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Chowhound and Weight Watchers: An impossible match?

My love for food has resulted in an expanding waistline and consequently, my need to be on weight watchers.

Unfortunately, so many of the things they have in their program or in their products are disgusting and processed. So, is it possible to be on Weight Watchers AND still eat out (and eat well) in Manhattan?

The way WW works: All foods have point values, and you only have a certain amount of points allotted for a day. So you could blow your entire day's points on 1 indulgent piece of cake, theoretically. I usually already go to Japanese restaurants when feeling particularly conscious, but there must be more than sushi and soba that I can eat! Also I'm skeptical of even some 'grilled' stuff at restaurants -- you'd be surprised at how much butter and oil goes into things in the kitchen to make it taste yuuummy.

So i'm looking for places you guys love that have a tried and true option for someone who's looking to eat well but healthy. Other tricks that WW members use? Recommendations of particular restaurants and/or dishes that other health conscious gourmands enjoy?

The general rules are:
-No fried, greasy, or buttery stuff
-No coconut milks
-No huge amount of carbs
-No huge amount of oil
-Not too much dairy

Also generally downtown restaurants work better for me, around the East Village/Soho/W Village areas. Any type of cuisine is welcome, although I'm pretty familiar w/ the Japanese ones already.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. Greek is good for WW, lots of grilled stuff, I'm not entirely sure where to go downtown but in midtown I like Avra. Lots of good restaurants have good salads and it works if you get the dressing on the side. When I was being really good about WW before my wedding I would go to steak houses and get shrimp cocktail and steamed spinach. Good luck.

    1 Reply
    1. re: belle

      On this board, please discuss only Manhattan restaurants that you think can accommodate folks on the Weight Watchers program. Thanks.

    2. I too am a foodie on WW. When eating out the key is choosing the right dish and PORTION control! This week we had dinner at Urena (28th st bet park & Madison) and I had the foie gras app and cobia for dinner, a martini and a glass of wine (no dessert). I weighed in the next am and lost 2 lbs. Good luck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: berna

        Coincidentally, we also ate at Urena this week. There are two dishes that were ordered at our table which, judging by their size and composition, I think would work very well for someone who is watching their weight: the cured tuna appetizer and the main course scallops. Overall, portions sizes, while quite adequate, are far from huge; even when it comes to meat dishes, Alex Urena's cooking style is very light; and his cuisine is seriously delicious. In my view, this makes Urena an excellent choice for foodies on any diet program. (Note: I don't think he uses any butter at all because none is served with the bread and none is available upon request.)

      2. I agree, the scallops were fantastic and having been there several times, I really enjoy his style.

        1. I am in WW and I eat out in any kind of restaurant. You just have to be smart about what you order and save your extra points for a treat (dessert, pasta, buttery sauces).
          Places where I have enjoyed WW "friendly" meals:
          Barbounia - order the grilled fish and side of vegetables. The fish is really good there.
          Fig and Olive - the tuna carpaccio is wonderful and they have nice selection of salads and fish.
          Wallse - the steamed halibut, the roasted cod are great. Of course you have to "save" some weekly points for the amazing Salzburger Nockerl dessert if you go there.
          In general before I go out I check the menu on line and plan my meal accordingly. If I know that I am going to an Italian place I try to be very good the rest of the week and save my points for any tasty pasta I may want to have. I have been a WW life time member for a year now and have found quite easy to keep the weight I lost off and still enjoy eating out.
          Good luck!

          1. It is doable to loose weight and eat good food out! When I did WW (lost 50 pounds) I liked Korean BBQ (chicken and seafood) that you cook yourself, grilled fish at places like Blue Water Grill and Aquagril, grilled shrimp at Saigon Grilll (notice grill in the name), and it sounds boring but many chinese places make a yummy steamed veggies and tofu or shrimp with sauce on the side. Good Luck!

            1. Ethos, the Greek restaurant, on 3rd Av., b/t 33rd & 34th Sts., is another good spot for people watching their weight. They have whole fish of various sizes which you can select from the pristine display on ice at the back of the restaurant. The kitchen then does an expert job of grilling it so that it doesn't dry out, and the servers filet it tableside. No sauce. Just a little lemon juice if you like. Start with some mezzes or a salad (best to share because portions are large).


              1. Wow - I didn't even write this post, but thank you all for the information! I have been thinking about doing WW and was lamenting that I would never be able to eat in New York again...now I am inspired!

                1. I love sashimi for my WW diet. My favorite place is Sushi Sen-nin.

                  1. also for low points meals to offset the others--try the salad bars at Tossed, Chopt, Cafe Europa, Dishes - you can have a lot of food w/o a lot of points----even I know I will get hooted here--the salads at Subway (with roast beef or turkey) may be only 2 pts.

                    1. I am also ATTEMPTING to stick to weight watchers while also enjoying a meal or two out each week. It's been a struggle, and I find myself saving the flex points for the weekend or a night that I know I will be eating out. My boyfriend and I went to Blue Ribbon two weeks ago and ordered the seafood tower. Everything is raw or steamed, and after making our way through I was pretty full. I discovered a brick oven pizza place by the school I teach at. The name is escaping me, but the pizza crust was so thin and the cheese, basil and sauce so fresh that I felt like I was cheating. It was around 2nd avenue and 18th street, little corner place. When I estimated the points, the personal pizza couldn't be more than 6 points total! I'd try and avoid pastas, heavy sauces, and sadly dessert. I was at Bloomingdales recently and their frozen yogurt is amazing. Tasti D Lite also good stuff when craving sweets. Whole foods has a great selection of healthy foods. It's all about moderation. You can eat anywhere, just watch portion size. Good Luck!

                      1 Reply
                      1. There's a bunch of places like The Pump that serve low-fat and/or low-carb foods. Not everything's tasty - some dishes are just too bland - but if you'll be fine if you stick to basics like eggwhite omelettes, soups and veggie burgers.

                        Also, Max Brenner serves a low-cal menu all day, with egg dishes for brekkie and salads, etc, for lunch and dinner.

                        1. thanks all! these suggestions are so helpful...can't wait to try them.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: emilia

                            Moustache on Bedford St. off of Grove (and there is another in the E. Village that I haven't tried) is great for healthy eating. Garden Salad with chicken-- much better/more interesting then it sounds. Really light pita's and all sorta of dips (hummus, etc.) that are healthy and SO tasty! Also, light thin pizzas. This is my favorite place for really good healthy eats!