What could be more quintessentially summery than a lazy Sunday barbecue with friends?
Or how about a tempting spread of buffet food at a garden party? Or a family picnic on the beach?
While losing weight in time for your holidays is a highly motivating goal, there is no doubt that summer also brings a host of enjoyable social events where it would be so easy to scupper your healthy eating programme.
More than 200 foods considered important basic ingredients for a healthy diet have been given a ZeroPoint rating, meaning you can enjoy them without weighing or measuring [File photo]
But — with a bit of thought and some advance planning — you can enjoy a full summer social life, delicious food and still lose a stone by summer with WW Freestyle.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, to show you exactly how you can build a happier, healthier lifestyle in a series of brilliant magazines and pullouts featuring mouth-watering recipes and easy-to-follow tips.
And as Julia Westgarth, head of programme at WW, says: ‘We are not expecting you to put your life on hold. The key is to take some time in advance to plan what you eat — and be prepared to adapt a few ingredients.’
Adopting a positive mindset is vital to long-term weight loss. If you celebrate the changes you are seeing from following the flexible WW Freestyle programme, you’re more likely to find ways not to sabotage your success at a social occasions.
The party food trap
Luckily, the experts from WW are there to help you with tips about how to navigate summer celebrations where rich desserts, holiday ‘treats’ or fattening sauces could easily sabotage your hard-won weight loss.
The pioneering Freestyle programme — which has been shown to be successful in clinical trials — is based on three elements: a SmartPoints system for food, exercise, and mindset techniques from the science of behaviour change combined to help you lose weight and transform your health.
All food and drinks have been given a SmartPoints value — and this also reflects how beneficial they are for your health.
More than 200 foods considered important basic ingredients for a healthy diet have been given a ZeroPoint rating, meaning you can enjoy them without weighing or measuring.
Luckily, many of summer’s most delicious treats — such as prawns, fresh berries, salmon and asparagus — fall into this category, which includes lean proteins, fish and seafood, almost all fruit and vegetables and pulses.
Today, we share tips from WW’s experts on how to avoid the high-calorie pitfalls of summer entertaining, where to make clever tweaks to favourite recipes and how to make the most of some of the most mouthwatering summer foods.
We’re also bringing you more delicious dishes to inspire you and show how summer parties can be fun — and good for your waistline, too.
Eton Mess Roulade
6 SmartPoints per serving
- 4 egg whites
- 225g caster sugar plus an extra 1 tbsp
- ½ tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 200g strawberries, roughly chopped
- 350g 0% fat natural Greek yoghurt
- ½ tsp icing sugar
The recipe for the Eton Mess Roulade serves 10 with 6 SmartPoints per serving
Preheat the oven to 160c/fan 140c/gas 3. Line a 25cm x 35cm Swiss roll tin with baking paper.
In a large mixing bowl, using a hand-held electric whisk, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks that hold their shape when the beaters are removed.
Gradually beat in the caster sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you have a stiff, glossy meringue.
Whisk in the cornflour and vinegar, then put the mixture in the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until set and lightly browned. Don’t worry if it looks very puffy – it will sink back down as it cools.
Lay a sheet of baking paper on the work surface and scatter over the extra tablespoon of caster sugar.
Turn the meringue out of the tin onto the sugared paper and set aside to cool. Purée 50g of the strawberries in a mini food processor, or by pushing them through a sieve.
Remove the baking paper from the meringue, then spread over the Greek yoghurt. Scatter over the rest of the chopped strawberries and drizzle over some of the purée.
Roll up from one of the long sides to enclose the filling, then put on a serving plate, seam side down.
Dust with ½ teaspoon icing sugar, slice and serve drizzled with the rest of the purée.
6 SmartPoints per serving
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 400g mixed mushrooms, thickly sliced
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs to serve
- 4 x 50g slices sourdough bread
- 60g goat’s cheese
Heat the oil in a large frying pan set over a medium heat. Cook the garlic, stirring for 30 seconds.
Add the mixed mushrooms and cook, stirring for 4 minutes or until softened and any liquid has evaporated. Stir through the thyme leaves and season to taste.
Meanwhile, toast the bread until deeply golden. Top each slice with a quarter of the mushroom mixture and crumble over the goat’s cheese. Season and serve with the extra thyme sprigs scattered over the top.
