Disclaimer: I am not a Slimming World consultant, I have just been on the plan a while. Advice on this thread – or the forum – is not a replacement for the advice of your consultant. The only way to get 100% correct information is to attend a Slimming World group, or body optimise online. Some of the information may not be correct either due to my misunderstanding or Slimming World changing. I cannot be held responsible for misinformation. If you find this to be true please let me know and not type mean posts – Thank You. Mini Mins members cannot publish full lists of Free Foods, Healthy Extras or Syns
AS OF JANUARY 2015 SLIMMING WORLD HAVE CHANGED THEIR APPROACH TO NEW MEMBERS, STREAMLINED THE EXTRA EASY PLAN AND WILL NO LONGER BE REFERRING TO RED OR GREEN IN ANY PUBLICATIONS. THEY HAVE ALSO INTRODUCED A NEW TOOL (I've been told not to call it a plan, but it's basically a plan). MOST OF THE ADVICE BELOW IS STILL VALID, HOWEVER PLEASE GO BY WHAT YOU CONSULTANT SAYS IN THE FIRST INSTANCE. I WILL DO MY BEST TO UPDATE THIS POST OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS - THANK YOU
Your New Mantra
I am not on a diet – I am following a healthy eating plan
I’m not looking for a quick fix – I want to lose weight and change my attitude to food... for life!
I don’t have to give anything up – variety is the spice of life
Everything in moderation – remember too much of a good thing…
I want to change my life for the better
Now Let Us Begin…
Slimming World is a plan of its own. A lot of people try it after Weight Watchers and it can be hard to break the ‘points’ habit, or any other diet plan for that matter. Try and come into it with a clear and open mind. Positive thinking has a lot to answer for! Slimming World has over 40 years of success - so they know what they're doing!
The only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you are taking it – create a calorie deficit. There are lots of ways to do this, some not as healthy as others, Slimming World has created a plan to give you a calorie deficit with minimal effort on your part, follow and trust the plan.
Free foods are called free because you can have as much as you want without feeling guilty. No measuring, no weight - just eat until you're full. Yes you really can eat as much as you want. I'm sure at this point you're thinking "year right... where's the catch?" - There isn't one! And here's why - the free foods have a low calorie density – so you get much more ‘value for calorie’. These foods are chosen as they fill you up quick and keep you full up for longer.
Check the food optimising book for the full list, but on the Extra Easy plan includes:
- Rice, Pasta and Grains
- Starchy Vegetables and Pulses
- Lean Meat and Poultry
- Some Fish
- Vegetable Proteins / Meat Replacement
These foods contain high levels of carbohydrates which fill you up and slowly release energy or high levels of protein which also fill you up and keeps hunger pangs away.
There are lots of other free foods to make your meals more interesting, and to simply get through the day without being worried about counting every little thing.
Other free foods include:
- some low calorie dairy products (like quark, low fat cottage cheese)
- Herbs and Spices
- Vinegar, Salt and Pepper
- Soy Sauce
- Stock Pots, Liquid Stock, Liquid Stock Concentrate, Bouillon Powder and Stock Cude
- Tea, Coffee and Bovril
- Artificial Sweetener
- No Added Sugar Cordials
A full list of all the fabulous free foods, drinks and store cupboard staples can be found in your Food Optimising Book
Superfree foods are simply fruit and vegetables that are free on all plans. Back before there was the Extra Easy there were Red days and Green days (I’ll get into that later) and a superfree food was a food that was free on both days - like lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes, certain Müller light yogurts, Bovril, soy sauce etc., they’d all be superfree. Now superfree means something slightly different. The book definition is: “super-satisfying for your appetite and the lowest in calories” It’s just most fruit and veg. I must emphasise most. You must check your book, garden peas for example, that isn’t superfree, just a free food.
