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New Orleans on Weight Watchers -- Unfortunate, but necessary, Help please!!

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I'll be in New Orleans for a couple days at the end of July. I've recently lost 50 pounds on Weight Watchers and still have a long way to go. I adore food, so being in my favorite food city and having to forgo many delicious things is going to be a challenge!! And before you say "You're crazy!! Just hop off the wagon for a few days!", I'll just say that losing the weight has not been easy and I'm not willing to lose momentum. Believe me - I know what I'm giving up!
We're staying at the Blake Hotel, just outside the Quarter and I'm looking for places with good grilled seafood options, great and interesting vegetable dishes, creative salads, but that won't feel like "deprivation dining" to my companions. This is part of a work trip that is mostly centered in the CBD/French Quarter, without a lot of time to explore too far afield. I also need to be reasonably social and will likely get dragged to some of the touristy spots that aren't exactly WW friendly, so being armed with some alternatives would be really helpful.

Any thoughts? Who's got the best cold seafood platter in town? What's going to be at the peak of its season in terms of fruits and vegetables?

Thank you for any and all assistance. I am determined to get to a healthy weight without sacrificing deliciousness and you Hounds always come through for me!!

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  1. Interesting question. WW is pretty liberal these days on how to eat but if you go to higher end restaurants my guess is you can influence how your meal is cooked. Get the shrimp/oysters/fish grilled and well spiced but tell them light on the butter which is everywhere. NOLA is not exactly a dieters dream but small plate restaurants abound and if you take a moment to research menus you can make it. Gumbo and Jambalaya are probably out but make sure you have a friend who will let you taste. It would be criminal to miss these great items. No Hurricanes at Pat O'brien's.

    1. My husband hit a couple of these places last year (he's mostly vegan with an occasional dip into ovo-lacto vegetarianism). I must say the Spanish place sounds good, especially for your "interesting vegetables" request. *http://neworleansingreen.blogspot.com...

      1. A WW article tailor-made: http://www.weightwatchers.com/util/ar...

        There is also a local program called Eat Fit that a lot of local restaurants participate in w/ healthier menu options. There at the bottom of this page: http://www.ochsner.org/eatfit/eat_fit.... The FB page probably has more recent updates: https://www.facebook.com/eatfitnola/info

        For grilled seafood, your hotel is about 4 blocks from two of the best in the city: Peche and Borgne. Both have lots of killer fresh local fish options. If the preparations on the menu seem too Point-y, just ask them for something with all the flavor but less fat & cals. Both restaurants are pro's and will know how to deal with your request.

        For seafood platters, Bourbon House & Luke.
        A couple of good casual options near your hotel, Carmo & City Greens.

        Not sure what part of the country you are from, but I find the gulf fish to be a whole different experience from what I normally get.it's just delicious and doesn't need much, so as long as the restaurant serves local fish and it's fresh (which is usually the case at any decent NOLA place), you kinda can't go wrong.

        If you're a tomato lover, Creole tomatoes should be in season and all over the menus.

        Congrats on your achievement (and will power) and good luck.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MoonpieLover

          Thank you so much!! That's all incredibly helpful! Peche and Luke were already on my radar,and Carmo looks like a great option as well. I had good luck last time I was there at Muriels with a delicious broiled drum entree -- and it was a good lesson in not automatically turning up your nose at a place you might assume would be a total tourist trap!! I also se that there is a Saturday Farmer's Market a few blocks from the hotel, so I can stock up on supplies there as well.

          1. re: Fargo

            I've had the whole grilled fish at Peche a couple of times. In one option it game with a green salsa that I'm pretty sure was mostly herbs and green veggies, maybe tomatillo was involved (but the seasoning was very different from a Mexican salsa verde). It was out of this world. I wasn't paying toooo close attention -- I'm assuming there's some sort of oil or fat involved -- but from my memory it was a nominal amount. It's meant to be shared and you debone it at the table so it's fun eatin', which helps if you're getting that diet-induced deprived feeling.

            The Weight Watchers article mentions Green Goddess which is another good option for you.

        2. EAT Nola on Dumaine in the quarter has four lunch salad choices. For an extra $5 you can add: Chicken Breast, Smoked Salmon, Grilled Shrimp, or Grilled Portobello.


          I am not sure if these would qualify but I also love Domenica's Covey Green salad with fried prosciutto and their baked cauliflower app. is good, although a little pricey.

