My mission? To see if it's possible to enjoy a date night in January when you're supposed to be watching those calories and eating plenty of the green stuff. Simon and I are both trying to drop a few lbs at the moment ahead of our Honeymoon in March so I knew he'd be up for the challenge.
Our evening began at Giraffe World Kitchen where they have seven smoothies on their menu to help you along your way to getting your five a day. For those fully dedicated to the cause the Green Canyon (curly kale, banana, spinach and apple juice) is spot on, or for those of that prefer things a little on the sweeter side the Sunrise (orange, banana and strawberry) and Mango Lassi (mango, yoghurt and apple juice) are so good.
When it comes to eating out there's plenty of choice at Intu Eldon Square, especially wth the opening of the brand new Grey's Quarter. You may be surprised to hear that many of the restaurants you'll find in the Mall offer healthy alternatives, comprehensive nutrition guides and staff who are only happy to advise you on ways to make dishes a little healthier.
We decided to try our luck at Eldon Square's newbie resident, Tortilla. Simon and I both love burritos so I was interested to see how we could make one of our favourite indulgent meals a little healthier.
When we arrived we told the restaurant that we were keen to know about the healthier options on their menu and were really impressed when they handed us a little leaflet about Nutrition at Tortilla. Did you know that a Medium Chicken Burrito at Tortilla has just 12.2 g of fat and only 4.1 g of saturated fat? Even when it's fully loaded it contains less fat than the most common sandwiches in other well known sandwich chains!
At Tortilla you create your own burrito by picking out your Meal, Filling, Sides & Extras as you go along the counter, perfect if you're watching what you eat as you are in control of exactly what goes in. All of the fillings at Tortilla are fresh, all toppings are made from scratch and the guacamole is made from real Hass avocados.
I decided to majorly cut the calories by trying a Medium Naked Burrito (£5.20) - a delicious feast served in a bowl instead of on a tortilla. Believe me this was a very difficult decision for me, I love tortillas and the thought of having a bowl instead made me feel a little sad.
To make the Naked Burrito extra healthy you can opt for lettuce instead of rice but I decided that was just a step too far for me! So instead I asked for a small spoonful of coriander rice and plenty of lettuce. Being able to control my portion sizes was brilliant! With that I added Black Beans (packed with plenty of protein) Grilled Chicken (the healthiest meat option), Onions and Peppers and Sweetcorn Salsa. The thought of having no cheese at all was just too much so I asked for a tiny sprinkling but managed to say no to my other favourite thing, Sour Cream (sob!). I finished my bowl with a shot of Guacamole (80p).
I was impressed at how good my dish looked, it was the most beautiful rainbow colour, something that the experts say makes a pretty well balanced and healthy dish. Amazingly this mammoth feast came to just over 400 calories! Not bad at all!
You might be wondering how on earth I know the calorie content of something I've created myself and that's because they have a very handy build your own burrito nutrition checker on the website which allows you to calculate the calories along with the amount of fat, carbs, protein and salt that is included in your meal! Ideal if you are watching what you eat.
Digging into my bowl I was impressed at how good it tasted and I'd even say that I didn't really miss having a tortilla at all. The parts I really did miss though were the sour cream and cheese, it just wasn't quite the same without it!
So how did Simon do? He decided against having a bowl and instead teased me by building his burrito on a tortilla (£5.20). He made sensible decisions though and said no to sour cream and cheese! His burrito came in at just under 650 calories, far less than our meals out would normally be!
There are loads of things happening at Eldon Square this week to celebrate Newcastle Restaurant Week, check out the Food-elicious events and don't forget there are plenty of restaurants taking part in Restaurant Week. There's also a chance to win a £50 Intu gift card each month by tagging your photos on Instagram and Twitter with #intueldoneats. Read here for more information and terms and conditions
This post was written in collaboration with Intu Eldon Square - our meal was complimentary but all opinions are our own.