Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Slimming World: shopping list

In the spirit of demystifying Slimming World and sharing with you how it works for me, I wanted to share my next post; how to shop SW-smart. Last week I ran through the SW basics and my story so far. Since last Sunday I have lost a further 3lbs and have had a few 'this is worth it moments'. First, two colleagues on two separate occasions commenting on my weight loss 'transformation'... their words not mine. Second, buying size 8 jeans. Yes, they may be weird Primark sizing but I'll go with that! So I'm feeling good, and motivated to keep shedding the weight. 

To get SW right, you have to prepare. Unfortunately lots of snacks and shop bought lunches are high in syns, but with a little forward thinking you can keep on-plan fairly easily. These are my go-to shopping list items - they make cooking easier, keep the syn count down and help keep me full all day. 

Fry Light: using oil is a bit of a no-no on Slimming World. Of course, olive oil has numerous health benefits - a little internet search has informed me that it's high in monounsaturated fatty acids and can help prevent cardoivascular problems such as high blood pressure and strokes. You only need to look at those beautiful Spaniards and Italians to see why olive oil is a key part of the Mediterranean diet. Now you can have 1 tablespoon of olive oil as your Healthy Extra B - but to me that doesn't seem like a good use of a HexB... one tablespoon! Insert shocked face here. Fry Light is a spray cooking oil which comes in at just 1 calorie per spray and is completely free on SW. There are several varieties; sunflower oil, olive oil and butter flavour. I used to be a bit of an oil snob but can honestly say I taste no difference when using Fry Light and it means my meals start off as 'free', without using any oil.

Muller Light Yoghurt: the toffee, vanilla and cappuccino are my favourite flavours and are all free! I especially like the vanilla with dark choc sprinkles - also free - and are a great sweet treat. 

Diet coke: completely free!

KitKats: only 5.5 syns for two finger Kit Kats, I have one every day! They are great for satisfying a sweet tooth without major guilt. In Lidl they often sell multi-packs of mini two finger Kit Kats (like treat-size almost) which have an even lower syn value - I think they're 4.5 syns. You get 20 in a pack for £2 so they're a bargain. Tip: they're usually in the biscuit aisle in supermarkets rather than the choccie aisle.

Pasta, rice and potatoes: probably the #1 reason why SW appeals to me; you can eat as much of these as you want. We know whole-wheat pasta and brown rice are better for you - they're less processed and refined, pack more nutrients, digest more slowly and therefore give you lasting energy levels - but on SW you don't have to just eat brown rice/pasta if you prefer white. I'm starting to re-assess my eating on SW and am starting to switch white pasta and rice for brown; but you don't have to if you don't want to!

Measuring spoons and scales: measuring is kinda important, but you don't need to be obsessive. I measure out my granola each morning (40g) and use measuring spoons to measure things like crème fraiche and sugar. This helps you work out syn values, especially in the early days. People seem to think this is a huge hassle or faff - its not, at all! That said, once you get your head round it and get an idea of what a tablespoon of mayo looks like you can ease up on the measuring front!

Tilda rice: makes life easy as it cooks in 2 minutes in the microwave and most varieties are low-syns. My favourite is the mushroom rice with is 3.5 syns for the entire pack! Yes, the whole pack. Pop a salmon fillet on top with some wilted spinach and it's a super quick, easy and tasty meal.

Skimmed milk: you can have 350ml a day as your Healthy Extra A, compared with 250ml of semi-skimmed or 175ml of whole milk. I never used to use or buy skimmed milk, but I'm a convert! Granted, I wouldn't like it in cereal but in my coffee I taste no difference and it means I can have more. Winner. 

Frozen chopped onions: not any 'healthier' or 'free' than fresh onions, but the ready prepped onions give me even fewer reasons not to cook fresh, healthy meals. I've also been known to buy frozen chopped peppers, garlic, coriander, chillis and spinach. Little short cuts like these mean you're less likely to turn to crappy dinners and going off-plan.

Frozen fruit: again, no better than fresh, but having it in the freezer means I have it to hand whenever I need it, without having to worry about it losing its freshness. I have fat-free natural yoghurt with raspberries and Special K granola for breakfast every morning; before bed I put yoghurt and frozen raspberries in a tupperware and leave in the fridge overnight to thaw. In the morning I throw in 30g of granola and eat at my desk when I get to work.

Lean meat: for most meat to be 'free' on SW it needs to be lean - usually 5% fat or less in the case of mince. Make sure you check the label to be sure!

Eggs: completely free on SW and so versatile. An omelette (as many eggs as you want) cooked with FryLight, mushrooms, ham, peppers and salad is completely free! Add 25g of reduced fat cheddar for 4 syns... or you can have 40g of it as your Healthy Extra A.

Crème fraiche: great for creamy sauces, without the guilt. Make sure you get half fat/light, which is approx 1 syn per level tablespoon. I get the Sainsburys Be Good To Yourself which is less than 3% fat... so I count it as 0.5 sysn per tablespoon! A dollop on chilli con carne or goulash is delish. I know others use quark which is usually 'free', more of a soft cheese.

I think that's all my brain can handle for the time being... but a fairly comprehensive list! Most of these items make it into my shopping bag each week, and have really helped me shift the lbs. Can you recommend anything else?

Make sure you're following me on instagram for more SW tips and ideas!


  1. I think maybe why I haven't done SW yet is because I worried about the sugar intake... all the low fat and skimmed versions have much more sugar in and I've been doing so well reducing sugar (and feeling a lot better for it), I don't want to introduce more sugar into my diet. I'm going to look into SW though because maybe I can do it without putting more sugar back in and make it work for me. Argh...everyone's all so different, wouldn't it be so ideal if we all responded the same and there was one totally right way to lose weight and still be healthy? :-D xx

  2. I agree with all these definitely! Pepsi max cherry for me though and the line and coriander Tilda for 1 syn per half packet.

    1. Ooh also Total 0% Greek yoghurt which I have for breakfast with berries, and use instead of sour cream with spicy chilli! And snack a jacks to satisfy my crisp craving!

  3. Perfect timing Lizzie! You've definitely spurred me on, so once this next fortnight's done and dusted I'm definitely going to stock up on SW necessities! x

  4. This was really interesting, thank you for sharing! I could never follow Slimming World or Weight Watchers but I like some of your shortcuts like the onion- super helpful for lazy people like me! ;)

    Maria xxx


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