picture of the shop fronts of subway, mcdonald's and M&S and a cup in a costa coffee shop

There was a brilliant response to last week’s blog How to eat healthily in coffee shops

I thought I’d follow it up with another one with some practical tips for you!

We’ve all been caught in that situation where we need to eat but we’re somewhere where there really doesn’t seem to be any healthy options. It’s easy to get stressed out and often people end up thinking, “to hell with it” and ordering a Big Mac and fries!

If you’re in a small coffee shop or cafe don’t be shy about asking for something that isn’t on the menu, often they’ll knock you up some scrambled eggs on toast or something.


But what if you’re not somewhere where they can rustle you something up?


I’ve gone through the menus for McDonalds, Costa, Subway and M&S to give you an idea of what you can go for should you find yourself in one of these places. They are everywhere so the chances are you’ll be near one of them!

The Lean Mums recipes are all around 400 calories, which is a decent figure to aim for. I’ve tried to find options that are close to this. Okay they may not be the perfect meal, with the super fresh ingredients you’d be eating in an ideal world. But life doesn’t work like that, sometimes it’s about picking an option that whilst it isn’t ideal, is still a hell of a lot better than a portion of fries! Call it damage limitation!

What became clear very quickly is that it’s actually quite easy to pick an option from one of these places that is either 400 calories or below. Where you’ll run into problems is when you start adding crisps and drinks into the equation.

If you’re somewhere like Costa, adding a milky coffee and some form of treat could easily add another 400-500 calories onto your meal, bringing you up to almost 1000 calories!

So tip number one is to go for one of the sandwich options I’ll give you but avoid supplementing that with any crisps or treat. For your drink go for either water or a diet drink which will contain little to no calories.

That way you’ll still be eating around 400 calories as you would be at home and you are staying on track! You also don’t have to feel guilty!



First up the good old Golden Arches! Surely there can’t be any good options from here?

In fact there’s quite a few! The lowest calorie option is there grilled chicken and bacon salad which is only 184 calories.

But if you want something more substantial their Big Flavour Wraps are around 350 calories providing you go for the grilled option. So that includes chicken and garlic mayo, hot peri peri chicken and sweet chilli chicken! Sorted! Don’t be tempted to add a medium portion of fries, that’ll add 237 calories!!



Providing you can stay away from meal deals and additional snacks the M&S sandwiches are a decent option.

Here’s a few that would be okay:

Egg mayo 340 cals
Tuna sweetcorn 400
Ham, mustard and mayo 330 cals
Chicken and bacon 255 cals



Exactly the same applies as at M&S, just avoid the other stuff where possible and pick one of these sandwiches, or one with similar calories:

Smoked salmon and soft cheese 372 cals
Roast chicken salad 396 cals
Free range egg 342 cals
BLT 405 cals



Well this was a big shock, if you go for a 6 incher and avoid the sauces, there are a surprising number of options under 400 calories. The sauces will push the calories right up so just don’t get them added. And again just avoid the cookies and crisps as they’ll take you calories right up too.

Any of these options would be fine though:

Tuna on wheat bread with salad, no sauce 396 cals
Steak and cheese on wheat bread with salad, no sauce 355 cals
Turkey breast and ham on wheat bread with cheese, salad, no sauce 296 cals
Chicken breast on wheat bread with cheese, salad, no sauce 346 cals
Veggie Delite on wheat bread, no cheese, salad 221 cals


The main thing I want you to take from this is that you can still pick good options at all these places. It might not be perfect, but as I say life doesn’t work like that. The main thing is to make sensible choices where you can.

And don’t feel you just have to eat the options I’ve given. Read the labels and if you see something that’s around 400 calories or under, go for it. Pick something that suits you.

As always if you found this useful please feel free to pass it on to anyone else you think it might help.

And if you have any questions just shout?

Have a great week!


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