Eating Out without the Calorie Count

Eating out without the calorie count

Last summer, Parliament passed legislation making it compulsory for restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 employees to print calorie labels on menus. We know that many people with eating disorders will find this makes an already challenging situation harder.

Our Eating Disorder Peer Recovery group has been formed to address issues such as this and we are launching this summer with our Eating Out Without the Calorie Count (#EWOCC) initiative. The aim is to:

  1. Support our patients to continue to move forward in their recovery journey; continuing to enjoy eating out without the pressure of the calorie count.
  2. Encourage restaurants to be welcoming and recovery friendly by providing flexibility and the ability to make a recovery informed choice (rather than an Eating Disorder informed one).

We are also pleased to be able to share advice from our Peer Support workers (individuals with lived experience), from those who access our service and from clinicians in the wider Specialist Eating Disorder team (SEDS):


Ring ahead and ask if the restaurant has a calorie free menu option or ask for the calorie free version when you get there - some restaurants provide this.


Order the same as a friend or family member to take the pressure off making the decision for yourself.


Ask someone you trust for help if you feel like you are struggling. They could read the menu items to you if you don't yet feel comfortable looking at the menu yourself.


Remember that eating out is a social activity, so it is important to tune into what is important about this for you, such as helping you to connect with and spend time with friends and family members.


Be prepared and try to have a plan for how you can approach making choices. You could set a time limit (30 seconds to 1 minute) for how long you allow yourself to make a choice, or you could decide on the type of food you would like before you go.

Advice and support

If you're looking for more support, our partner, Beats, has put together guidance to help with dining out now the new laws have come into effect.

Click here to visit the Beats website

For more information and advice on how to stop calorie counting’ click below:

Advice for Eating Out with Calorie Labelling

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