The recipe for the Mushroom Bruschetta serves 4 with 6 SmartPoints per serving
Lamb Tikka Kebabs with Spicy Coleslaw
7 SmartPoints per serving
- 400g diced lean lamb leg steak
- 4 tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt
- 2 tbsp mango chutney
- 1½ tbsp tikka curry powder
- 150g dried green or Puy lentils
- 2 small red onions, each cut into 8 thin wedges
- 200g cherry tomatoes
For the spicy coleslaw
- 1 orange, peeled and segmented (reserve the juice)
- ¼ red cabbage, finely shredded
- 3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
- ¼ red chilli, deseeded and finely diced
- 2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, chopped, plus leaves to garnish
Put the lamb in a non-metallic bowl. Stir in the yoghurt, chutney and curry powder, then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Marinate for at least 15 minutes. If using bamboo skewers, put them in a bowl of water to soak for at least 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the lentils to pack instructions. For the coleslaw, combine all of the ingredients, including the orange juice, in a bowl and season well.
Preheat the grill to medium-high. Thread the lamb, onions and tomatoes onto 8 skewers. Grill for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until cooked through and lightly charred.
Serve the kebabs with the lentils and coleslaw, garnished with the mint leaves.
The recipe for the lamb tikka kebabs with spicy coleslaw serves 4, with 7 SmartPoints per serving
5 SmartPoints per mocktail
- 40ml elderflower cordial
- 250ml alcohol-free rosé wine
- 100ml soda water
- Lemon slices, to serve
- Orange peel, to servel Rose petals (optional)
Fill 2 tumblers with ice. Pour over the elderflower cordial and the alcohol-free rosé wine, stir to combine and top each glass with 50ml soda water.
Garnish with a lemon slice, a twist of orange peel and a rose petal.
Cook’s tip: Swap the alcohol-free wine with your favourite rosé. This would be 7 SmartPoints per cocktail.
All mocktail recipes make two. The spritzer is 5 SmartPoints per mocktail, the chamomile tea sour is 3 SmartPoints per mocktail, and the blueberry and vanilla fizz is 3 SmartPoints per mocktail. The cucumber and mint cooler is 2 SmartPoints per mocktail
Chamomile Tea Sour
3 SmartPoints per mocktail
- 1 chamomile teabag
- 1½ tbsp clear honey
- 60ml alcohol-free spirit
- 1 large egg white
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Dried chamomile flowers, optional
Put the teabag into a heatproof jug, pour over 100ml boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes.
Remove and discard the tea bag, then stir in the honey and set aside to cool. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add the chamomile tea, 60ml alcohol-free spirit, the egg white and the lemon juice.
Shake vigorously, then strain into 2 coupe glasses. Serve with dried chamomile flowers on top, if using.
Blueberry & Vanilla Fizz
3 SmartPoints per mocktail
- 80g blueberries, plus extra to serve
- 1 split vanilla bean pod
- 250ml alcohol-free sparkling white wine
Put the blueberries, vanilla pod and 1 tbsp water into a small pan and bring to a simmer over low heat.
Cook for 5 minutes until the blueberries are tender. Remove from the heat and crush the berries with a fork, then cover and set aside for 20 minutes to infuse.
Press the infused blueberries through a fine mesh sieve into a small bowl, discarding the vanilla pod. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, until the puree is slightly thickened.
To serve, spoon the blueberry puree into 2 champagne flutes, then top with alcohol-free sparkling white wine. Add a few extra blueberries to each glass, then serve.
Cucumber and Mint Cooler
2 SmartPoints per mocktail
- 1 cucumber, trimmed
- 5g fresh basil
- 5g fresh mint, and extra to serve
- 5g fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp clear honey
- Juice of 1 lime
- 340ml soda water
Use a vegetable peeler to peel 2 thin ribbons from 1 trimmed cucumber, then set aside.
Roughly chop the rest of the cucumber and put into the bowl of a food processor. Blitz until smooth, then spoon into a bowl lined with a square of muslin.
Squeeze the juice into the bowl and discard the pulp. Put the herbs into a cocktail shaker and crush using a muddler and then add the honey, lime juice 100ml of the cucumber juice.
