Foods to avoid if you're trying not to overindulge at restaurants

Is your favourite restaurant ruining your diet? Nutritionist reveals the best choices and worst offenders from the likes of Nando’s, Pret and McDonald’s – including a latte that’s THREE TIMES the recommended daily sugar intake

  • 24 per cent of people claim restaurant dining is biggest challenge to their diet
  • Nutritionist Tamara Willner, reveals the least healthy dishes in UK restaurants
  • Caffe Nero’s Caramelatte and carrot cake racks up more than 83g of sugar
  • McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Double with fries is high in refined carbohydrates 

Dining in restaurants may still seem like a novelty after months of lockdown.

But for those watching their waistlines, it might be far too tempting to overindulge when eating out.

Pizzas packed with calories, fat-laden cakes and sweet coffees with three times the recommended sugar intake are among the items to avoid from high street chains.

Some 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.

Here, their nutritionist Tamara Willner, reveals the worst offenders – and what dishes and drinks to opt for instead.

Nutritionist Tamara Willner has revealed the best and worst dishes to order at restaurants in the UK to avoid overindulging – including swapping Zizzi’s Pollo Rosso Rustica Pizza (pictured) for their Super Zucca Salad

ZIZZI 

Worst option: Pollo Rosso Rustica Pizza  

Calories: 1,433

Fat: 72g

Saturated fat: 18g

Salt: 6g   

This indulgent dish contains 1,433 calories per serving, as well as being high in sugar, and saturated fat. 

To reduce the carbohydrate content you could opt for a ‘Skinny’ pizza instead which replaces half the pizza with a side salad. A dish to enjoy occasionally as part of a balanced diet.

Best option: Super Zucca Salad  

Calories: 572

 Fat: 21g

 Saturated fat: 14g

Salt: 1.9g     

This dish contains 572kcals per serving, packed full of vibrant veggies, providing a great source of vitamins and minerals. 

Opt for the salad without bread for a lower carbohydrate option!

Tamara said the Super Zucca Salad from Zizzi (pictured) is a great source of vitamins and minerals 

PRET 

Worst option: Double Berry Muffin and a Chocolate Shake

 Muffin

 Calories: 441

Fat: 21.6g 

Saturated fat: 2.5g 

Sugar: 53.4g

 

Shake

Calories; 439

Fat: 11.2g

Saturated fat: 8.3g

Sugar 60.7g  

 

 A truly indulgent shake, Pret’s treat comes n at a whopping 439kcal and more than 60g of sugar. 

Pair this alongside the double berry muffin, which contains 441 kcal per serving, it would be a combined serving of 91g sugar, more than thjree times the recommended daily allowance.

Options to be enjoyed occasionally as part of a balanced diet.


 Tamara said pairing a Double Berry Muffin (pictured left) with a Chocolate Shake (pictured right) at Pret, would result in consuming three times the recommended daily allowance of sugar

Best option: Tuna Nicoise salad and peppermint tea or black Americano

Calories: 455

Fat: 33.6g

Saturated fat: 4.9g

Sugar: 5.8g 

Salt 1.6g 

This salad is a well-balanced meal containing a good source of protein and healthy fats with 455kcal per serving.

A great lower-carbohydrate option to help you feel fuller for longer. Pair this with a  zero calorie peppermint tea for a decaf option or opt for a Black Americano, remaining mindful of your caffeine intake. 

Tamara said the tuna nicoise salad available at Pret (pictured) provides a good source of protein and healthy fats, while helping you to feel fuller for longer 

Tamara recommends pairing a salad from Pret with either peppermint tea or a Black Americano (pictured), but be mindful of your caffeine intake 

WAGAMAMA 

Worst option: Hot Chicken Katsu Curry 

Calories: 1,140 

Fat: 46g

Saturated fat: 10g 

Sugar: 13g 

Salt: 3.5g 

This heavier dish contains 1,140 calories per serving, as well as being high in sugar, and saturated fat. 

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. 

Tamara said Wagamama’s Hot Chicken Katsu Curry (pictured) is best enjoyed occasionally, as it’s high in sugar and saturated fat 

Best option: Naked Katsu Kokoro Bowl 

Calories: 607

Fat: 27g

Saturated fat: 6g 

Sugar: 6g  

 This dish contains 607kcals per serving with a complex carbohydrate base of brown rice providing a great source of fibre. 

