Eating Out- without breaking the diet

Over the years whenever I have started a diet or healthy eating plan I find myself extremely determined and aggressive at the beginning, meal prep and enthusiastic organisation takes over when the determination is strong. Inevitably along the way, like most of us, life catches up and we find ourselves at the office without lunch as the kids were running late for school and there just wasn’t enough time, or getting home late from work with no dinner planned. This is usually the part where we give in to ordering takeaway, allowing the cravings for pizza and carbs to consume us. If we look at eating out in a different light, perhaps those crazy days of no meal planning won’t result in diet ruin.

  1. Know Before You Order

Practically everything is available online these days, and this includes calorie information for your favourite go-to takeaway restaurants. Before placing your order, quickly check out the portions and the calories in order to make an informed decision.

  1. Substitute More Greens

Most restaurants offer a standard side dish that includes carb-driven chips, rice, or potatoes. Although alluring, next time your main entrée includes a side, opt in for a greener vegetable instead. If you are getting Indian cuisine delivered to the office, perhaps a side of curried spinach or a house salad with your lamb Dhansak to complete your delivery order.

  1. Portions Are Everything

It is not rocket science; the portions you receive from most takeaway places are much more than what you would prepare at home. This is particularly tricky when a restaurant posts calorie information “per serving”, which is often half of what is in your container. If you are given a mountain of food, immediately portion it out and put the other half away – out of sight, out of mind.

  1. Eat Slowly

Listen to your mother – don’t wolf down your meal! We get it: you are hungry. The faster you shovel in the food, the slower you have time to digest and “feel” how satisfied you are. In obvious terms, this results in overeating. Another useful tip is to stop for a glass of water here and there – not only does water play a vital role in your diet, it also fills you up!

  1. Modifications Are Your Friend

Most restaurants allow order customisation in order to accommodate diet and allergy requests. This can include ingredient substituting or omission, preparation methods, and sauce selection. If possible, ask your restaurant if they are willing to swap the double cream for a lighter dairy or the sodium-based sauce for a lighter dressing. Simple switches can help more than you know!

Since I started my Slimming World journey in August this year I have learned that it is all about making the right choices. You can have the takeaway or dine out in a nice restaurant but you do need to be aware of what is on offer and what is the best option while still treating yourself at the same time. Do not be afraid of asking for the dressings to be separate, or asking for a salad instead of the normal carb filled sides. Eating out with friends and family, or even a weekend takeaway needn’t be the end to your healthy eating plan. Look at the menus beforehand so you are aware of what is going to be available and know what you are going to order before you get there. With takeaways such as  Indian or Chinese opt for plain boiled rice instead of fried rice, order a side of vegetables and have a smaller portion of anything that is seriously going to knock you off your diet and help you stay on track.

Eating out should not be the death sentence to your diet goals. Following these few simple suggestions will rid you of any takeaway or dining out guilt and keep you on track.

Smiggle- Gift Voucher Giveaway

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I was invited recently to the Smiggle branch in Bluewater to open the next window on their Christmas advent calendar and see what treat could be waiting for me.

Anyone that has been to a Smiggle store will know it’s an explosion of colour and a total must for all stationary lovers. The store there is not huge but is very well stocked with both lots on the shelves and underneath the display tables ( so I cannot see you having any trouble getting a particular item you may be after).

At the moment they have lots of their fabulous Christmas Advent Stockings, that retail at £28. That may sound a little extravagant but is in line with Lego or even Yankee candle (if you buy yourself one!). However, the goodies that are in the advent would cost around £40 if they were bought individually, so a bargain when you consider that and also a great alternative to just more chocolate.

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There are the typical colour assumptions, pink for girls and blue for boys, but there are also lots of alternatives that can be gender neutral. Some of the bits can work out quite expensive but there are also some fabulous gifts that would be perfect for Christmas presents that work out at just £10-15 which is very budget friendly.

I particularl

I particularly liked this design on a black background and perfect for little monster lovers!

There is also a wonderful little colouring area set up in this store which was in use most of the time I was in the store and it was constantly busy in there. I was given the chance to peel off the next advent sticker from the window outside to get the next prize ( which I will include with the gift voucher giveaway as a little extra, it’s a Goo Glopper………………!

The store manager there, Linda, has a great manner about her and she will find out if it’s your birthday and get the whole store to sing Happy Birthday to you, I heard the singing even before I reached the store as I came down the escalator towards it. You will recognise her as she has a huge whistle hanging around her neck and she’s not afraid to use it- so be warned.

