Thursday, June 7, 2012

Eating Out Fabulous

Eating out and staying on program is a problem for me.  It's not a numbers problem; I know how to calculate the points.  It's a head game with me and that is where the problem lies.

One of the joys of going out to eat is indulging in all the delightful goodies that are available - creamy alfredo sauces with parmesan cheese, spicy coconut curries, fried wontons and egg rolls, tempura fried vegetables, appetizers dripping with melted cheeses, lusciously creamy desserts . . . you get the picture.  And I'm not happy going out, paying a fortune for good food, and then leaving it on my plate.  That's a no go.  So what do I do?

First things first, though my strict Weight Watcher's friends would disagree with me, I do take one evening off of the plan every week.  It's on Tuesday night out with the family and on that one night a week I eat whatever I want.  Usually I have 20-something points left over from the day for dinner and another 49 weekly points plus whatever minimal activity I might have earned during the week.  Technically I am probably fine with those 70-something points.  But I don't count them anyway because, for some mental reason, I just need a break on those days.  It makes me feel less like a dieter and more like a "normal" person.  And as long as that is working and the scale keeps going in the right direction, I see no need to change.

But what about those other times?  What about the unexpected farewell luncheon for a retiring colleague or the office picnic?  These are times when I do have to be on plan and I do have to figure out a way to make it work.

Speaking of farewell luncheons, I had one scheduled yesterday.  We were going to a deli and I had determined to get a big lunch salad with blue cheese dressing on the side.  Add a slice of artisan bread and I knew I would be plenty satisfied.  But the unexpected happened and my colleague called off the lunch at the last minute.  There I was without a plan and with an empty lunchbox.  (Okay, technically I had some cucumber slices and some blackberries, but that wasn't going to be enough for lunch.)

I decided to take a book and head to a local Thai restaurant.  I love Thai food.  I mean I love it!  I had some fresh spring rolls there with veggies, basil leaves, and noodles inside that were to die for.  They had a little spicy dipping sauce too - wonderful!  According to the WW's website, fresh (unfried) spring rolls are 2P+ each.  Win!

I am also a 95% vegetarian, but I occasionally eat fish when I am in a bind.  Yesterday I was in a bind as I tried to explain to a Thai-speaking waitress that I wanted the tom yum salad with tofu - not shrimp.  She smiled sweetly, agreed to everything, and served me shrimp anyway.  One of the great thing about shrimp (when I can get my vegetarian head around eating what is essentially a bug) is that they are pure protein - no carbs, negligible fat - just protein.  This makes them exceptionally low in points.  Add a whole lot of lemon grass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, red pepper, lemon juice, and whatever other wonderful things are in tom yum, and something magical occurs.  It was fresh, tangy, spicy, and utterly delightful.  I estimate the points at 4-5P+.  Win again!

The one downside was the bill.  I paid $15 for lunch but it was so delicious and I was so thrilled that I have to say that it was $15 well spent.

The trick to eating out and staying on plan is to find something within your points budget that you LOVE.  Not something you like a little bit or something that you might be okay with - you have to love it.  That makes all the difference.

So I am going to try to come up with some eating out ideas and share them here as I do.  Here's to health!

Next time you'll see less of me!



  1. I have always wanted to try tom yum soup but I don't eat shrimp in soups and stews. I never thought of asking for tofu. What a great tip! (Providing the person I am asking understands me)

  2. I also wanted to let you know that I added Down and Away to my bookmarks bar so I can remember to check in. Love you!

  3. Becki, Tom yum soup comes in many varieties - tofu, veggie, shrimp, chicken . . . . for me, it was love at first sip. But for some people it takes some getting used to because it is sour (lemon juice) and very spicy. Rose and I order a pot of it and share when we go out together. It's tom yummy! :-)