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Time to hit up Harvester for dinner – then you’re possibly going to be wondering what to order. Becky Scholes’ guide to Harvester calories can help. It pinpoints all the choices on the Harvester Menu under 600 calories so you know exactly what to order and still meet your healthy eating goal.
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How Healthy is Harvester in the UK?
With over 150 UK pub restaurants and places to eat around the country, you’re never far from a Harvester restaurant but are they generally a healthy choice?
The Harvester has a really broad selection of meals, ranging from low calorie salads to belt-busting burgers.
They also have a ‘free’ salad bar included with most meals so you can, if you choose wisely, take the edge off your hunger with that before you eat your main meal.
Be mindful though that bread, pasta salad and potato salad are including in aforementioned salad bar – and those aren’t the most low-calorie options! Willpower may therefore be required!
I have often found it a very meat-orientated restaurant but they are increasingly providing more vegetarian and vegan options on their menu.
The Lowest Calorie Meal at Harvester
The Grilled Chicken Breast Salad from the Balanced Bowl selection is the lowest calorie meal at Harvester UK at 247 calories (1,039kj) per meal.
That’s actually too low and so to bump this up a bit, and add some carbohydrates, you could add the ‘on-the-side’ option of a jacket potato with a calorie count of 273 (1,147kj) which takes you to 520 for the meal. Or, try the Golden Rice and Beans at 230 calories (964kj) making it 477 calories for the whole meal.
The Importance of Side Dishes at Harvester
As you’re about to see, if you just order exactly what’s on the menu at Harvester, it’s going to be very difficult to come in under the 600 calories that the NHS say makes for a healthy meal – and, in many cases the reason is that everything comes served with chips, or another calorific side dish.
Now, we love a chip as much as the next person, but they can really bump up the calories of your meal. Thankfully Harvester offer an option to Swap, Upgrade or Add to the Side of your meal and, if you want to eat at Harvester and stick under 600 calories, you’re probably going to need to use it.
How much difference does it make? Well…
A standard portion of any of the chips (yes, including the Sweet Potato ones) at Harvester adds around 480 calories (2000kj) to your meal, swap that for Green Beans and Peas (at 92 calories 386kj) and you’ll drop the content of any chip-containing meal by around 390 calories (1638kj).
You don’t even just have to stick with veggies to bring things down significantly, here’s how the other sides stack up
Home-baked Jacked Potato – 273 calories (1147kj)
Home – baked Jacket Potato with Sour Cream – 349 calories (1466kj)
Mash – 185 calories (775kj)
Buttered Corn – 209 calories (876kj)
Golden Rice and Beans – 230 calories (964kj)
When it comes to the onion rings, run, run far away – they add another 752 calories (3159kj) to your dish!
And don’t forget you can load up at the salad bar as well – or instead of a carby side. Stick to just veggies and a drizzle of dressing and you won’t go far over another 100 calories (420kj).
The moral of this story is therefore, pick your sides at Harvester very carefully.
Lowest Calorie Tapas Style Starters at Harvester
The idea of tapas is that you get a few dishes and share amongst friends. Harvester recommend four dishes to serve two people.
The lowest calorie option is the Tomato and Basil Soup for 239 calories (1,005kj). It feels a bit of an odd choice for tapas, as how do you share it?! But a nice filling low calorie starter all the same.
If you were looking to select two dishes then the crispy fried salt and pepper calamari comes in at only slightly more calorific at 256 calories per portion (1,077kj) and then add the Potato Skins (without bacon) for 272 calories.
Lowest Calorie Flatbread at Harvester
Well, this is definitely not a category for low calorie finds! Especially as they’re on the lunch menu so you might not want to blow all your cals before 2pm.
The lowest calorie flatbread, as served on the menu, is a whopping 931 calories (3,911kj), for the Cajun Chicken breast wrap which comes served with chips.
If you want to stick to our under 600 calorie goal, lose the chips and add the Green Beans and Peas and you should be looking at around 541 calories for your meal.
Lowest Calorie Balanced Bowls at Harvester
This is more like it!
These tasty balanced bowls are advertised as two of your 5 a day, rich in vitamin C and folate, all for 650 calories or less!
This is where you’d find the lowest calorie meal of their whole menu, the Grilled Chicken Breast Salad at 247 calories (1,039kj) per portion.
The Halloumi salad bowl just squeaks over our 600 calorie limit at 615 calories (2548kj), but you’re fine with the Salmon (509 calories, 2138kj) and the Rump Steak, 487 calories (2047kj).
Lowest Calorie From The Grill at Harvester
I think we all know that the Grill part of a menu tends to be full of big meals. And this is by no means an exception here.
However, you CAN find a low-calorie meal in the Smoked BBQ Pork Belly, which is served with mashed potato, green beans and gravy.
This comes in at 453 calories (1,904kj) and is by far the lowest calorie meal in this section. It’s surprising, as pork belly is quite a fatty meat, and at one point I thought that number maybe, was just the calories of the meat itself, but, it doesn’t seem to say that on the nutritional info so, let’s go with it.
If you like the grill section, you might also want to check out our guide to Beefeater calories.
Lowest Calorie Harvester Classics at Harvester
There is nothing remotely low calorie in amongst these meaty classics. In fact they are all well over 1,000 calories per portion! The reason is that they all come with chips and onion rings – so, if you can bring yourself to leave those, you will lose at least 500, probably more like 600, calories.
The lowest calorie option is the 7oz Gammon which comes with grilled pineapple and a fried free-range egg,, and is a hefty 1,172 calories (4,921kj) per meal as served on the menu.
However, it comes with peas and tomatoes as well as the chips and onion rings so you might not miss those so much if you do leave them. Dump the chips and you’ll take that down to around 572 calories.