Shake vigorously. Line 2 highballs with the cucumber ribbons and fill with ice. Strain over the cucumber mocktail then top with soda water. Serve garnished with fresh mint.
Chermoula Fish Parcels
0 SmartPoints per serving
- Small handful fresh coriander leaves
- Small handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp Moroccan spice mix
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 small red chilli, deseeded
- 4 x 150g firm white fish fillets
- 1 small lemon, thinly sliced, plus extra wedges to serve
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 courgettes, thinly sliced
- 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Process the coriander, parsley, lemon juice, Moroccan spice mix, garlic and chilli with 2 tablespoons of water in a food processor until almost smooth.
Transfer half of the chermoula paste to a shallow dish, add the fish and coat.
Preheat the oven to 220c/fan 200c/gas 7. Cut 4cm x 30cm squares of kitchen foil and 4cm x 30cm squares of baking paper.
Put 1 piece of baking paper on top of each piece of foil. Divide the lemon slices, onion, courgettes, chickpeas and fish between the parcels, then fold up the baking paper and foil to enclose everything.
Put the parcels on a baking tray and cook for 10-12 minutes or until the fish is just cooked. Unwrap carefully (the steam will be hot) and serve with the extra lemon wedges and the reserved chermoula.
The recipe for chermoula fish parcels serve 4 and are 0 SmartPoints per serving
Pimm’s Ice Lollies
1 SmartPoint per ice lolly
- 150ml Pimm’s
- 300ml diet lemonade, left to go flat
- ¼ cucumber, very thinly sliced
- 12 small strawberries, hulled and halved
- 2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves picked
Mix together the Pimm’s and lemonade. Divide the cucumber, strawberries and mint between ice lolly moulds, then pour in the liquid, to about 1cm below the top.
Freeze for 1 hour, add the sticks, then return to the freezer for 4 hours, or until solid.
To serve, stand the bottom of the moulds in warm water for a few seconds to release the lollies.
The recipe for Pimm’s ice lollies makes 8 and are 1 SmartPoint per ice lolly
You CAN enjoy a barbie
It’s just not summer without barbecues — and luckily there are plenty of ways to tweak your recipes so your weight-loss stays on track
- Marinate your meat, or rub with spices, to add flavour without using oil or salt. Try a delicious tangy mix of chilli powder, turmeric, garlic powder, pepper and cumin.
- Pick lean meats such as skinless chicken breast or fish fillets to keep SmartPoints low, and trim any fat before cooking.
- Wrap fish in kitchen foil with some veg and ‘steam’ on the barbecue.
- Thread lean meat, onions, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms on skewers for tasty, but low SmartPoints kebabs. If you’re making burgers, add finely chopped herbs for extra flavour.
- Watch your portions when it comes to meat — it’s easy to overindulge at a barbie.
- Skip the creamy, fatty sauces and try a squeeze of lime to pep up your meat instead.
- Use lettuce wraps for a fresh, 0 SmartPoints alternative to a burger bun.
- Load up with salads and vegetables first before adding a portion of meat, rather than the other way around.
- Choose fruit for dessert — you can even barbecue it. Pineapple and mango skewers are particularly delicious.
It’s just not summer without barbecues — and luckily there are plenty of ways to tweak your recipes so your weight-loss stays on track [File photo]
Which sauce to choose?
Heinz Tomato Ketchup, 1 tbsp = 1 SmartPoint
Hellmann’s Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise, 1 tbsp = 1 SmartPoint
Waitrose Guacamole, ¼ tub = 4 SmartPoints
Tesco Mango Chutney, 1 tbsp = 2 SmartPoints
Sainsbury’s Sweetcorn Relish, 1 tbsp = 1 SmartPoint
WW Freestyle made simple
The WW Freestyle programme is based on three elements — healthy eating, fitness and mindset — which combine to help you make positive, longterm changes to your lifestyle.
On WW Freestyle all food and drink has a designated SmartPoints value, one easy-to-use number calculated according to three key elements:
- Calories establish the baseline for the number of SmartPoints the food is worth. Saturated fat and sugar increase the SmartPoints value as too much of them is not good for your health.
- Protein lowers the SmartPoints value (the more protein in any food, the fewer its SmartPoints) because protein builds and repairs tissue and helps you to feel fuller for longer.
