One of the most common questions asked by members in various Weight Watchers groups has to do with what you should eat when at a restaurant. This Weight Watchers Dining Out Guide isn’t like the booklets you get in the meetings but is a real-life set of tips to help you succeed. These are the tips we use to stay on track no matter what restaurant we happen to stop at for dinner.
Weight Watchers Dining Out Guide
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The tips below are from my own experience, as well as from those who have shared in our groups. I am going to begin by saying once again, that Weight Watchers is designed to fit into your life. That means that you can eat anything you want, you just have to account for it within your points. There are some basic tips below, as well as thoughts for specific food types.
Weight Watchers FreeStyle has a dining out guide that you can purchase at the local meetings. It also has a list of point values for many popular restaurants within the app and website. This is handy for many, but sometimes we don’t have that on hand and just need some basic tips. If you haven’t joined yet, you can order the Weight Watchers FreeStyle kit on Amazon for a slightly elevated price. It comes with the latest cookbook as well as some other tools. That said, you will need to join for full access to food points and counting tools.
Basic Dining Out Guide
Below you’ll find some basic reminders for any time you choose to eat out at a restaurant. These tips are common sense reminders of how to make wise choices that can cut points while still enjoying time out with your family. Of course, if you are on a budget, you may want to check out our tips for saving money eating out.
- Skip deep fried foods
- Don’t drink alcohol or regular soft drinks
- Avoid cheese or cream sauces
- Fill up on vegetables and eat a smaller portion of meats and pasta or starches
- Skip the appetizers and ask for a side with light dressing instead
- Ask for the complimentary chips or breads to be removed from the table
- Ask for a to-go box in advance and divide the entree into 2 portions. One for now and one for later.
- Have salad dressing on the side and portion by dipping a fork into it, or using only half.
- Don’t add extra salt to your meals
- Choose grilled or broiled meats
- Skip the rice and potato side dishes and choose steamed vegetables or fresh fruit
- Ask the wait staff about cooking methods. If possible, ask for no oils and no added butter on vegetables or grilled items.
Chinese Restaurant Guide
Eating out at a Chinese restaurant or buffet is one of the favorites of many of our support group members. The thing is, at least 75% of the food on those buffets is just not healthy. While you can eat anything on Weight Watchers, you still need to be mindful of making healthier choices. That means that a buffet restaurant may not be a good decision. It also means you need to remember that sodium in soy sauce and things like MSG that are very common in Chinese food are going to cause water retention and weight gain. While it is temporary, it will still reflect on the scales.
- If you want rice or noodles, choose the steamed rice or rice noodles that have not been fried
- Pick the Hibatchi option and build your own plate with zero point foods and spices instead of sugar and oil-laden sauces
- Choose steamed vegetables that aren’t cooked in oils and sauces
- Skip all deep fried foods, including egg rolls
- Egg drop and hot and sour soups are great to fill up on for low points, but they are high in sodium so may result in water retention weight gain
- Shrimp, chicken breast, tofu, and all vegetables are zero points by themselves, so easy to create a low point meal when you request no sauce or sauce on the side.
- Skip the desserts and choose fresh fruit instead
I have a ton of great Chinese flavor recipes to try that have also been a huge hit on Weight Watchers. Check out our really popular and low point Weight Watchers Sesame Chicken, Chicken and Veggie Stir Fry, and Fried Rice Stuffed Baked Eggrolls. My friend Sadie also has an amazing Vegetable Instant Pot Lo’Mein recipe and a Shrimp
Pizza Dining Out Guide
Pizza is a favorite for almost everyone. While we have great Weight Watchers Pizza Recipes here that you can make at home, most people just like the convenience of picking up a phone and ordering a pizza to be delivered. The tips below will help make that easier to manage, and still possible.
- Choose thin crust
- Skip the fatty meats like hamburger, pepperoni, and sausages. Choose ham or chicken if you really want a meat topping.
- Load up on vegetables of all kinds for zero point additions.
- Skip the added butter or oil on the crusts.
- Never order extra cheese
- Slice into smaller pieces to give the satisfaction of the flavor without the indulgence.
Italian Restaurant Guide
Pizza isn’t the only Italian food out there that we love to enjoy. Pasta is higher in points but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some great meals.
- Choose from salads that include lean proteins, eggs, and are loaded on vegetables but ask for dressing on the side
- Skip cream or cheese sauces on pasta
- Skip the deep-fried or cheese-laden appetizer dishes
- Avoid desserts
- Don’t drink wine with your meal
- Ask for dipping sauces, oils, and bread to be left off your meal
- Pick grilled or broiled items that have little to no oils
Our latest hit recipe helps with the bread craving. Make our Mozzarella Cheese Stick stuffed Bread for only 4 SmartPoints each! Serve alongside our Lightened Up Homemade Lasagna Dish that is only 6 SmartPoints per serving.
Fast Food Guide
Fast food is probably the least friendly place to go when trying to eat healthily. That said, it is not impossible, and you can account for any item you want no matter what restaurant.
- Ask for grilled chicken breast without the bun and toppings
- Choose the fresh fruit option. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Sonic all have fresh fruit in kids meals as well as on their menu for $1 or less. Chick Fil A has a fresh fruit bowl that is seasonal fruit.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a salad as a side to a sandwich, or as a stand-alone meal. Simply check for low-fat salad dressings or use your own salad dressing from home.
- A small French fry at most restaurants is usually 7-10 points. If you are craving them, have them, but count them and choose a small option.
- Ask for no mayonnaise and no cheese on sandwiches for lower points
Some of the most Weight Watchers friendly fast food restaurants are Chick Fil A, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, and Chipotle. We love the restaurant guide on Meal Planning Mommies for some exact points on these places and more.
Greek or Meditteranean Restaurant Guide
Greek food is one of my weaknesses. I absolutely love the flavors and have found that most of the meals are very point friendly. Using tons of spice and fresh produce makes it easy to stay within your points.
- Pick the grilled meats and vegetables
- Skip the pita and dip hummus in vegetables instead
- Skip the added oils and cheeses, and use hummus for cream and flavor
- Choose the steamed or grilled vegetables or a Greek salad instead of potatoes and rice for side dishes
- Ask about the soup of the day. Lemon Chicken soup is usually low point and full of flavor
Mexican Restaurant Guide
Along with pizza, a Mexican restaurant is probably the most commonly requested meal tip we see. We all love chips and dip, along with the cheese covered enchiladas, but it isn’t necessary to have all of that to really enjoy a delicious meal. Below are some great tips for making the most of your meal without going too far over your points.
- Count out 12 tortilla chips for 4 SmartPoints and enjoy with salsa so you don’t overindulge.
- Skip the flour tortillas and choose corn instead for lower points. Most corn tortillas are 1-2 points each depending on thickness.
- Ask for cheese and sour cream to be left off of your plate
- Order vegetable or chicken fajitas
- Skip the cheese and beef enchiladas or tacos since they are higher in points and fat
- If you order the taco salad, don’t eat the chips or tortilla bowl
- Don’t order nachos
- Always ask if the refried beans have lard. If so, skip them as they will be much higher in fats.
As you can tell, these lists are great for getting started when eating out. Nothing has to stop you from enjoying foods on the road that may not otherwise be high in points. A few specific requests at most restaurants will help you to stay within your points range while also appreciating convenience on the road. This Weight Watchers dining out guide is a great place to begin!