If you have a huge appetite, you’d actually be better off choosing the double up your gammon option which only adds 190 calories (although probably quite a lot of salt) and leaving the chips and onion rings.
Lowest Calorie Slow Cooked Ribs at Harvester
This one confuses me.
According to the current Harvester Nutritional Information the full rack of ribs has just 731 calories (3070kj) – and it comes with chips, coleslaw and buttered corn.
This is very unusual. A normal full rack of ribs, with a BBQ sauce, is around 1000 calories. The side dishes on this would be closer to 731 calories.
But, if you look later on the menu, they say you can add another half serve of ribs for just 64 calories.
This goes against everything I know about ribs. And, looking back at old Harvester information, their rib plates were 1316 calories.
But maybe Harvester have found a way to make their BBQ sauce really low in calories in which case this is a great choice if you lose the chips, but, I’m a bit worried there’s a typo on the information!
Lowest Calorie Steaks at Harvester
There’s a theme developing here, and it’s that the meat options at Harvester are not low calorie! But, hopefully you’re realising it’s not the fault of the meat itself
Fact is, unless you cook it in it’s own body weight of butter (and pour that on the top), a rump or sirloin steak is normally a pretty low-calorie choice on any menu. Even with the big 8-10oz serving size that you’ll get at Harvester.
But, all the options in this section are over 1,000 calories per meal, with the lowest calorie option being the 8oz Rump Steak at 1,101 calories (4,625kj).
To put that in perspective, if you buy it to add to a meal (?) 8oz of grilled rump steak solo is just 408 calories at Harvester. The 10oz Sirloin is 519 calories – even a 12oz rib eye, normally the fattiest and more calorific steak, is only 460 calories.
So, dump the chips and the fried onion nest, just focus on the peas, tomato, mushroom and you’re looking at a meal of around 500 calories for the rump; around 600 for the Sirloin and around 560 for the Rib Eye.
If you want to add sauce, the Peppercorn is the best option at 47 extra calories a serving.
We love a pub meal here at TWN – and if you do too, then you might want to check out our guide to pub calories. We’ve found out the lowest calorie meal at all of the main pub chains.
Lowest Calorie Chargrilled Skewers at Harvester
We’re starting to get into the relm of slightly more reasonable calories with the skewers, but even these are over 600 calories per portion.
The lowest calorie option is the Chicken BBQ Skewer at 649 calories (2,724kj). This is served with a flatbread, peppers, coleslaw and a side of your choice. The side is not included in those numbers.
Best advice here, don’t add the extra side and don’t worry about the extra 50 calories! Or, load up on super low calorie veggies from the salad bar and leave the slaw.
If you do want a more specific idea though, the skewer alone is 360 calories which means the sides add 380 calories.
Lowest Calorie Vegetarian and Vegan at Harvester
Don’t think you’ll escape calories by picking the veggie option – again most of them are over the 1000 calorie mark.
But, if you are after a less meaty meal then lowest calorie veggie option at Harvester is the Chilli Non-Carne (see what they did there?) which is made with vegan mince, jackfruit and golden rice.
This hearty meal comes in at a reasonable 546 calorie (2,295kj) per serving.
Lowest Calorie Burger at Harvester
Another section big on calories is the burgers, where the lowest calorie option is the Classic Burger – Chicken Burger at 1,141 calories (4793kj) or the vegan option, The Beyond Bean Burger.
You might think you were getting a healthy option by going for the vegan choice; however, this still racks up an incredible 1,151 calories (4,832kj) per meal.
I am really blown away by how many of these burgers actually approach 2,000 calories per meal. Even losing the chips isn’t going to save you there.
Lowest Calorie Chicken at Harvester UK
Chicken is low in calories, right? Sometimes, yes! And there are two low calorie options in this section of the menu (about time isn’t it!)
The Simply Chicken meal (289 calories, 1,214kj) is the lowest option. It comes served with a baked jacket potato, peas, green beans and chicken gravy – which I don’t think are included in that total, so you’ll need to add an extra 365 calories – 674 calories – if you want all of those.
If you want to drop that down, head to the ‘swap, upgrade and on the side’ selection which includes mash potato (185 calories, 775kj), steamed vegetables (92 calories, 384kj) or golden rice and beans (230 calories, 964kj). Swapping the Jacket Spud for any of those would bring you closer to, or even under our 600 calorie limit.
Chicken lovers – you might want to read out guide to Nando’s calories after this one. You’ll find out exactly how to order the lowest calorie combos in the famous chicken chain.
Lowest Calorie Fish at Harvester
Now I would really have thought the fish section would have at least one solid low-calorie option. But alas, it doesn’t.
The lowest calorie choice is the Simply Salmon at 880 calories – this comes with mash, vegetables and a rich buttery sauce – if you served the sauce on the side, you’d probably be closer to 600 calories.
Easier to adapt is the Salmon and Dill Fishcakes, at 994 calories (4,174kj) per meal. It comes with peas and chips – so guess what you need to do to lower things to closer to 600 calories?
Harvester Calories – The Summary
So, as you can see, there’s not a lot of very low calorie options on the Harvester Menu as it’s served, and to lower calories even close to our 600 calorie limit you definitely need to lose the chips – but we do like the way they usually offer at least one vegetable as a side dish – and you can also load up on salad so, you won’t go super hungry if you remove the chips.
So, there is everything you need to know about eating at Harvester UK. It is a very meat-orientated menu and a lot of the options are extremely high in calories. But with careful consideration it is definitely possible to have a delicious, filling meal for 600 calories or less at Harvester UK.
So do you have any further tricks for us to help reduce calories on the Harvester Menu – or do you just adopt the other healthy approach and eat a bit more lightly during the day and enjoy your night without worrying about it? Let us know in the comments.
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster, and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail, and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.