- As a general guide, don’t exceed a total of 23 SmartPoints a day, and you will lose weight (a healthy rate of weight loss is ½-2lb per week).
When you join WW Freestyle, you get a personalised SmartPoints Budget, calculated according to your age, height, weight and gender to ensure optimum health and steady weight loss.
You will also get an extra Weekly Budget to use on treats, bigger portions (for when you’re really hungry) and nights out.
In addition, you can boost your SmartPoints Budget by earning FitPoints for any activity you take part in.
Make the most of sunny days out
One of the best things about summer is fun days out.
Here are tips for enjoying a full social life, while being kind to your waistline.
At a festival . . .
- Check out all the food stalls when you first arrive. Then you’ll know the best place to head for when you get hungry.
- Avoid greasy fried foods or pies, and choose fresh, herby salads or rice bowls packed with vegetables instead.
- Look for dishes with filling ingredients such as beans, legumes and grains. Take your own snacks with you.
- Bananas, rice cakes and popcorn are all good options. Always carry a water bottle to help you stay hydrated and avoid buying sugary drinks.
At the seaside . . .
- An average portion of fish and chips from the chippie is about 30 SmartPoints! Ask for a smaller portion or save your weekly extra points and fill up on mushy peas instead.
- When possible, choose a grilled, steamed or baked fish fillet rather than fried. Or pick non-smoked seafood options which are 0 SmartPoints, but also big on flavour, such as crab, scallops, mussels and prawns.
At the buffet . . .
- Check out the buffet table to find the healthier dishes before you start filling your plate.
- Go for foods that are grilled, steamed, baked or boiled — rather than fried — and load up on veggies and lean meats.
- Find somewhere quiet to sit down properly and enjoy your food. Try to stay out of view of the buffet so you’re not tempted to nip back and pick!
- Avoid foods laden with sauces and condiments. Adding your own makes it much easier to track what you are eating.
- It can be easy to overeat at buffets. Try to eat mindfully and stop when you are full.
Stay on track as you travel
Eating on the go can be a challenge if you are trying to lose weight. Here are some handy ideas to help you make healthy choices.
- Taking a packed lunch or snacks with you on any journey will avoid having to buy emergency chocolates and crisps at a petrol station.
- Pitta sandwiches are great for lunch on the move. Try combining prawns with watercress and reduced-fat mayo, roasted veg with reduced-fat houmous, or fresh crab with a radish salad.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand for when hunger strikes. Spicy roasted chickpeas, crunchy veg sticks with harissa yoghurt dip, fresh berries with little pots of natural yoghurt, and fruity baked oat muffins with reduced-fat cream cheese or herbed quark, all hit the spot.
- If you do end up breaking your journey at a motorway services or restaurant, remember to use the WW app to calculate the SmartPoints values of food you choose.
- Stay cool and hydrated when you’re travelling. This will also help to keep hunger pangs to a minimum as we often mistake thirst for hunger.
- A good trick is to pack a cool bag full of frozen water bottles (they will defrost as you drive and will keep your food cold at the same time). Add ice cubes and mint leaves to water bottles for an extra-refreshing drink.
- Take a few herbal teabags with you so that you can make healthy, zero SmartPoints drinks when you arrive.
- If you are flying, it can be hard to know which are the healthiest in-flight options but fish, chicken and vegetable meals are usually the best bet. Safer still, take your own.
- You won’t be able to take dips, dressings or drinks through security but you may be able to buy them in the departure area.
- Put a few snacks in your carry-on luggage, such as fruit, popcorn or crudités. Avoid alcohol on the flight and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
If you are flying, it can be hard to know which are the healthiest in-flight options but fish, chicken and vegetable meals are usually the best bet. Safer still, take your own [File photo]
What you get as a WW member
- WW app The 4.8-star rated app lets you scan barcodes in the supermarket for quick tracking, access meditation exercises and on-demand audio workouts, and record your wellness journey.
- WW Workshops Benefit from face-to-face weight-loss support at a workshop from an expert WW Coach.
- Recipes Access thousands of quick and easy recipes using simple, nutritious ingredients, with their SmartPoints already calculated for you.
- Online Coach Chat to an expert Online Coach for guidance and advice whenever you need it, 24/7.
- Connect Social community support full of inspiration and motivation from fellow WW members.
- To find out more about the system, visit ww.com/uk.