The WeightWatchers® guide to dining out

Yay, someone else is doing the cooking! Here's how to savor the experience and stay within your Points Budget.
Published October 15, 2019 | Updated February 7, 2023

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? You can eat at any restaurant on WeightWatchers—just follow these tips to maximize your experience. 

1. Plan ahead

If you want to order your favorite pasta or steak dish, stick to foods with lower Points values earlier in the day.

2. Before you go, look up the menu online

Find foods that are on the ZeroPoint® foods list and build a tasty and nutritious meal from there. Order first so you won’t be swayed by what others order.

3. Use your weekly Points and rollovers

They give you more flexibility. Try to track the best you can—estimating is A-OK! (Tracking before you go helps you stick to your Budget.)

4. Understand the lingo

Smothered, rich, au gratin, glazed and creamy usually indicate higher Points values. Flame-grilled, poached, smoked, baked and grilled tend to be lower in Points.

5. Don’t be shy about special requests

Ask to replace fries with a salad or have half of your meal boxed up to go at the start. (Unless, of course, you want them—in which case, track and enjoy!)

6. Resign from the clean plate club

There’s no prize for finishing your food. Stop when you’re satisfied, not when you’re stuffed. Put your napkin on your plate to signal that you’re finished.

7. Be salad savvy

Creamy dressings, croutons, and bacon are delicious but high in Points. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way! Ask for them on the side so you can add as little or as much as you want.

8. Enjoy yourself

That’s most important! If you want it, and it’s worth it to you, get it and love every bite! And if you go over, it’s OK. It’s what you do next that matters most.

A quick guide to dining out

At a coffee shop
  • Think of specialty coffee drinks as dessert. Those fancy flavored, cream-topped drinks can have more Points than a slice of cake!

At an Indian restaurant
  • Tandoori dishes are often a healthier choice since they're grilled, not fried.

  • Don’t skip past the vegetarian options—they can be a lower Points choice.

  • Go hot and spicy—vindaloo or madras if you can handle it. You’ll find them harder to over-eat.

At an Italian restaurant
  • Opt for tomato or vegetable-based dishes (Arrabiata, Marinara, Napoletana) rather than creamy or cheesy dishes (Carbonara, Alfredo, Boscaiola).

  • Many restaurants now offer two sizes of pasta. The appetizer portion is often enough for a main course.

At an Asian restaurant
  • Use chopsticks. They can help you take smaller bites and slow down your pace of eating, especially if you’re not used to them.

  • Avoid foods that are described as "crispy"—they're likely to be deep-fried.

  • Portion sizes can be large, so consider sharing dishes.

At the pub
  • Scan the menu closely and look for options that won’t blow your Points Budget.

  • Try an appetizer and see how you feel before ordering more food.