Say No To Upsizing

Do you have what it takes to keep your wits about you when you’re eating out so you don’t end up having more than you need?  Check out this guide to help you stay on track next time you order food or drink on the go.

We’ve all done it. You pop into a restaurant, café, newsagent or cinema planning to just pick up one or two things – a drink or maybe something to eat – and before you know it you’ve just bought a much bigger portion. How did that happen? 

It’s known as ‘upsizing’, and it’s a common practice. It can be very easy for us to say yes to upsizes, especially when it feels like a good deal, but we don’t have to! It’s up to us to say ‘no thanks’ to those extra calories. It all adds up.

When could you experience upsizing?

Many restaurants and cafes entice you to buy just that little bit more than you wanted to. It might be good business for them, but it’s not great for you as you end up spending more than you would have, and end up chomping on a load of extra calories. There’s nothing wrong with saying ‘no thanks’. Nothing at all.

So here are some handy numbers to keep in your head for the next time you’re tempted to say: ‘Oh, go on then’ to an upsize.

Dining Out

Many of us treat ourselves to a burger every now and then. An average cheeseburger has about 345 calories, which is perfectly fine for a main meal from time to time. But if you say yes to regular fries (about 295 calories), you’re almost doubling that. A side of onion rings? That's another 234 calories on average!

Did you know – 4.6lbs is the amount of weight you could gain over the course of a year by upsizing from a cheeseburger to a meal with regular fries, regular fizzy drink and onion rings  once a week (688 kcals per week). 


Food on the Go

How many times have you ordered a coffee and been asked if you want a larger one, or whether you’re interested in a pastry? Or bought a sandwich at lunchtime and been given a friendly nod towards the meal deal? And what about when you buy a magazine and the person on the till asks if you’d like a slab of chocolate bigger than your head for just a few extra pence? Tempting, isn’t it?

It’s easy to say ‘no thanks’, and it’s a great feeling to say ‘yes please’ to being healthier and more in control of what you’re eating. If you feel like having some crisps, buy a normal bag instead of the grab bag which is double the size, and double the calories. Desperate for a latte? A small or medium one is just as satisfying as the giant version. And that brownie? That’s 346 calories. Do you really need it?


Out and About

We all experience upsizing when we’re out and about, whether we’re aware of it or not. Often, we’re in a hurry and it feels like our options are limited, especially if we’re on the move. Sometimes we’re all guilty of grabbing a larger bag of snacks than we originally planned.

Or it’s the opposite of that: if you’re looking for a snack in the cinema there’s an overwhelming choice, and it’s always tempting to go for a bigger size for ‘just a few extra pence’. But stand firm: do you really need enough popcorn to feed an army? Is it worth it? Are we really being offered a good deal? 

Test your skills on the Food Standards Scotland website.

Head back to the Food Standards Scotland campaign page for more information on food safety, healthy eating tips and more.