Packed with a hefty protein serving of 43g, including edamame beans and chicken, it is sure to help you feel satisfied.

Tamara said Wagamama’s Naked Katsu Kokoro Bowl (pictured) has brown rice as a great source of fibre as well as a hefty serving of protein 

CAFFE NERO 

Worst option: Caramelatte and Carrot Cake

Caramelatte

Calories: 417

Fat: 23g

Saturated fat: 11.9g

Sugar: 38.8g

Carrot cake 

Calories: 541

Fat: 73.7g

Saturated fat: 4.9g

Sugar: 44.7g 

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. 

Options to be enjoyed occasionally as part of a balanced diet. 


Tamara said combining Caffe Nero’s Caramelatte (pictured left) with carrot cake would be almost three times the recommended daily allowance of sugar 

Best option: Chargrilled Chicken, Mixed Grain & Pesto Salad  and Black Americano 

Calories: 265

Fat: 11g

Saturated fat: 1.4g

Sugar: 5.1g

Salt: 1.4g  

This salad is a well-balanced meal containing a good source of protein, complex carbohydrate and fibre with 265cal per serving. 

Pair this with a herbal tea for a decaf option or opt for an Black Americano, remaining mindful of your caffeine intake.


Tamara said Chargrilled Chicken, Mixed Grain & Pesto Salad (pictured left) contains a good source of protein, which can be paired with a Black Americano (pictured right)

MCDONALD’S  

Worst breakfast option: Pancakes & Sausage with Syrup and large Toffee Latte

Pancakes 

Calories: 612kcal

Fat: 16.0g 

Saturated fats: 4.6g  

Sugars: 41.0g 

Toffee Latte Large 

Calories: 232kcal

Fat: 7.5g  

Saturated Fat: 4.8g   

Sugar: 29.0g  

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.


Tamara said the Pancakes & Sausage with Syrup (pictured left) from McDonald’s, along with a Toffee Latte (pictured right) is roughly two thirds and half of your recommended daily intake 

Worst main meal option: Bacon Clubhouse Double with Large Fries and a large Vanilla Milkshake

Burger

Calories: 1,111

Fat: 60g 

Saturated fat: 17g 

Sugar: 7.4g  

Milkshake

Calories: 469

Fat: 9.0g   

Saturated fats: 6.3g 

Sugar: 77.0g 

This burger, large fries and vanilla milkshake combination comes in at a mighty 1,580kcal and provides you with nearly all of your recommended sugar intake in just one sitting. 

It’s also very high in refined carbohydrates at 173g – that’s nearly two thirds of your recommended daily intake. To be enjoyed occasionally as part of a healthy balanced diet. 


Tamara said eating McDonald’s Bacon Clubhouse Double with Large Fries (pictured left) with a large vanilla milkshake (pictured right)  is a lot of sugar and refined carbohydrates 

Best option: Crispy Chicken Salad 

Calories: 261

Fat: 12.0g

Saturated fat: 1.4g  

Sugar: 2.9g  

Coming in at one of the healthier options, 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. 

Tamara said the Crispy Chicken Salad from McDonald’s (pictured) is full of fibre and has high protein to help you feel fuller for longer 

BILL’S 

Worst option: Macaroni cheese with focaccia and side salad (as served) 

Calories: 1,394

Fat: 80.1g  

Saturated fat: 33.2g  

Sugar: 14.4g   

Whilst macaroni cheese tends to be a firm family favourite, this dish contains a mighty 1,394kcal, nearly half of your recommended intake of carbohydrates and over your daily recommended intake of fat – all in one sitting. 

Whilst it’s sure to keep you feeling fuller for longer, there may be some more balanced options on the menu with more vegetables that will keep you feeling just as satisfied minus the refined carbohydrate crash.