          3 Replies
          1. re: karendor

            Thank you! I was looking at EAT Nola as well, and am glad to get a Hound-y recommendation. Their menu certainly looks right up my alley. I've been to New Orleans many times before in my "Eat Everything" days, and have experienced the excesses (and loved all of them!), so now that those are no longer options, I'm really happy to see that so many places are stepping up their creativity with a lighter hand on the fats and calories! Although I am "budgeting" for a Po' Boy -- it would be a sin not to!

            1. re: Fargo

              Yum, and good for you! I see the WW article mentioned Confederacy of Cruisers. Although I am not sure they are even open in August, the C of C tours have been highlights of many of my past visits. I think the only way I have been to NOLA and not gained weight is a) bike tours/walking and b) sharing portions. Sounds like you have a great plan!

            2. re: karendor

              Part of what makes the Domenica cauliflower app so good is the whipped cheese sauce that comes as part of it. I doubt that the sauce is low cal, and I doubt that the cauliflower shines nearly as brightly without it (and it would be even less of a value at $18).

            3. My wife and I went recently and found ourselves at Luke on multiple days for oyster happy hour and we weren't following any diet. Just loving the seafood!

              1. Fargo--congrats on the weight loss and commitment to eating healthy during your trip! While I've never been to N.O. (sadly), so I have no recommendations, just want to say that as a WW Lifetimer (for about 8 years), I've had luck just walking, walking, and walking on vacations (or even business trips), or hitting the hotel's gym, for a way to work off a few "too many PP+ used" for meals. Best wishes to you! (Edited to add: I also packed a few low-points snacks in my luggage to eat on the road or in the hotel room, which helped me to say no to dessert, but knowing I had a little sumpin' for later in the evening.)

                5 Replies
                1. re: pine time

                  Thanks! I figure the sweatin', sweatin' sweatin' will help too!

                  1. re: Fargo

                    Yup! When I was in humid places, I drank gallons of ice water a day (and I don't care for ice)--my theory was it would take extra calories to heat up the water internally. Poor science, probably, but made me drink lots!

                    1. re: pine time

                      Another congratulations and recommendation to walk as much as you can - maybe early before it gets too hot? I had success in Hawaii recently by walking 2+ miles every morning and just focusing on protein in my meals when I could. Also, have a small dinner salad with a reasonable entree rather than starter, entree, sides and dessert, etc. good luck to you and enjoy!

                      1. re: sueinca

                        I even sneak my pedometer under business suits (or used to, mostly retired now) as a jolt that sitting in meetings all day doesn't count as exercise!

                        Once, when I really was dessert deprived (and had been eating 3 full business meals a day for a week, much more than my regular WW meals), I decided to skip the entree altogether. I ordered only dessert (to come when the other folks' desserts came; I drank coffee while they ate). Only ate 1/2 the dessert, but it was more than welcome, and I "saved" those unnecessary PP+ from yet another heavy meal. Eating like a 9 year old occasionally doesn't hurt.

                        1. re: pine time

                          I don’t know if this counts as weight watchers, but if it were me, I would head over to Raw on Magazine or the juice cart on St. Charles over by the Latter Library and go liquid for breakfast and lunch and then splurge on dinner.

                2. Someone may have offered this already; I didn't read every response but didn't find it in a quick search, but I had success in the same situation last summer during my honeymoon by eating mostly simply prepared seafood (as New Orleans is such a wonderful place for it). I remember that Commander's Palace offered a great light lunch meal that I really enjoyed. Now, I probably cancelled it out with the drinks and bread I also enjoyed, but a person with greater resilience than I would have great success with the three-course lunch they offered.

                  1. another good option would be to check out the city's burgeoning vietnamese food scene. seems like a bowl of pho (with half or none of the noodles) or a few spring rolls wouldn't cost you too many points. viet orleans bistro is near your hotel. better options a little farther away: lilly's, magasin. and even better options a lot farther away: pho tau bay, nine roses, pho ga quang minh, dong phuong, tan dinh. i'm sure i'm forgetting a few.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Shiloh

                      Thanks so much! We leave in the morning, so this is well-timed! I'm glad to have a Hound-endorsed Vietnamese place to consider. I loveVietnamese food, but have to admit that I'm not very good at picking restaurants -- my Vietnamese "Spidey SEnse" is not quite as well developed as it is about other cuisines!!