they also included a starter or dessert in the options highlighted on their menu then they would be likely to increase the purchases of such items as customers tend to mix and match, or save and swap the options with energy values attached.Joes Kitchen Avocado on sourdough 2

Fortunately when the delightful waitress came over to take my order, I choose not only the Lentil and Spinach Cottage Pie, but also at her prompting a starter of Avocado, Tomato Salsa and Hummus on Sourdough. The combination of sour dough topped with hummus, avocado, cherry tomato salsa and mixed seeds, with herb proved to be a great choice as it was extremely fresh, fabulous tasting and full of nutrients.

Equally the cottage pie was a good choice for similar reasons. However, the combination of the two items were extremely filling and with the vegetable of peas and mange tout with butter served on the side of the cottage pie (which I’m sure must have been additional energy), I simply couldn’t finish the meal. Talk about satiety value!

I’m thankful that as a customer I am served innovative, fresh, nutritious food, which unlike many other airport competitor chains was satisfying to the extreme.

©  Extravitality 2014

 

 

Kathy Lewis, R.Nutr, BCApSc, MSc, MBA,
Author: Kathy Lewis, R.Nutr, BCApSc, MSc, MBA,
Kathy Lewis, Consultancy Director, enjoys a multidisciplinary career based on a portfolio of achievement.  Kathy is a Management Consultant for Executive Travel Wellbeing and Stress, Health Promotion Specialist, Consultant Nutritionist (Registered Nutritionist and World Public Health Nutritionist) and a Chartered Marketer with over 25 years of experience.   Her specialist areas include executive stress and wellbeing (including jet-lag and travel wellness),  travel nutrition, travel policies, corporate vitality, employee engagement, marketing and internal communications. Kathy holds several relevant degrees, Masters in Applied Psychology (MSc) with distinction for her research in Executive stress and maladaptive coping behaviours looking specifically at clinical work-based stress and the impact on healthy lifestyles, Masters in Business Administration (MBA), with distinctions achieved in Management Accounts, Statistics and Project Management, completed with a research-based dissertation in the marketing of healthy options in catering establishments, and a Bachelor degree in Nutrition and Food Science.Over the last 25 years, Kathy has worked as a consultant and advised in various industries, from travel, health and food to financial services and telecommunications, on nutrition, executive wellbeing, workplace health, change management, internal communications and employee engagement. She has worked with a variety of clients across local government, NHS, educational institutes, NGO’s, national and multinational companies. As a Management Consultant (post-MBA) Kathy was required to travel to several locations each week and in 2002 began her masters in Applied Psychology (& Health Promotion) as a result of observing the stress in senior managers.  She was awarded a distinction for both her research on work-related stress and maladaptive behaviours and her course work.  Prior to this, Kathy spent many years working with catering establishments to provide healthy options, and prior to this working in diet and fitness centres, following her degree in Human Nutrition and Food Science in 1989.   Combining all areas of experience and expertise was the obvious way forward, and subsequently founded the concept of business travel vitality and wellbeing. Kathy is a former Consulting Editor for Readers Digest Association Inc (USA) and Readers’ Digest UK (Vivat), as well as the former founding Non-Executive Editor for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Food, Drink and Agriculture group. As an author, she has written a number of publications and a variety of articles in consumer publications and professional journals, with guest media appearances on a number of radio shows, including the BBC, London and regional radio.  She enjoys public speaking on a range of topics and is a regular speaker at professional events. Kathy is also the Vice Chair of The Caroline Walker Trust, Founder of the International Forum for Health Promotion and Education, a board advisor for the Tessa Sanderson Foundation and Academy, the Vice-Chair/former Chair for the Financial Services Board at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, former Trustee/Non-Executive Director for the Association of MBA’s (where she chaired the Governance Committee and was a member of the HR Committee and Strategic Working Party), former Honorary Secretary for the Institute of Health Promotion and Education, a founding Council Member of the Association for Nutrition. Kathy was also a committee member for the Food, Drink and Agriculture group at the Chartered Insitute of Marketing and a current Non-Executive Director at NZ Engineering. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Association of MBAs, Institute for Travel Management, Association for Woman Travel Executives, Nutrition Society, SENSE, World Public Health Nutrition Association, Association for Nutrition (UK) and International Travel Writers Alliance.  She is a former member of the Institute Institute of Directors, Royal Society of Arts and Institute of Health Promotion and Education.

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