So I have a lovely £25 gift card and my Goo Glopper from behind the advent to giveaway to all you lovely stationary loving peeps. All you have to do is comment below with what you would use the voucher for and fill in the normal Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Slimming world results week 14 and 15

On week 13 I had to miss my weigh in due to going into hospital for a day procedure. I still stuck to plan though before and after the day ( excluding a treat of my first mince pie of the season- which was well earned as I couldn’t eat from 9am the day before my procedure and having sedation that didn’t sedate making the day kind of traumatic all round!). However, it was onwards and upwards from there and I had nothing planned that was going to throw me off plan completely.

So weigh in for week 14, I was hopeful that I had lost and thankfully I was rewarded with a 2 lb loss, bringing me tantalisingly close to getting my weight down under the 10 stone mark! Having looked back after a chat in group after my previous 1/2lb gain about the amount of fruit that I eat, I decided to take the advice of another member to try adding more speed veg than fruit and maybe cutting the fruit down to about 3 pieces a day. In all honesty I didn’t think this would matter much to me but it really seems to have made a difference with my weight loss. As you know I am unable to exercise in the normal way due to my illness so I knew over all when I joined any weight loss would be slow.  I have also factored in a few EESP days throughout each week now which I also think may be helping and I  have managed to up my fluid intake loads after picking up my £5 bargain bottle, that you can add fruit to, from Matalan.

So onto this week and weigh in this morning. My over all hope was for a maintain as I had gone last Tuesday to review a festive afternoon tea, which obviously I had to scoff  at least try everything ( it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it!).

Well it would be rude not to!

Well it would be rude not to!

The food at the tea was absolutely lush and after just over 3 months on the plan it was a sheer delight to go and properly indulge and be guilt free in doing so. I made sure I only had some fruit for breakfast and after the tea I wasn’t hungry for the rest of the day so I only had a piece of fruit with my cuppa in the evening. I then decided to do a few EESP days to help balance out the over indulgence. However, by Saturday this week I started to feel bloated and realised this would be the week I would be due my period and therefore a possible gain ( which has happened pretty much every 4 weeks since starting). So, I went with the full expectation of a gain/ maintain to be totally blown away by getting another 2 lb loss!! I am shocked to say the least but super chuffed at the same time. I was also rewarded with my Club 10 award ( for losing 10% of your weight) which was just the icing on the cake today.

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I can now say that I am in single figures ( only by a smidge but even so!) and in truth it feels just bloody marvellous to now be under the 10 stone mark. I am now a little more hopeful for next week and I have nothing booked this week that will knock me off plan. I will continue to factor in a few EESP days, drink lots of fluids and opt for speed veg and continue to limit my fruit to 3 or 4 pieces a day.

Today though I will celebrate with a proper size mince pie ( my absolute favourite at Christmastime) and still stay within today’s syn limit………………………..be warned my will power is strong now!

It's gotta be done!

It’s gotta be done!

So, here’s hoping for another loss next week ( although now I have said it I will probably gain).

Festive Afternoon Tea at the Marriott Hotel Bexleyheath

This week I had the chance to go and review the Festive Afternoon Tea ahead of it’s launch at the Marriott Hotel in Bexleyheath, it will be available from Wednesday 23rd November and will cost £23.50 per person.

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Christmas on a plate as far as I am concerned!

Christmas on a plate as far as I am concerned!

 

 

We were treated to a little festive starter of a cup of gorgeous mulled wine and a mini mince pie ( my first this season for both) and instantly I was feeling festive regardless of the fact it is only mid November.  I will say though this is not mentioned on the menu card and makes me think this was for my benefit rather than what is included, but it was delicious non the less…………

As you van see no mention of mulled wine or mince pie, however, there is an option to add a glass of champagne if you feel like celebrating!

As you van see no mention of mulled wine or mince pie, however, there is an option to add a glass of champagne if you feel like celebrating!

When the food arrived we were advised that there was a recommended order to eat both the sandwiches and the cakes! Being good law abiding citizens my friend and I followed the rules and to be fair with regard to the fillings of the sandwiches the order really worked. They were nice thought about flavours with assorted breads and they seemed to work well together as a whole. The festive theme worked here with the inclusion of cranberry bread, turkey, brie and a delicious spiced apple chutney to name a few ( and no not all in the same sandwich!!).

The scones were wrapped in a napkin to keep some heat in and were as expected beautifully fresh and crumbly. The cream and strawberry compote were presented in gorgeous little individual jars which gave a uniqueness to the presentation itself.

A gorgeous individual look

A gorgeous individual look

The cakes also had a recommended order in which to eat them…………..who are we to argue! They consisted of a strawberry tart, a bite sized stollen, a raspberry mousse ( which was my absolute favourite), and a chocolate yule log. Now I don’t know about you but a strawberry tart instantly makes me think of summer so I was a little surprised to see one on there. Do not get me wrong all of the food on the afternoon tea was absolutely delicious, there was nothing I didn’t like ( apart from the stollen, but that’s my individual taste buds- I dislike marzipan), all the flavours worked wonderfully, however, if it is advertised as a ‘festive’ afternoon tea I would generally expect the cakes to be Christmas/ Festive themed. So perhaps if a mince pie is not included, then it should be, there is also scope for maybe something gingerbread or Christmas cake styled instead of the summer flavours of strawberry and raspberry.

