AFTER months of enduring your own cooking, dining out still might feel like a novelty following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
But if you’re trying to lose weight or adopt a healthy lifestyle it can be hard to know what to choose when the waiter asks if you’re ready to order.
If you’re trying to lose weight but still want to eat out, there are plenty of options available to keep you on trackCredit: Getty
Whether it’s your favourite hot drink and sweet treat on the go or a well-deserved sit down dinner, some of our favourite meals are piled high with sugar and fat.
Around 24 per cent of people surveyed by NHS-backed healthy eating plan Second Nature said dining at a restaurant was their biggest summer diet challenge.
With that in mind, nutritionist Tamara Willner, reveals the worst offenders when it comes to eating out – and what dishes and drinks to opt for instead at your favourite eateries.
If you’re conscious of the calories then you can still enjoy McDonald’s, Tamara says.
When it comes to a Maccies it’s easy to consume nearly half of your day’s calorie count within one sitting.
But luckily Tamara has given her best picks so you can make sure you’re still lovin’ it whilst enjoying your meal.
Best: It might not come as a shock to some, but the Crispy Chicken Salad is the healthiest option, with 261 calories per serving.
The crispy chicken salad is one of the best options at McDonald’s for those watching their calorie count
Tamara said that this crispy chicken salad is full of fibre and relatively high in protein, both of which will keep you feeling fuller for longer along with being relatively low in carbohydrate compared to other options on the menu.
Worst: If you’ve got a sweet tooth in the morning and also want a coffee boost then you might opt for pancakes and a latte.
The pancakes and sausage with syrup would set you back 612 calories and a large toffee latte would be around 232 calories.
Tamara said: “Whilst it’s a truly comforting option, this combination includes around 70g of sugar and 127g of carbohydrate which equates to roughly two thirds and half of your recommended daily intake respectively!
“It’s not to say that they can’t be enjoyed occasionally, although it’s recommended to make these indulgent options an occasional enjoyment as opposed to a regular part of your diet.”
For the main meal the biggest offender is the Bacon Clubhouse Double with Large Fries at 1111 calories and the Large Vanilla Milkshake at 469 calories.
Again, it’s those with a sweet tooth that will pile up the calories in Costa – but you can have a nutrient packed lunch at the coffee chain.
Best: Pea and mint soup at 240 calories and Jasmine tea at just two calories.
“This soup is an ideal choice to get to your 5 a day and the protein will keep you satisfied as well as warm on a cold day.
“It’s also vegan too! If you’d like to up the protein and healthy fats, we suggest ordering a sachet of mixed nuts too”, Tamara said.
Worst: Carrot and walnut cake at 576 calories per serving and a regular Mint Choc Chip Frostino & cream at 457 calories.
Tamara said: “This frostino is like an indulgent dessert in a cup! It contains 43g sugar and 3/4 of our recommended saturated fat intake for the day.
“Remember, drinks contain energy which is where the hidden sugars are and can lead to weight gain and tooth decay.”
Try and steer clear of the sweet treats at Costa if you’re trying to eat wellCredit: Costa
Best: The Naked Katsu Kokoro Bowl at Wagamama is the best option for those counting calories and comes in at 607 calories. It includes brown rice which is also a great source of fibre, Tamara said.
“Packed with a hefty protein serving of 43g, including edamame beans and chicken, it is sure to help you feel satisfied”, she added.
Worst: A firm favourite for many, the Hot Chicken Katsu curry is the worst offender at 1140 calories and is also high in sugar and saturated fat.
Tamara said: “To reduce the carbohydrate content and increase the fibre, you could opt for brown rice instead. A dish to enjoy occasionally as part of a balanced diet.”
The Hot chicken Katsu is one of the worst offenders if you’re looking for a low calorie lunch or dinner
Best: Again, and no surprise here that the Super Zucca Salad at 572 calories is the best option to have at Zizzi as it is packed full of veggies and is a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Worst: Unfortunately for pizza lovers, the Pollo Rosso Rustica Pizza comes in at 1433 calories – but if your desperate for a pizza, you could opt for the “skinny pizza version” which replaces half the plate with salad.
But you can still enjoy the full pizza as part of a balanced diet, Tamara says.
Best: At Pret you should opt for the Tuna Nicoise Salad at 455 calories and the Peppermint tea at zero calories as Tamara says this is a well balanced meal.
Worst: Those with a sweet tooth don’t fair too well at Pret and the worst offenders are the double berry muffin at 441 calories and the chocolate shake at 439 calories which also has over 60g of sugar – for both you’re looking at 91g of sugar.
Best: Tamara said the best option is the Chargrilled Chicken, Mixed Grain & Pesto Salad at 265 calories.
She said it is a well balanced meal that contains a decent helping of protein.
Worst: Carrot Cake is one of the worst options at Caffe Nero at 541 calories – alongside the Caramelatte at 417 calories.
Tamara said: “Although carrot cake may contain vegetables, this slice is far from healthy. Laden with refined carbohydrates, a single slice contains 1.5 times the recommended daily allowance for sugar.
“Teamed with Caramelatte, it’s a truly indulgent combination coming in at a whopping 958 calories and more than 83g of sugar, almost three times the recommended daily allowance.”
PANDEMIC POUNDS: Brits feel anxious about their weight post-Covid lockdowns, research says
A quarter of people admit to feeling anxious about socialising again because they’ve put on weight over the past year – with 9% having piled on more than a stone.
Chocolate, biscuits, alcohol, takeaways and sweets are all to blame as the nation’s favourite lockdown ‘treats’, a survey by Second Nature revealed.
It found 14 per cent of 2,000 UK-based adults are worried about eating and drinking too much at social events this summer.
When asked how much weight they wanted to lose by 21 June, 20 per cent of people said 2-4kg, 15 per cent answered more than 6kg and 14 per cent said 4-6kg, while 15 per cent said 1-2kg.
Some admitted to exercising excessively (21 per cent), others are skipping meals (15%), while 9% are resorting to diet pills – and 9% are planning on undergoing surgery.
Pre-lockdown, holidays (28 per cent) were named as the biggest challenge when sticking to a summer diet, followed by eating at a restaurant (24 per cent), going to parties, BBQs or social gatherings (22 per cent), when alcohol is involved (22 per cent) and when at home watching TV (20 per cent) as the biggest challenge to a summer diet.
Best: We all love a cheeky Nando’s and the best way to enjoy it, Tamara says, is with a grilled chicken breast with mixed side salad at 522 calories.
She said: “Opting for a tasty, high protein, low sugar choice such as chicken breast and adding a side of veggies will help you stay satisfied for much longer and ensure your body gets plenty of essential nutrients to fuel your day. You won’t even miss the wrap.”
Worst: Surprisingly the worst offender at Nandos is one of the veggie options.
The beanie wrap and peri-salted fries and perinaise comes in at 1271 calories.
Best: Tamara said you can still enjoy a pizza, just opt for the lighter options, such as the leggera wholemeal pollo forza Pizza at 578 calories.
She explained: “Being made on a wholemeal base offers complex carbohydrates along with the protein from the chicken both help regulate blood sugar levels.
“The accompanying salad makes for a nutritious, satisfying and tasty meal without compromise and you leave feeling comfortably full.”
Worst: The Calabrese Pizza is the worst offender at 1275 calories.
Tamara said: “This pizza offering contains a whopping 150 per cent intake of our saturated fat for the day, as well as almost 5tsp sugar.
“The carbs and the processed meat will leave you feeling sluggish after polishing this off. “
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