Being a general non-dieter, this is not normally a question I’ve ever needed to know. But earlier this week when planning a dinner date with a girlfriend in central London, I received the following text:
‘Do you have any ideas of restaurants with calorie counters on the menu?
Like I said, apart from sandwich bars and the sandwich fridge in Boots, I’ve never even thought about it. Whether I’m going for midweek noodles in China Town or scoffing a burger and triple cooked fries (where I’m definitely not calorie counting,) the only time this may have crossed my mind is when ordering the Leggera pizza at Pizza Express (the one with the hole in the middle filled with salad).
But for the last few months, said friend has been on the Fast diet, aka the 5:2 diet – you know, where you eat normally for five days of the week and then for two of them, you limit your calorie intake to a 500 calorie evening meal.
A challenge huh?
So I was pleased when my Fast diet friend replied to her text for me shortly after: ‘Yo Sushi at Selfridges?’
‘Sounds like a plan’ I texted back.
There’s something I still find strangely exciting about sitting at a Yo Sushi! Bar and grabbing coloured sushi plates and budget wooden chopsticks while you people watch across the conveyor belt.
Add this to a long overdue catch up and it’s a great informal way to dine out in London.
We met up at Yo Sushi! in Selfridges on Oxford Street which – take note – does NOT do the half prices plates on a Monday which many of the chain’s other restaurants do.
But my friend had already done her research on the Yo Sushi! website and decided exactly what she was having to fit in with her 500 calorie limit.
And as I perused the menu, she ordered: the vegetable yakisoba (205 calories) the chicken gyozas (119 calories) and the katsu chicken (162 calories) = Total = 486 calories.
Meanwhile, I ordered the katsu chicken (162 calories) salmon Teriyake (223 calories) and the Yo! roll (140 calories) = Total = 525 calories.
Oh and throw in my giant Sapporo beer I ordered (which warning: I thought was way overpriced at £6) and my calorie intake was, well, a fair bit higher than my friend’s!
I think, if you are on the Fast diet, or any diet where you need to calorie count, you’re not actually limited to Yo Sushi! as a dinner option. I think it’s fair to say, if you go onto the website of most well known restaurants, they should display their nutritional information clearly.
My friend speaks highly of the 5:2 diet and while you need a lot of willpower to get through the fasting days, she said it does have the following advantages:
– It’s Flexible – you can change your fasting days to fit around your life/work/social commitments
– She feels like she’s ‘detoxing’ – there’s research to show that actually giving your body a break from food / toxins can be good for the human body
– You don’t feel like a miserable dieter – because you’re not dieting and watching your calories every day
– It’s gradual weight loss – your weight won’t yoyo up and down because generally you’re losing weight gradually (note: of course it depends on your body type and whether you integrate exercise too)
If you are looking for calorie counter menus while in London though, it’s no surprise to hear it’s the chain restaurants which are ahead of the game in displaying their nutritional info on their websites.
Quite unusually, we did find a very high end restaurant which takes the unusual decision to display calorie content on its menus, and that’s the French Gauthier Soho in Soho which has a history of Michelin stars – get them!
But for now, here’s a Q – do we need to be reminded of the calorie content on the actual menu when we’re eating out? Let me know your thoughts.
Here are a few chains where you can rely on knowing what’s in your food:
Cafe Rouge – All over London – French cuisine which also offers a Healthier Option range www.caferouge.co.uk
Pizza Express – All over London – pizzas, pasta and salad which offers the lighter Leggera range www.pizzaexpress.com
Leon Restaurants – upmarket fast (healthy) food – www.leonrestaurants.co.uk
Ask – Hearty casual Italian food – www.Askitalian.co.uk
Until next time x