Low SmartPoint Chili’s Lunch and Making Restaurant Choices

Today, I went to my Saturday Weight Watchers meeting.  Since I have already weighed in for the month, I didn’t weigh in today.  I had a better week this past week than I did the 3 weeks before.  Frankly, I had gotten really out of whack on my SmartPoints.  The week before this one I averaged over 1600 calories a day and ended the week — after Daily and Weekly SmartPoints and FitPoitnts — 93 SmartPoints in the hole!  This past week I started get myself back to normal eating.  I ended up slightly in the hole.  I do, however, have me set on losing even though I am at goal.  If I set myself on maintenance, I would have been within my SmartPoints.  This week was good enough to maintain, but not enough to lose weight.  It was the weeks before this week that did the damage.  On my scale I am up about 2 1/2 pounds, so my goal this week is to really get back to eating within the losing mode.

Tomorrow is our anniversary and we will be going out to eat so I know that will be my high point day of the week.  Today, we went out to lunch but I wanted to be really careful what I ate given that I am eating out tomorrow.  The first thing I try to do in that situation is to eat at a restaurant where I know there are choices that  I like that will be lower points.  I emphasize “that I like” because it doesn’t help me at all to go somewhere that has lower calories options that I don’t like.  It has to be somewhere that I actual like those options.

I ended up with a 410 calories/10 SmartPoints lunch:

Chilis lunch

And, it was actually so good!  I had a combo with the Seared Shrimp (80 calories, 2 SmartPoints), Margarita Grilled Chicken (190 calories/4 SmartPoints) and a double portion of Asparagus and Garlic Roasted Tomatoes (140 calories, 4 SmartPoints).  Now, this is very low even counting all of the Asparagus and Tomatoes as having points.  Actually, the asparagus and tomatoes are zero point foods.  I think there is a case to be made for counting the double portion as 2 SmartPoints by backing out the calories and nutritional information for the zero point veggies.  However, even if you count the full 4 SmartPoints (2 SmartPoints per serving) for the veggies, this meal still comes out to only 10 SmartPoints and tasted great.

Are there other things on that menu that I like that are many more calories and, thus, more SmartPoints?  Of course.  But, honestly, I didn’t even look at those things.  I focused on the things that were within the range I wanted to eat.  For example, I considered getting the Grilled Chicken Salad (440 calories/13 SmartPoints) instead.  Or, I could have added on a cup of Southwest Chicken Soup for 3 SmartPoints (110 calories).  And, these are all things that I enjoy eating.

I have also been thinking about my anniversary meal tomorrow.  Now, it is easy to say that it is a special occasion and just to eat anything.  But, actually from my anniversary to June I have a string of several family birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and some other special occasions.  I can’t just eat anything on all of them.

Also, since I had eaten so badly the past few weeks I really want to be on track this week.  Part of the reason I’ve done so badly is that I ate out a lot early in the week and got into a hole early on.  Last week I actually did fine for the later part of the week, but I got in a hole in the early part of the week and never quite got out of it.  I really don’t want to do that this week.  I am prepared to use a goodly amount of my Weekly SmartPoints tomorrow, but I do want to have at least 10 left over during the week so I have some left for anything that might come about during the week.  Maybe I will be in a situation where I have to eat out unexpectedly.  Or, maybe I want to eat 32 SmartPoints in a day instead of 30.  I want that flexibility.  That is why I was so careful today.  I really don’t want to eat any of my Weekly SmartPoints today (at most, 1 or 2).

So, I looked at some options for our anniversary tomorrow keeping in mind that I want to end tomorrow with at least 10 Weekly SmartPoints left.  If I don’t eat any today, then that means I could have up to 48 SmartPoints tomorrow (30 Daily and 18 Weekly).

We will probably go out to eat in the mid-afternoon.  Breakfast is usually 4 or 5 SmartPoints.  If I get hungry before we leave, I can have some berries for 0 points.  So, at worst I have 43 SmartPoints left before we eat out.  However, if we eat out mid-afternoon I know that I will eat later in the day.  And, I stay up late at night and always need a snack in the evening.  I can probably get by on 10 SmartPoints for the evening.  I will eat a late dinner and will probably have something with fish (maybe a salad) and then a few points later for a snack. Anything else will be zero point foods. I could actually probably get by with 6 or 7 SmartPoints for the evening if I have to, but that cuts it close.

So reserving 15 for the rest of the day after eating out, that leaves 33 SmartPoints for the meal out.  I looked at several places I really like to eat at and they are usually in the 30s.  I finally narrowed it to 2. We could go to California Pizza Kitchen and easily share an appetizer and pizza for about 30 to 33 SmartPoints per person.  Or, I could go to Pei Wei and get a small plate (which is plenty big for me) and a spring roll (or maybe 2) for 22 to 27 SmartPoints depending on what I do.

The main thing in favor of CPK is that it is more “special” since I don’t eat there often since it is higher in SmartPoints/calories and carbs than I usually want to eat.  And, I really like it a lot.  I haven’t eaten there since 2012 (yes, I went and checked in YNAB and the last time was in November, 2012).  On the other hand, I like Pei Wei a lot as well. But, it is less special because we eat there from time to time. Last year, we ate there 3 times.

On my third hand, though, Pei Wei has 2 advantages.  First, it is kind of silly, but I really enjoy the Coke Freestyle machine there.  Yes, I always choose to only mix different Coke Zero options (usually Cherry Coke Zero and Vanilla Cherry Coke Zero).  I don’t like to drink calories. Second, it is important to me to have this week build on last week and be a good week for me.  I don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize that.  CPK would cut it close and not leave me much margin for the rest of the day or to have anything at all extra.  With Pei Wei, I can have a meal that I really like with up to 2 spring rolls and will still have SmartPoints left over for the rest of the day.  I feel anxious thinking about eating at CPK and feel relaxed thinking about eating at Pei Wei.

So, I think we will go to Pei Wei for tomorrow (my husband already told me he is OK with either one so it is up to me).  Then, on my birthday in late April, I plan to go to CPK.  There.  Decision made.


  1. Susan Rappaport says

    Have you considered Seasons 52? That’s where we’re going for our anniversary. It’s very points friendly

  2. Darlene Wright says

    Happy Anniversary – enjoy your meal. I like the grilled vegetable salad with shrimp at CPK – 1/2 a salad is still pretty big and a good points deal for a restaurant meal. We don’t have Pei Wei’s in my area. We do have Seasons 52 and their food is good also.

    • says

      Veggies are zero point. But, the oil, for example, on grilled veggies does have calories. Now, if I was cooking veggies at home with oil on them I would count for the oil only. For restaurant type foods or foods at a grocery store (like a frozen meal) that has veggies in it, the veggies are counted because you don’t have the information to actually know the exact amount that is veggies versus stuff that has points. In this case, I felt it was pretty clear cut and I looked up the nutritional info for plain asparagus (counting the number of spears for comparison) and deducted that from the nutritional info for the veggies at Chili’s and then calculated the SmartPoints.
      Kitty recently posted…Low SmartPoint Chili’s Lunch and Making Restaurant ChoicesMy Profile

      • Etti says

        Do you think the vegetables contained about a tablespoon of oil, so that you could just add 4 points for the oil, instead of subtracting the calories for the asparagus from the total calories of the meal?

        • says

          There is no way that it was that much oil. The veggies and the oil together were 4 SP (140 calories). So, the oil by itself was probably about 1/2 T (for both servings of the asparagus) which is 2 SP.

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