Hi, I’m Molly (@healthy_happy_molly on Instagram). I rejoined WW after having my daughter and in total lost 65lbs in less than a year for my wedding!
I have always loved eating out, and one of the reasons I chose WW over other plans is that I think it’s so easy to eat out and stay on plan.
With that in mind, here are my top tips for staying on plan whilst out and about:
I always try to check out the menu beforehand so I have plenty of time to decide what I’m going to order. Many restaurants are listed in the WW app, and I also like to use the ‘Eat Out guide’ (available in the online WW shop) to see a full list - that way I can work out the SmartPoints® value of my meal in advance.
If a specific restaurant isn’t listed, then I just search for similar dishes and estimate the SmartPoints value.
It’s always worth checking SmartPoint values before eating. Don’t just assume the salad is the lower option (for example, at Pizza Express some of the salads are 24+ SmartPoints but the Leggera pizzas are approximately 13 SmartPoints - and personally I’d much rather enjoy a pizza and feel like I’m not missing out!).
Budget your SmartPoints
If I know I’m eating out in the evening I try to compensate slightly throughout the day by using fewer SmartPoints at breakfast and lunch. I make the most of ZeroPoint™ foods and ensure I fill up on vegetables/salad and lean protein such as eggs and fat free Greek yogurt to help me feeling full.
Arriving at a restaurant feeling too hungry can spell disaster for me - especially when there's a bread basket or a plate of prawn crackers on the table!
I often use my weekly SmartPoint allowance for eating out. Weeklies are there to be used! You can also earn FitPoints® from activity, which can be swapped for food.
Do your thing!
Don’t feel like you need to order three courses just because everyone else is. Sometimes I might order two starters instead of a starter and main. And often, I have a nice coffee instead of dessert.
Another thing I would say is, ditch the 'diet' mentality. Don’t feel like you need to have a plain chicken and a salad, or a jacket potato with beans if that will make you miserable. You are totally in control. The joy of WW Freestyle™ is that you can have whatever you want (so long as you pay attention to portion sizes and plan accordingly).
Decide what you want most - if desserts are your thing, plan to enjoy one, but perhaps forego a starter.
Make the menu work for you
Don’t be scared to ask for tweaks to the menu. Ask for salad dressing or sauces on the side so that you can control how much you have, ask whether things can be grilled or baked rather than fried, request a jacket or new potatoes instead of chips - the options are endless! Most sandwich options could be served as an open sandwich to reduce the amount of bread, or even as a salad.
You are the paying customer and most places will be happy to oblige. You have nothing to lose by asking. I often grovel and say “I’m so sorry to be a pain but could I please...” The worst they can say is no!
My favourite places to eat out
- Pizza Express - their Leggera range is generally low in SmartPoints values. I love the Leggera pizzas (approx 13SP) and the miniature desserts with coffee.
- Yo Sushi - menus clearly list calorie information (although do still check SmartPoints - protein may have more calories but be lower in SmartPoints). My favourite dishes are the gyoza (little Japanese dumplings, 4SP) and the chicken Katsu (6SP). Find out more about how SmartPoints are calculated.
- Nandos - my favourite on-plan meal is a butterfly chicken breast (skin removed) spicy rice and salad dressed in balsamic vinegar.
Eating at a friend's house
Again, don’t be afraid to ask for slight tweaks. There’s no reason why your loved ones shouldn’t support you and your goals!
Likewise, don’t feel pressure to eat just “to be polite”. Be prepared to say “no, thank you” to whatever you choose not to eat.
Even better, for social events, offer to take a dish or course so that you are in control over at least some of what is served.
On the road
Got a long car journey coming up? If you're able to take a packed lunch, that can really help you stay on plan. Having an emergency stash of WW snacks in my handbag and car boot has also helped me out many a time.
If you find yourself at a service station, the WW app or the Eat Out Guide are your friend. Popular chains like Costa Coffee are all listed. Marks & Spencer and Waitrose both have a range of healthy options. Subway is surprisingly low in SmartPoints if you pick carefully.
It’s even possible to stay on plan at somewhere like McDonalds - the wraps are generally quite low in SmartPoints, or you can order a small fries or a salad.
I would also advise staying hydrated. Often, thirst can be mistaken for hunger so it’s a good idea to carry a refillable water bottle with you.
If things don’t quite go to plan (or if you just choose to enjoy yourself) don’t beat yourself up afterwards. One meal and a few unplanned snacks don’t define your week, but thinking you’ve blown it and then continuing to eat rubbish for the sake of it might.