This past week in the Weight Watchers meeting room we talked about dining out in our own town. I took time to pass out nutritional fact for many restaurants in my town. Then, I asked my Weight Watchers members to find a good meal option to eat at each restaurant. This was a great activity that my members had a lot of fun with! When they left the meeting on Saturday they walked away with 9 different meal options for restaurants in town.
After reading the meeting summary below, I would highly encourage you to take the time to look up the nutritional information for different restaurants in your town. Take the time to find a good meal option that will help you stay on plan. It's better to put in the hard work now, so that when you do eat out, you already know what you're going to eat and how many PointsPlus values it is going to cost you.
I've got several links to restaurant nutritional facts on the Favorite Websites tab on my blog. You can also check out two websites that list the PointsPlus values for many popular restaurants: Dotti's Weight Loss Zone and Exercise 4 Weight Loss.
Here is the meeting summary from my Weight Watchers meeting on Saturday, June 16, 2012.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when dining out:
If you eat in a restaurant 4.2 times a week you are officially an average American. Unfortunately, the typical American is also overweight. Part of the reason is that restaurant portions tend to be oversized, and it's hard to monitor the ingredients and means of preparation, which often means high fat and calories. But that doesn’t mean you have to shun your favorite neighborhood eateries. The best way to make informed, on-Plan choices is to know your options.
Start with these smart dining strategies
Hold the butter
A University of Illinois study of 340 patrons in an Italian restaurant found that diners who dipped their bread in olive oil ate an average of 23 percent less bread, reported feeling full sooner, and consumed 50 fewer calories overall than the customers who used butter.
Stick with a classic appetizer
Get the shrimp cocktail for 4 PointsPlus® values. (A quarter cup of cocktail sauce = 2 PointsPlus values; 4 ounces of large shrimp is 2.)
Keep greens lean
Order salad dressings and sauces on the side. Dip your fork in the dressing, instead of pouring it on your greens, and you'll consume far less without noticing much of a difference in flavor.
Make it a spud light
A plain baked potato has 5 to 6 PointsPlus values, depending on size. The blob of butter or sour cream it cries out for has twice that. Squeeze a lemon wedge or use salsa instead.
Halve it your way
Ask your server to plate half your entrée and bring the other half in a doggy bag. You’re serving will probably still be larger than a "standard" portion size.
Nix the prix fixe
The automatic addition of an appetizer and dessert adds PointsPlus values and is harder to resist — after all, you've paid for them.
Redefine surf and turf
Steamed fish and grilled chicken breast are the champs of sea and land, at 3 and 4 PointsPlus values respectively for a 4-ounce portion. Request your chicken grilled dry (without oil).
Roasted chicken surprise
Some chefs put butter or oil under the chicken skin. Ask them to refrain when you order. Have your just desserts If you opt to share a dessert with a dining companion, go for the sorbet.
Look out for these “red flags” used to describe dishes that contain plenty of PointsPlus values
• au fromage
• au gratin
• au lait
• cream of
• just like mom’s