I find that sticking to the Slimming World plan is easier when I follow some basic steps: thinking about the week ahead, planning menus, and getting in the right ingredients. I like to make sure I have some snacks that fit in with the plan, and also some really yummy things on which I can use my daily syn allowance (up to 15).

I tend to eat syn-free food for most of the day, and use some or all of my syns for treats when I hit that ‘need something sweet’ craving between dinner and bedtime. One of my favourite treats is Dolfin’s Earl Grey chocolate. It’s dark chocolate, made with Earl Grey tea, and has little crunchy bits in it. Not overly sweet, it comes in bars of 6 strips, each of which is 3 syns. Any diet that lets you have nearly a full bar of chocolate a day is okay in my book! Dolfin have other unusual flavours; I’m not a big fan of the pink peppercorn or hot masala, but the almond, ginger and plain dark chocolate are all really good.

Having a syn range really focuses your mind on the things that you think are worth using up some of your allowance for, and which are not. I suspect everyone works out their own syn-pleasure equation. Biscuits are pretty much not worth it, in my mind, and most crisps and nuts are too costly for the enjoyment I get from them. Cheese features pretty often, especially Parmesan and Feta, and I also like Mikado sticks (1/2 syn each) and Minstrels (7 for 5 syns).

simplyrecipes.com

One of the other things that works for me is switching around the menu plans. We tend to get a bit lazy, and stick to recipes we know, but that can lead us to fall out of love with them. My OH is a whizz at a yummy Italian risotto from one of the SW cookbooks, but he’s bored with doing it now, so we need to find him a new signature dish. I like to try new recipes as often as I can, to add some variety to the week’s menus. So far this week, I’ve made two soups from SW’s Little Book of Soups, the Mediterranean roasted vegetable soup and the Italian chicken soup. Tonight we had the sticky sweet and sour chicken from this month’s SW magazine. It was delicious, and I’d love to share it here, but it’s copyright protected. I have, though, found a sweet and sour chicken recipe online that looks fairly similar. You could serve it with noodles, either stirred through or on the side, or rice, if you prefer. The photo comes from the same site – doesn’t it look fresh and delicious?

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