Tamara said the Macaroni cheese with focaccia and side salad (pictured) from Bill’s has nearly half of your recommended intake of carbohydrates for the day 

Best option: Pan fried sea bass with an avocado, cherry tomato & caper salsa & herb rösti. Served with long stem broccoli 

Calories: 644 

Fat: 38.1g  

Saturated fat: 9.4g 

Sugar: 4.8g 

Pair this sea bass with broccoli and you’re onto a beautifully balanced meal. Served with an extra portion of long stem broccoli, the 53.8g of protein along with the extra fibre from the broccoli is sure to keep you feeling fuller for longer. 

If you’re looking to be mindful of your carbohydrate portion, you could even request to swap the rosti out for some additional vegetables.

Tamara said pairing pan fried sea bass (pictured) with long stem broccoli is ideal for a balanced meal when dining at Bill’s

PIZZA EXPRESS 

Worst option: Calabrese Pizza 

Calories: 1275

Fat: 66.1g  

Saturated fat: 30.2g  

Sugar: 18.2g 

This pizza offering contains a whopping 150% 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. 

Tamara said Calabrese Pizza from Pizza Hut (pictured) has a 150 per cent intake of our saturated fat for the day 

Best option: Leggera wholemeal pollo forza Pizza 

Calories: 578

Fat: 18.6g  

Saturated fat: 3.6g  

Sugar: 10. 3g 

If you’re fancying a pizza, opt for one of their lighter options, such as the leggera pizza. 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. 

Tamara recommends Leggera wholemeal pollo forza Pizza (pictured) as a lighter alternative when dining at Pizza Express 

Best option: Nicoise Salad no dressing, no dough sticks 

Calories: 366 

Fat: 21g  

Saturated fat: 3.6g   

Sugar: 3.3g   

For an ultra-low carb and sugar option, this tasty, protein and veg-packed dish is perfect! A light but delicious choice for the summer months.

Tamara said the Nicoise salad (pictured) at Pizza Express is tasty, but also low carbohydrate and low sugar

Nando’s

Worst option: Beanie wrap + peri-salted fries and perinaise

Calories: 1271  

Fat: 58.6g  

Saturated fat: 8.7g  

Carbohydrates: 153g  

Sugar: 26.1g 

Protein: 28.7g  

The veggie wrap might seem like a healthy option because it contains beans, a healthy source of protein and fibre. In reality, it is very high in carbs and fat and relatively low in protein compared to other options.


The Nando’s Beanie Wrap might seem like a healthy option because it contains beans, a healthy source of protein and fibre, but it’s high in fat, and if you add a portion of peri-salted fries, you’ll be racking up the calories 

Best option: Grilled chicken breast with mixed side salad 

Calories: 552

Fat: 31g  

Saturated fat: 8g  

Sugar: 8g  

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!

Tamara recommends ordering chicken breast and salad (pictured) when dining at Nando’s, as the dish will provide your body with essential nutrients 

COSTA 

Worst food option: Carrot and walnut cake 148g slice

Calories: 576 

Fat: 26g  

Saturated fat: 5g  

Sugar: 45g  

Having a slice of cake with our coffee may not seem too indulgent (especially if it has veg in), but with Costa’s carrot and walnut cake, we are consuming 9 teaspoons of sugar in just one slice!

Tamara said one slice of Carrot and walnut cake from Costa (pictured) is the equivalent of consuming nine teaspoons of sugar

Worst drink option: Regular Mint Choc Chip Frostino & cream (made with whole milk) 525ml take out size

Calories: 457 

Fat: 25g 

Saturated fat: 15.7g   

Sugar: 43.2g 

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. 

Tamara said Costa’s Mint Choc Chip Frostino & cream (pictured) contains a third of our recommended saturated fat intake for the day 

Best food option: Pea and mint soup 

Calories: 240

Fat: 9.6g  

Saturated fat: 2.8g   

Sugar: 8.9g 

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 Costa’s Pea and mint soup (pictured) is ideal for getting your five a day and is also vegan 

Best drink option: Jasmine tea 200ml serving 

Calories: 2

Carbohydrates: 0.3g  

Sugar: 0g 

Choosing a tea such as jasmine for our caffeine fix is a much healthier option because it offers a subtle sweetness and is really refreshing, without the post-sugar crash.

Tamara said Jasmine tea (pictured) from Costa is ideal for a caffeine fix without a post-sugar crash

 

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