News & Updates

Six easy ways to downsize your food

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s picking up an extra sweet treat with your morning coffee, saying yes to going large, adding sides and extras like fries with your burger, or cream and marshmallows to your hot chocolate. While upsizing can seem like a good deal, when the extra calories keep adding up, the cost can be our health!

We put the problem under the spotlight with our No To Upsizing campaign.

Research shows almost three-quarters of people in Scotland agree that cheap fast food is too easily available, and one in three agree that restaurants, coffee shops and takeaways shouldn’t encourage upsizing.

And saying yes to upsizing can rack those calories up – without you even realising.

If you went for a large cheeseburger meal instead of a small one, and added a regular side of onion rings and in addition you switched from a small to a large latte and added a chocolate brownie, you could be adding an extra 1500 calories every week. And that could lead to an estimated average weight gain of 10lb in just one year.

Being more aware of upsizing when we’re out and about means we can call it out more often. Here are our six tips to help us all say ‘no thanks’.

1. NO THANKS is the new YES PLEASE

Sometimes food and drink offers to go large, add a side or make it a meal for a few pennies more can seem like good value. But saying yes to them every single time can cost you a whole load of extra calories. And that’s not good value at all.

You don’t always have to say yes to these offers. Each time you go out for something to eat, ask yourself whether you really need the extras– chances are, they’re not what you came out for in the first place, so why not just say no?

2. Make your meal a better deal

If your daily habit of turning your single sandwich or salad into a meal is proving hard to break, why not swap sugary drinks, cakes and crisps, for water, fruit or lower-fat, lower-sugar yoghurt?

It’s still the same deal and you’re not spending any more money, so why not lose the extra calories and eat something healthier?

3. Don’t go extra when you’re eating out

Try not to have lots of extras before your meal arrives. It’s easily done when you’re hungry and want something NOW, but avoiding things like loaded nachos and cheesy garlic bread while you’re waiting can make a big difference in how many calories you’re eating. And saving yourself for the main event means you’ll enjoy it all the more.

And if you fancy something sweet, how about sharing pudding rather than having one to yourself?

Being conscious of additional calories from starters, desserts and sides could save you having more than you want or need.

4. Tap into Scotland’s water

When you’re out for a meal and asked if you want water, don’t forget that Scotland has great tap water that’s safe to drink, and tastes great. It’s one way to help make sure you don’t eat too much and to keep hydrated. Great for your body, your brain, your skin – well, everything really. And of course there are no calories (and no cost) unlike some sugary drinks.

5. Saturday night take away

It’s Saturday night and there’s one question on everyone’s mind – which takeaway to have for tea?

We can’t help you make this very tough life decision, but we can help you make your order a healthier one.

Once you’ve picked your takeaway, here are some healthy tips:

  • Fish and chips –  fish suppers can have a huge amount of chips for one person, why not share a portion of chips?
  • Indian – try chapati instead of naan with your curry
  • Italian –  if you’re having pizza, avoid stuffed crusts and ask for veggie toppings
  • Chinese – try boiled, steamed or plain rice, rather than egg-fried
  • Burgers and kebabs – you don’t always have to upsize your burger meal to a large meal, with extras like onion rings

6. Fully digest your menu

No, we’re not suggesting you eat your menu, but you might want to look out for information other than what to choose to eat on it.

More and more places are showing calorie content on their menus, which is an excellent way of helping us make a lower calorie choice, if we want to.

So there you have it – six ways to make healthier choices when you’re eating out or having a takeaway.

Can you resist the upsize? Play the game to find out!

Can you resist the upsize? Play the game to find out!

Play the Upsizing game. Find out how many calories you could save by saying no!
Warning: This game contains flashing images

Play the NoToUpsizing game! 

Find out how many calories you could save by saying ‘no thanks’ to some of the most common upsizes, have a go at our (slightly addictive) #NoToUpsizing game.

Read more about healthy eating and the #NoToUpsizing campaign.

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