Whether it’s burgers, coffee shops, pub grub or even cinema popcorn, we look at how to eat out
WeightWatchers has changed, and with the new Smart Points comes a new way of eating and drinking.
For those who have been used to the old system it can be tricky, but you can still eat out.
SmartPoints takes into account calories, protein, saturated fat and sugar, and the scientists behind it say it can guide you towards choices that are higher in lean proteins and lower in saturated fat and sugar.
Like the old system, No food is forbidden and all food is on the menu – you can still eat what you want, but maybe just not as much of it. You have a personalised budget to spend on your food and drink choices and it’s up to you what to spend your budget on. Most fruits and vegetables are still no points so you can fill up on these healthy and filling choices.
Eating at home is fine, but sooner or later we all need to go out and have some fun. So how many Smart Points are in popular items in Merseyside restaurants, coffee shops and even cinemas?
Coffee shops are a popular choice for those watching their waistline – after all coffee and tea without milk are zero, and by using skimmed milk and sweetener you can get a satisfying drink without blowing your allocation. At Caffe Nero, a regular cappuccino with skimmed or soya milk is 1 Smart Point, and a shot of the sugar free vanilla syrup is also zero. Even an Americano with full fat milk scrapes in at 1 Smart Point at Costa Coffee, and a macchiato with full fat, skimmed or soya milk is zero.
But step away from the hot chocolate unless you have Smart Points to burn. A Starbucks venti signature hot chocolate with whipped cream, made using whole milk comes in at 33 Smart Points, and that’s before you add your own sugar. Even the skimmed milk version is 30 – hardly a skinny option.
And beware the so called skinny muffins – the Starbucks skinny blueberry muffin is 12 Smart Points, compared to the regular lemon and poppyseed muffin, which is 20, and the almond croissant, which is 23.
Other highly pointed items include Costa’s triple layer lemon cake at 26 and Nero’s strawberry and vanilla frappe crema at 24.
When we’re on a diet plenty of us crave a fast food fix, and it isn’t always an unhealthy as you might think. A McDonalds Big mac is 17 Smart Points, and their bacon roll with brown sauce is 10. The lowest scores come for the salads, unsurprisingly, with 2 Smart Points for a grilled chicked salad.
KFC is a bit trickier, with a snack box of hot wings coming in at 24, and the Big Daddy Box Meal with Corn and Pepsi Max at 42. Lower options include original recipe salad without dressing at 7 or a zinger salad, again without dressing, for 8.
Burger King’s bacon Double XL is 29, while a regular hamburger is 8 Smart Points.
Pubs and carveries
Let’s be honest, much as we love pubs they often offer some of the most difficult menus from which to choose low calorie options.
If you can make your way between the temptations of the mixed grill, nachos and chunky chips, there are some slightly healthier choices hiding. If it’s a carvery, go for the leanest meat you can and pick a piece with the least fat and skin. Fill your plate with vegetables – but be careful if they look like they’ve been coated in butter. Try not to think about it as an exercise in getting as much value as you can for your money – all you can eat is an advertising line, not a challenge!
Grills may sound healthy but be careful – Beefeater’s Bourbon BBQ ribs are 44 Smart Points, and a mixed grill there comes in at 42. Similarly chicken isn’t always as good as you might think – their spicy chicken wings double on the starter menu is 20 before you’ve even ordered your main course, although not as high as their nachos for one, which come in at 30 Smart Points. Ouch
So, if you’re going to the cinema one box of popcorn is pretty much the same as another isn’t it? Well, not quite. At Empire cinemas, their smallest portion of salted popcorn – 55g – comes in at 8 Smart Points, compared to 34 for a large bag of sweet popcorn at the Odeon.
As a rule, salted tends to be a better option than sweet – the same side bag at the Odeon of salted corn would be 25 Smart Points. Still most of most people’s daily allowance, but a little kinder on the waistline.