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The staff in there are lovely and we were offered refills on our teas and our cream and jam if you needed any. We were not rushed in any way and the bar area we sat in had a wonderful relaxed feel to it with music playing in the backround and we felt we could sit there most of the afternoon.

I did check with the manager there if this afternoon tea was the same throughout all Marriott hotels but we were told that each hotel chef had free reign to interpret the festive flavours in their own way. So you may see pictures of other Marriott hotels serving theirs in a very different way, for now I can only comment on the Bexleyheath branch. This will be what you will get for your money at this particular hotel.

I would say although I thoroughly enjoyed the food and couldn’t fault any of the sandwiches, scones or cakes individually ( they were each delicious in their own right), I would however, feel that the afternoon tea itself would be much more festive if mulled wine was offered as an extra instead of champagne, and that all the cakes were Christmas themed/ flavoured. I would have been slightly disappointed myself to have paid the full price and not had, what I consider to be festive essentials, included.

This afternoon tea will be available from Wednesday 23rd November through to Thursday 12th January and will cost you £23.50, with the option of adding a glass of celebratory champagne for a further £6.50. Afternoon teas are perfect for friends to get together for a good catch up, or for treating yourself to a relaxing afternoon for a special occasion or family to get together. It’s a total indulgence…………………………….so go on……………………..indulge yourself!

Well it would be rude not to!

Well it would be rude not to!

For more information check out their website here

My Slimming World results week 11 and 12

I did it!!! I only bloody did it!!

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I reached my 1 stone mark that has been alluding me for a few weeks now. I cannot tel you how chuffed I was considering I have been doing this for 11 weeks now and going to group every week listening to people losing 3-4 lb a week and having to make do with 1lb here and there in amongst slightly higher and lower loses and even a gain or two along the way.

However, that was a target I was desperate to get to because it’s easy to say you are losing weight but another to stand tall and say you have  lost a stone. I also said I would treat myself to a proper slice of cake when I reached that mark. I have been really on plan most of the time with maybe just a meal or a few drinks out that I have factored into the plan along the way, so I wanted a proper piece of cake when I got to this point.

On the day though I had got a lift there and back to group by my FIL so I didn’t get to go to my favourite cafe on the way home as planned. However, my little bestie came to the rescue when her son ( who is a chef!) made some GBBO style french fancy cakes and that very evening I had text her to say I got my stone award she knocked on my door with these little beauties………

homemade and beautifully sweet!

homemade and beautifully sweet!

Well it would be rude not to wouldn’t it. So I enjoyed one of these with my evening cuppa totally guilt free as I knew for the rest of the week I would be on plan with no real plans to go eating out or socially drinking. So I savoured absolutely every last mouthful as you can imagine!

The next week flew past to be honest and I was unlucky enough to have a few of my rough days sprinkled in there which meant very little activity so in all honesty I expected a non loss week when I went for weigh in. I was totally shocked and gutted to actually put on 1/2 lb! I had totally eaten on plan apart from my french fancy the last weigh in day and surely that couldn’t have had that affect a week on. When it came to my turn at group it took all my resolve not to bloody cry………….now that will sound absolutely ridiculous to you but it had taken me so long to get to my 1 stone, I then stayed 100% on plan and although I had a few days of inactivity on the sofa due to my illness I truly didn’t even contemplate a gain. So just chatting in the group helped as someone asked me if I ate much fruit- well I eat tons of the stuff, literally tons and it was suggested that maybe because of the sugar content in the fruit that I should maybe opt for more veg and salad this week and still have fruit but maybe restrict it to 2-3 pieces a day.

When I got home I googled about the sugar content in different fruits and decided when I went shopping that I would opt for the lower and medium sugar fruits and include much more salad and veg over this weeks dinners, which I have managed to do. I also picked this little bargain up in Matalan for £5 that should help me drink more fluids as I do tend to stick to coffee/ tea/ green or peppermint tea now the weather has turned cold.

my £

I have this sitting around me all day and have drank 2 of these a day so far since buying it so that is a definite improvement on my fluids anyway

I am due to be weighed tomorrow but I am having to miss it due to the fact I will be in hospital for the day having a couple of procedures that I will be sedated for. This in itself will knock me off my feet for a few days due to my illness as it takes my body much longer to recover. So I will look forward to weigh in next week and hopefully the little changes I have made will show on the scales in the right way………..WISH ME LUCK