Can you eat out at restaurants and still make progress?
BUT it does require some discipline and forward planning. Here are my tips for dining out and staying on target.
Choose your protein.
Leaner options like grilled chicken breast, rump steak or fish are great choices.
Eat your veggies.
For more accurate tracking, ask for salads with dressings on the side and no oil or butter for steamed veggies.
Order meals that contain individual components
For example, for breakfast you might order poached eggs with grilled tomato and sauteed spinach. A dinner option might be a steak with a side salad and baked potato. These are much easier to track and leave less room for error, compared to say a curry or creamy pasta dish that could contain any number of ingredients in various quantities.
Estimate the portion of each component
This is where it can get a little tricky. If you’ve been tracking and weighing your food for a while then this may come easier to you, but if you’re less experienced, just do your best. So long as you’re in the ballpark, you’ll be fine. Overestimate to be safe, OR… If you don’t care about getting strange looks from the wait staff, bring pocket scales. Serious. I do this when I’m in prep (don’t judge me).
Remember to track sauces & added fats
Cooking oils, bastings, sauces, dressings, butter etc… These all contain calories and need to be accounted for. Often they can be the most calorie-dense part of the meal! Again, you’ll need to guesstimate, but safe to say more than half a light spray of olive oil was used.
Watch your portion sizes
Be honest with yourself. Your body doesn’t care that you’ve only entered 100g rice into My Fitness Pal when you’ve actually eaten a 300g bowl.
Plan ahead where possible
Jump online and check the menu before you head out. Choose what you’re going to order, log it, and structure the rest of your day’s eating around it.