Ideally you need to be filling your plate a third full with some superfree foods – when it makes sense. Having spag bol? No need to have broccoli on the side, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and garlic already make up a third of your plate, of course you can add that salad, you can have as much superfree food as you want (it’s got the word free in it). If you were having steak and chips for example, maybe try to grill or fry (in a syn free spray or syn some oil – details below) some mushrooms, onions, or a tomato to have with it, don’t like those? No problem. What about in the morning, bacon and egg, do you need to cook some carrots, or a side salad, no just have it plain! I’ve mentioned mainly vegetables here, but there are a lot of fruits (in fact I don’t *think* there is a fruit not on the list) so you can have a fruit salad after your meal instead if you prefer. The main message I’m trying to get across is fill a third when you can but it won’t ruin the plan if you don’t!
Since a lot of people ask questions about this 1/3 thing here's a link to Slimming World's explanation: Why include one third of a plate of Superfree Foods? Is it mandatory?
You should be having 1 A and 1 B every day. Healthy Extras are in the plan to make sure we get the extra nutrients our body need that we’re not getting from the (super)free foods; fibre, calcium, and fat. Plus all the vitamins and minerals we need. The reason these foods are limited is because whilst they are good for us, when eaten in excess they cause weight gain – so it’s very important to measure them correctly and not to guesstimate. A choices are all dairy for calcium and fat so you can choose from milk and cheese, there are lots of different variations, including goats, sheep and soya milk amongst others if you’re allergic to cows milk (which is also included). The cheeses vary as well from cheddar to babybells! The B choices cover a wider range, including: cereals, bread, cereal bars, dried/canned/cooked fruit, soups, nuts and others. (Each Healthy Extra serving is approx 6 syns if you want to have additional servings and syn them)
Syns are a point value are are given to everything that don't fit into the category of free food or healthy extra - it's not just "treats" like chocolate, wine, sweets, biscuits etc.(although these do have a syn value). It can be things like gravy, butter, stuffing, additional Healthy Extra's like cheese, milk and bread. Syns are there so you don’t feel deprived or have to cut anything out. We all like a nice treat, whether it be a big bar of chocolate or gallons of gravy on our Sunday dinner, but too much causes weight gain.
Everything that isn’t a (Super)Free Food or used as a Healthy Extras has a syn value; the number depends on how calorie dense it is. I.e. how many calories it has for its volume, and how quickly it turns to energy. Don’t think that because of the name all syns are bad foods, as mentioned above it could be anything. For example a Tesco Healthy Living Caesar Dressing isn’t a ‘bad’ food – yet it has a syn value (it’s 1/2 syn per tbsp). Also don’t get tripped up by fat-free, low calorie or diet foods (especially yoghurts). They might be low in fat, but high in sugar, or low in sugar but high in fat, or they might be low in sugar, low in fat, low in taste but high on syns – always check. It's always worth checking before you eat. The website has access to the massive database, as well as the calculator. There is a small directory in the back of the book you get when you join a group so you'll be well prepared.
A quick little detour here, the problem with syns is the name, people hear syns and think bad things, but it actually stands for synergy. So I refer to them as synergy points, it's just a little something I do to help my subconscious!
Red and Green
Back before there was Extra Easy there were Red Days and Green Days (at the start there was only Red days also know as original) those plans work very similarly, but the free foods are different, you can have 2 A's and 2 B's and the list of B's are different. On a Red Day the free foods are lean meats and fish and all the carbohydrate heavy foods are limited to being Healthy Extras and on green days the reverse is true. You can find more details about Red and Green in your starter pack. If you want to give it a go have a chat with your consultant. (If you are a vegetarian it may especially be worth doing enquiring about the Green plan).
All three slimming world plans follow three steps;
1. Fill up on (super)free foods – maximum satisfaction for minimum calories
2. Have your Healthy Extras – get all your vitamins and minerals
3. Use all your syns – because nothing is forbidden
Remember to follow all three steps of the plan. To quote my consultant “no-one comes into group and says, “I didn’t have any free food this week” you wouldn’t ignore that step, so remember to follow all three”. Those are the basics of the plan!!
Any questions just ask. Good luck everyone!!
Some Frequently Asked Questions - (Slimming World FAQ's)
Common Misconseptions - (Common SW misconceptions put right.)