Dining out is a challenge for anyone on a weight loss plan and the Weight Watchers program is no exception. Though a few restaurants, such as Applebees, print Weight Watchers points right on the menu, most restaurants don't. The function of the Weight Watchers restaurant Guide, also known as the Weight Watchers Dining Out Companion, is to provide the points values for thousands of chain restaurant food items. Members use points values to keep track of their calorie intake.
The main section of the Weight Watchers Dining Out Companion is organized alphabetically by restaurant name. The first entry is A&W Restaurant, while the last entry is Winchell's Donuts. Also, each page is marked with a color-coded tab that corresponds to the type of food. For example, all French food items have a red tab, all Greek food has a deep purple tab, and all Jewish food has a light green tab.
The Weight Watchers Restaurant Guide has three appendices. The first is a list of common restaurant foods that are also on the Weight Watchers Core Foods list, which lists foods that members using the Core Foods plan can eat until satisfaction without counting points. The other two appendices are quick-reference guides for types of food. One lists foods that may be found anywhere, such as grilled fish, while the other is an alphabetical list of ethnic and regional foods from African Enjera to Vietnamese Spring Rolls.
The Weight Watchers dining out companion is about the same size as a CD case, which makes it easy to slip into a pocket or purse. Also, alphabetical organization, quick-reference guides, and color-coded tabs make it easy to use. Finally, the pages have a glossy finish, which makes the guide easy to wipe off if you accidentally drip something on it.
Though the Weight Watchers Restaurant Guide offers helpful information for Weight Watchers members, point values do not always directly correspond with how healthy the food is. Weight Watchers points are based on a food's calorie count, fat count, and fiber count. That means a green salad will be a low-point option, but so will a calorie-free diet soda, which offers no nutrition whatsoever. Always use common sense.
The Weight Watchers restaurant guide is officially available only at Weight Watchers meetings, though online auction websites often carry it. According to Bernice Patterson, a Weight Watchers leader, you must be a Weight Watchers member in order to purchase it. However, there are also other ways to figure out how healthy restaurant food is, such as consulting the restaurant's website, or simply asking your server what he or she would recommend for someone watching her weight.