It’s a new year, so why not take on the challenge to give your lifestyle an overhaul and make healthier choices.

Only recently did Welsh Health Minister Mark Drake call for a ban on all junk food television adverts prior to the 9pm watershed. We turned to our own city and asked:  

“How healthy are we?”

Exercising personal choice when it comes to making decisions about our own diet is something that is both possible and potentially impossible. We are faced with an incredible range of choice. Which can be both liberating, yet also debilitating, paralysing our ability to make the choice that is right for us.

Jamie Oliver has long been an advocate of healthy eating — with his ‘Feed Me Better’ campaign launched in 2005, he took St Mary Redcliffe Primary School under his wing, following their progress since March 2014. Dedicated to emphasising the importance of healthy eating – especially for children and young people – with healthy eating habits becoming a way of life as adults – and making for a fitter, happier society in general.

Bristol Steiner School have a healthy eating policy in place, as they explain:

“We expect children to come to school having eaten a wholesome breakfast. A hungry child often cannot concentrate and in general, is less able to join fully with school life. Regarding food brought to school for break and lunch, we encourage “real foods” instead of highly processed foods which often contain substances which are thought to negatively influence a child’s mood. Our school rules forbid chewing gum, sweets, chocolate, chocolate covered biscuits and fizzy drinks.”

But what about those of us no longer of compulsory school age?! We’ve got our eye on these lovely, healthy restaurants, cafes and whole-food shops within Bristol – hopefully they’ll provoke some new year inspiration…

Wild Oats Natural Foods

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With staff who are recruited for their specialist knowledge, Wild Oats Wholefoods and Deli offer ethically sourced produce, free from chemicals and pesticides. Consciously stocking items that are both beneficial to health and not containing any of the nasties such as hydrogenated fats, Wild Oats is run by a dedicated team of experts and passionate foodies. They even provide dietary sheets to help make your decision making that bit easier – and their aim is to provide an alternative to the western world’s heavy reliance on processed foods. Supporting local farms and businesses, as well as trading fairly with the root of their company and its products, Wild Oats offer everything from natural skin care products to raw and super foods. We love their range of raw, savoury goods including sea tangle (kelp noodles) and gopals (raw nori power wraps).

Winter Pick-Me-Up  For an alternative to processed, high-sugar content chocolates, why not go for a raw cocoa alternative? Their Raw Health energy balls and the Raw Chocolate Company chocolate covered goji berries are a bite-sized blast of bliss.

Wild Oats Natural Foods are on Lower Redland Road, Bristol.

For more information: www.woats.co.uk

Earthbound

A family run business, established 14 years ago, Earthbound Foods is run by Pat and Martin Clark. Stocking fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, their produce is sourced locally from Bristol-based organic farms. Appealing more and more to the student population, and the desire to ‘eat clean’, Earthbound caters for changing tastes and attitudes.

One from the shelf  Known for its benefits to the immune system, honey contains anti-oxidants and is also renowned for its memory-boosting qualities. The honey bee is much underrated. Earthbound stock a whole range of raw honey – including the Manuka variety.

For more information, telephone: 0117 904 2260

Better Food

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This Deli combined Food Hall, situated on Whiteladies Road serves a colourful array of local and artisan cheeses, home-made soups and falafel – as well as an enviable range of marinaded goods. Supporting the local community, Better Food use produce from The Community Farm in Chew Magna. They stock a great range of coconut-based products, with coconut being renowned for its healthier-fats and ease with which the metabolic system can break it down. They are supportive of gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo diets.

Something to try Naturya Peruvian Maca – add to your meal for a pick-me-up.

For more information:  www.betterfood.co.uk

Maitreya

Serving seasonal, local, fresh produce, Maitreya offers inspiring vegetarian options. With chefs who clearly know their samphire from their spinach, both the daytime and evening menus are a delight to browse. Baked celeriac, walnut & Winchester roll, beetroot, chicory & apple vinaigrette is enough to get our appetites going.

Recipe Favourites Head to their website for inspiration and recipe ideas – from pan-fried courgette flowers stuffed with goats cheese to samphire fritters with fennel ceviche and lemon thyme dressing.

For more information:  http://www.cafemaitreya.co.uk

The Black Sheep

With the emphasis on using quality and seasonal ingredients, The Black Sheep on the vibrant Gloucester Road are specialists in catering for a whole range of dietary requirements. With vegan and vegetarian options as well as gluten-free cakes and treats, you can be safe in the knowledge that they use only the freshest, local produce from independent retailers including ScoupAway, 5 A Day, Joe’s Bakery and Oriental Market on Gloucester Road.

For more information:  www.theblacksheepcafe.co.uk

Bristol Health Hub

A community interest company, Bristol Health Hub aim to put healthy living at the heart of our community and everyday lives. A one-stop shop that offers a unique combination of accessible treatments and education, customer-friendly information about health and wellbeing and a vibrant organic café. Serving nourishing foods from their cafe, you will leave feeling revived and regenerated. From smoothies, super-juices and speciality brunches, to niche products such as buckwheat granola and pro-biotic rich products.

We love Their Power Brunchproviding good fats and proteins to sustain energy levels and prevent mid-morning cravings.

For more information:  www.bristolhealthhub.com

Cafe Kino

A favourite on Bristol’s buzzing Gloucester Road, this vegan-friendly cafe is a non-profit organisation offering homemade dishes that are sure to leave you feeling satisfied and filled with energy for the winter months. Relishes made from scratch, chips cut by hand and with everything 100% free of animal derivatives, this is one of the purest dining experiences you can find. Cake Kino also hold regular events including live music, and charity appeal fundraisers. They are open 7 days a week.

For more information:  www.cafe-kino.com