Food & Nutrition

Enjoy Dining Out

Yay! Someone else is doing the cooking. Here's how to savor the experience and stay close to your plan.
Published February 10, 2017

Sure, eating every single meal at home is one way to ensure you’re the boss of your food choices. But who lives that way? Most of us have to grab food on the go at some point, or are obliged to eat out frequently with work colleagues, or want to enjoy a nice restaurant meal with friends or family. Here are some more helpful dining-out ideas, including ways to use Weight Watchers tools.

Lining up your SmartPoints® Budget is the first step to enjoying an on-plan restaurant meal. Then, consider what you want to do before, during, and after the meal to help you stick to your goal.

Before you go out

Once you’ve decided on a cuisine (Italian, anyone?) and a restaurant, try to look at an online menu so you can narrow down your options. Bonus points if you pre-track your meal! You can even save your favorite restaurant meals to your Tracker.
Do the math: Will you use any of your Weekly SmartPoints values for the meal, perhaps for a special dessert?
Rehearse your “lines” ahead of time. If you’re not used to asking for “a side salad instead of fries, please,” practice before you go so you’re comfortable making the request.
Be portion savvy. Check out (and print out) our handy portion estimator!

At the restaurant

Ask questions! If you’re not sure how a dish is prepared based on the description, always ask your server for details. You don’t want to end up with a "pricey" surprise.
Get creative with the menu. No need to order a full-size entrée: Try an appetizer or small plate, or see if you can get away with ordering from the kids’ menu.
Want to satisfy your sweet tooth? Stick with something light like sorbet, or share a dessert with a friend (or just ask if you can steal one forkful before they dig in!).

After the meal

Track it. If you pre-tracked, check your numbers and adjust where necessary. Even if you went over your planned allotment of SmartPoints values, you're better off recording what you ate. It keeps you mindful and close to your plan.
Look back at how the meal went. Were there any unexpected hurdles—that basket of cheese rolls, say, or your boss urging you to try her fried calamari? How did you handle them? If you're not happy with any of your choices, what could you do differently? A post-prandial post-mortem can help set you up for success next time.
Make your very next meal an on-plan one. You've heard it before: When you slip, get right back on the path. In this case, if you've overdone it, a lower SmartPoints value meal that you measure and track carefully can help set you squarely back on solid ground. And if you haven't overdone it, you're reinforcing your good choices!