Eeeeeekkkkkk tweaks

With Halloween coming up it seems the perfect time to write this blog. Very if ten what you think is a great could be a trick!!

Tweaks rarely come up in my group, as I’m pretty hot on explaining them. However due to recent fb groups sharing incorrect information it has cropped up and it could upset a few. I thought it was best to dispel the myths and misconceptions, to protect my members and others too.

What is a tweak? It’s a creative way of using what would usually be a free food. For example a cake out of cous cous. So why aren’t these free?? They use free foods? It’s pretty simple really. It makes me sad when people who try and point out tweaks are called the tweak police lol. Whats the role of a policeman? To protect people and ensure they don’t get hurt right. So why is this a bad thing? If a policeman said don’t go down that alley way, there’s a mad man down there and you could get hurt, would you think, oh well I’ll risk it and happily skip on lol? No. Now if people choose to tweak, even knowing the facts, that’s entirely their choice. If you lose weight then I wouldn’t get too hung up on it. However if your losses have slowed down or stopped altogether, this could be why. Here’s Slimming Worlds official reply from the website:-

2) ARE COUSCOUS CAKE AND LASAGNE-SHEET DORITOS FREE?

You might be disappointed to hear that they’re not. Because changing the use of a food can make it easier to over-eat, to protect your weight loss they become Synned.

When foods like pasta, rice and grains are used in their original form they’re low in energy density (calories), bulky, appetite-satisfying foods. Pasta, couscous and rice are usually the main ingredient in a meal packed with other Free Foods – giving it sufficient bulk to be satisfying as a meal in itself. However, when ground down, used as flour (like in couscous cake), seasoned crisps (like Doritos) or puréed (like smoothies) they’re often used as additions to a main meal… and on top of your day’s Syns. It is a very effective way of adding a lot of extra calories in a non-bulky way, and as such would then be counted as Syns.

Our advice, as always, is to use Free Foods and Healthy Extras to create satisfying, filling meals – reaching for speedy Superfree fruit and veg first in between meals. As a safety net, Free Food lifesavers are the best option to fill us up on those extra-hungry days.

If you sit and think about it, do naturally slim people make cakes from cous cous or crisps out of lasagne sheets ha ha. They’d think we were mad! Years and years ago I used to make both of these and to be honest if rather syn the real thing.

Common Tweaks
Couscous as a sweet dessert/porridge replacement
Couscous made up in this way with water, yogurt and sweetener would be considered a tweak. Couscous is included in our Free Food list so it can be enjoyed as part of a meal, to add even more filling power, Used in that way you’re unlikely to eat couscous in large quantities. However if we eat couscous as a sweet dessert we are not eating the ingredient as it was intended to be used and we should count the Syns to protect our weight loss.

Rice puddings made up with diet drinks
Using diet soda (or any other Free liquid – including water) to make up pudding rice is a tweak as it makes bulky Free rice – intended to be eaten as part of a satisfying, Free Food-packed meal – very easy to overeat between and after meals.

Lasagne sheets to make spring rolls
There have been some queries relating to using par-boiled (softened) lasagne sheets filled with Free Foods (bean sprouts/shredded carrots/Chinese five spice) then baked to make spring rolls. In principle this is no different to cannelloni. If eaten as part of a filling meal this is fine. If we are making trays of lasagne/spring rolls and eating them in addition to meals, it would be something to look at if their weight losses start to slow.

Adding rice when blending soup
Blended rice has a Syn value as it loses its filling power.

Blending Mullerlight yogurt with milk or water to make a drink
This is a tweak. Yogurts aren’t intended to be used this way and ‘diluting’ them reduces both the time it takes to eat them (ie they become east to overeat) and their satisfying power. If we do want to make shakes/drinks with yogurts, we need to syn them to count the equivalent Syn value of a branded yogurt drink to protect our weight loss.

Why is soup Free but vegetable juice isn’t?
When fruit is enjoyed in its original form it is a bulky, satiating food that’s low in energy density. However, when puréed, juiced or made into smoothies, it is a very effective way of adding a lot of extra calories in a non-bulky way. For example, consider the time it takes to eat six apples – and how full you’d feel afterwards (if you managed to eat them all!). Then the time it takes to drink the equivalent apple juice… it’s gone in a gulp! Furthermore, juice doesn’t sit in your stomach for very long, so does not fill you up. Also, much of the fiber that was in the apples tends not to end up in the juice.

Eating in this way simply allows us to revert to a similar style of eating to the one that helped us gain weight in the first place – a relatively large amount of calories in a non-filling form. The less you have to chew food, the easier it is to eat more of it, because you’re missing out one of the first stages of feeling full and satisfied – chewing.

The exception to the rule is vegetables when used to make soup – which maintains its bulky, filling qualities and is used as a meal.

Other tweaks include:
Smash and cottage cheese scones
Chickpea nuts
Lasagne crisps
Twiglets made from pasta

Tweak or not a tweak?

Pancakes made with couscous – tweak because it’s couscous as a flour substitute.

Doughnut using Healthy Extra ‘b’ choice wholemeal roll, low calorie jam and sprinkled with sweetener – not a tweak because it is a Healthy Extra ‘b’ choice.

Egg custard made with 3 eggs, 3 tbsp Splenda and one banana and custard Mullerlight – not a tweak because we use eggs in this way in several of our recipes.

Mushypea curry – not a tweak because it remains filling and satisfying. The same for potato cakes as long as these are made with fresh potatoes and not Smash.

Macaroni pudding – if made up with milk (as intended) from Healthy Extra allowance then this is fine. If made with any other free liquid (including water and sweetener) this needs to be counted as Syns because it’s easy to overeat.

Jelly sweets – not a tweak because tweaks can only be Free Food, not Synned food. The fact they there are Syns, limits the amount you can eat.

Mushy pea gravy – not a tweak because it would be very difficult to overeat gravy.

So there you have it folks. Happy Fopping xx

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8 responses

  1. Thank you for providing this brilliant explanation which Completely makes sense. With regards to rice pudding-Once every 3-6 months I may have a small bowl using aporox 125g of pudding rice and softening the ruce in a pan of water…. Once ready I add sweetener and a dash of milk from my allowance and 1 tsp of raspberry jam for 1 syn…. Based on what you are saying abive us this a tweak? Thank you Amanda x

  2. Thank you for this explanation makes sense and
    hopefully will clear up a lot of misconceptions on
    what is right and what is wrong in the use of
    different products and the reasons for the
    correct way to use them !

  3. I have made the jelly sweets using Cherry Coke Zero and gelatine, thereby they are free and not synned like when using sugar free jelly crystals.
    Is this a tweak?
    Thanks in advance.

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