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Fitness & Health

01st May 2019

What to eat at Nando’s, Wagamama and Toby Carvery if you’re trying to lose weight

Off for a Nando's but don't want to ditch the diet? Dietitian George Hamlyn-Williams brings you the healthiest dishes from the most popular UK restaurants

Alex Roberts

If you were asked to reel off a list of British cultural institutions, you’d probably opt for the NHS, the BBC, drinking tea, throwing your pint in the air when your team scores a goal and rolling cheese down a hill

These things have a special collective spot in British hearts. But if you’re being honest with yourself, so do Nando’s, Wagamama and a good old Toby Carvery.

As the UK battles an obesity epidemic, many people assume you should stop going to restaurants if you want to lose weight – but that’s not strictly necessary. It’s all about making the right choices when you’re there.

57% of British men and 66% of women are classed as overweight, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat out when you’re looking to lose weight. After all, a diet that works is one you can stick to, which doesn’t compromise your social life.

So if you are trying to get trim and are heading out for a Nando’s, Wagamama or Toby Carvery, you’ll want to know which meals are the best options for weight loss.

JOE spoke to The Hospital Group‘s principal Dietitian George Hamlyn-Williams, who has analysed menus from the UK’s most popular chain restaurants.

Hamlyn-Williams recommends the following:


Grilled Chicken with Chargrilled Vegetables and Mixed Leaf Salad

  • Calories: 401
  • Protein: 36 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams


Chilli Prawn and Kimchee Ramen

  • Calories: 514
  • Protein: 32 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 1.5 grams

Toby Carvery

Roast Turkey (with Jersey Royal Potatoes, Mixed Greens, Cabbage and Sprouts)

  • Calories: 502
  • Protein: 26 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 2 grams

Why are calories, protein and saturated fat important?

Weight loss requires you to be in a calorie deficit, consuming fewer calories from food and drink than you need to maintain your weight.

Protein is the most thermogenic food group, meaning you burn more calories digesting it than you do carbs or fat. It also protects muscle mass.

While some saturated fat is needed, excessive amounts in the diet are linked to health issues such as atherosclerosis.

Try and consume more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, found in foods such as avocado

Dietitian Hamlyn-Williams has also outlined six helpful tips for enjoying a meal out while still progressing with weight loss:

  1. “Opt for tomato-based sauces instead of those containing cream, cheese, or coconut milk.”
  2. “Ask for certain components of the meal to be prepared differently if possible – such as poached eggs instead of fried, or baked potato instead of chips on the side.”
  3. “Go ‘bun-less’ when ordering burgers and swap out chips for a side salad.”
  4. “Avoid absent-mindedly adding dressings or condiments to meals.”
  5. “Opt for leaner sources of protein, such as grilled chicken or white fish, instead of pan-fried steak which will be higher in calories and saturated fat.”
  6. “Avoid starters that contain lots of cheese or batter, and instead opt for a healthier vegetable-based dish.”

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