MY TOP 10 TIPS TO TRACKING AT A RESTAURANT
Today’s article is dedicated to the most asked question in my inbox:
HOW DO I STAY ON TRACK WHEN EATING OUT?
Eating out is a normal part of being a human and while I don’t recommend eating out multiple times per week, I do encourage you to be social in moderation. You will need to be very conscious about your food choices if you have a certain goal in mind but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the experience.
First things first: Accept that you will not be able to control your food environment completely. You will never be able to determine with 100% precision just how many calories are in a restaurant meal. Even if you choose a restaurant that displays the nutritional value it is grossly inaccurate – but again, that is a variable you cannot control.
Tracking something is better than tracking nothing at all.
Here are my top 10 tips to keep you on track:
Plan ahead, you should know that this meal is coming and you have a solid game plan to tackle it. Check the menu before leaving home so you know what to expect.
Don’t get to the restaurant feeling ravenous – your hunger will cause you to overeat. Opt for a small protein snack before getting to the restaurant.
Look for lean sources of protein where possible: Chicken breast, turkey, white fish, tuna, prawns, egg whites etc
Ask for your protein to be grilled not fried.
Split your carbohydrates and fats e.g. do not choose a meal that is high in both carbohydrate and fat. Instead choose either a High- Carb, Low Fat meal or a Low-Carb, High Fat meal.
Stick to low Calorie drinks e.g. sparkling water or diet soda.
Avoid alcohol as this will increase calorie intake and also reduces willpower. If you must drink, aim to drink spirits with diet mixers.
Ask for oil to be removed where possible but expect that you will have some oil in your meal. It is best to account for 1-2 tablespoons of oil to avoid underestimating the caloric value of the meal.
Practice calorie cycling by increasing the amount of calories you have on the day you will be eating out and decrease your calorie intake Monday-Friday.
Try and avoid dishes like pizzas, chips, deep fried food, and creamy pasta dishes (go tomato-based instead).
Okay, I just needed to include this tip even though there’s technically 11 tips in this blog (I clearly don’t like uneven numbers LOL) – ALWAYS overestimate the amount of calories in the meal. I like to add a ‘tax’ of 15-20% of what I estimate. It’s better to be over than under :).
Signing off with a few of my favourite quotes that are very relevant to this situation:
“All or nothing, get’s you all or nothing”.
“It matters what you do most than what you do sometimes”
And Mark’s favourite: “WIN THE DAY”.
Yours in health,
Head of Nutrition