Today we've got guest blogger and fellow J-tab Trainer, Matt Prez, breaking down how you still stick to your diet while going out to eat.
Picture this scenario: you’ve started getting more active, and are making an attempt at better nutrition.
But now you’re in a situation where you’ve gone out to eat at a restaurant, and are at the mercy of what’s on the menu.
How do you handle this? Well with a few simple steps you can have a meal you enjoy and fits your own goals.
1. Know you allergies/limitations
Aka: The most obvious one. Do you have a legitimate food allergy? Are you following a certain diet that has certain restrictions, like keto/vegan/vegetarian/etc.? You may have to go by what’s on the menu, but there should generally be no problems with informing your waiter about these.
2. What’s your weight goal?
Are you trying to gain, lose, or maintain your current weight? From strictly a caloric standpoint, your answer should dictate what you consume (wanting to gain weight = more food. Weight loss = less).
3. Know the breakdown of the macronutrients in food
Fats, Carbs, and Protein are what we consider the “macronutrients” of ie what our body can turn into energy to use.
The foods highest in fat are usually nuts, oils, and avocados.
Foods highest in carbs are mostly all breads, pasta, most baked goods, fruits, vegetables, etc.
The most protein-dense foods are your animal products (meat, eggs, dairy), but also things like quinoa, legumes, beans, and tofu are higher in protein.
4. Eat more protein!
If I were a gambling man (which I am), I would bet most people reading this are not consuming enough protein. The typical American is consuming way too many more carbs and too little protein. Instead of going for the pasta dish, give the chicken, fish, or steak a try. Want a burger, but want less carbs? Choose another side than French fries, see if there’s a lettuce wrap option for the burger, or even consume just the patty. Remember you can take this as far as you want. And also don’t forget that protein-rich foods are incredibly satiating, meaning they will make you feel fuller a lot quicker than anything else!
5. Watch the alcohol!
Beer and wine are carb-dominant sources, but even more important are the mixed drinks, as they (depending on the drink) may be loaded up with sugar. Not keeping tabs on how much you’re drinking will add up in calories by the end of the day.
6. Plan ahead
If Friday night is the night you’re going out to eat/drink the not-best food choices, plan ahead and pick the appropriate foods during the day. For example: I went to Margaritaville a couple of Friday ago and got this
Just from looking at this image we can deduce this is a carb-heavy meal (buns/fries/maragarita) with moderate protein (the two patties) and a little amount of fat (the cheese, and the patties).
I knew I was going to get this, so I made the steps during the day to consume less sources of carbs to compensate for this meal. If I wanted to eat something later I made sure it was mostly protein and very little carb.