Follow these guidelines to enjoy a healthy, satisfying meal anywhere, even when you have physical goals!
When it comes to eating out, everyone’s doing it. You might even feel like it’s impossible to socialize without it being around food. Good news, it’s not impossible and through experience I’ve learned some valuable tools about how to enjoy your time out with friends and family without totally going off the deep end and ruining all of your hard work.
I call this being “structured but social”. It is definitely achievable, but as you know, nothing worth having comes easy. Valuable skills such as this only comes with TIME and PRACTICE.
How do you practice being “structured and social”?
In order to get better at something, you HAVE to try….and try again. You have to practice over and over and eventually…before you know it, you are doing it without much effort!
I’ll go ahead and warn you now, you’re going to fail. I’m not being pessimistic, but let’s be honest, have you ever tried something new and gotten it perfect the first time? If so, #justgo haha.
For me, It wasn’t that long ago that I decided to go out to eat MORE.
I’m a totally Type-A personality and THRIVE when I’m in control. This works in my favor many times, but when it comes to my nutrition, it has potential to hold me back. In order to truly grow to my full potential as an athlete during this time away from competing I decided to practice more of an intuitive approach to eating.
This is scary!
I remember thinking one of the first times my friends and I went out “this is not going to be easy”. We went to lunch a place called Buffalo Wild Wings. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Wings are the highlight on the menu along with fries, onion rings and burgers.
So, I looked over the menu at all the options and decided to keep it simple. I ordered the a grilled chicken cheese wrap, asked for no mayo and instead of fries, I ordered whatever veggies they had.
Phew! Done. I did it!!
Why was this so scary?
Well, it was scary because I challenged myself to give up control in an area that I enjoy being in control of. Many of us face these internal conflicts with ourselves that we don’t always like to admit. This is something that I chose to practice because I know the more I practice and make good decisions the less uncomfortable it will be.
You see, over the last few months of putting myself in the position to LISTEN to my body and CHOOSE food that would taste good, but not cause me negative feedback like bloating or other GI stress, I realized this concept about CONFIDENCE.
It’s a cycle.
Initially, we are nervous.
We are afraid that we’re going to fail.
But, once we try and we realize that we are ABLE, it builds our confidence. Each time I’ve had the opportunity to “not plan my meals” I’ve tuned into my body MORE. I’ve learned about what foods make me feel good and energized v.s. feeling bloated and fatigued.
You can do this too!
Here are some simple pointers to get started:
- START! Make yourself UNCOMFORTABLE. Growth does not happen without discomfort., this goes for many skills in life not just with weight training and nutrition. As much as you don’t want to go out with your family for dinner, go out on a date with a guy to one of your favorite restaurants, or join your old college friends at your favorite bistro…you SHOULD. Avoiding these situations will not make you grow, practicing them and facing your fear WILL. Remember, #progressnotperfection 😉
- Hold yourself ACCOUNTABLE. No one will be holding your hand telling you what to and what not to eat. A rule of thumb I recommend is deciding what to eat before you arrive. Most restaurants have their menus online nowadays and you can just pull it up on your phone to decide what you’d like to get before you get there. Some small places don’t have their menus online so, here are some general guidelines I like to keep in mind:
- Focus on lean protein sources like chicken, fish, eggs, etc.
- Be careful with fats. You can do simple things like request that your food not be cooked in oil or have added butter, etc.
- When it comes to carbs, portion control is crucial! Instead of eating them first, eat your protein & veggies first (for the most part) and THEN eat your carbs. This just ensures you’re not scarfing down mashed potatoes or tortilla chips. (yep, we’ve all done it).
- Eat until you are 80% full. Once again…this takes practice, but the more you allow yourself the opportunity to do it, the more you intuitive it will feel. 😀
- Don’t let your surroundings influence your decisions. This one is HUGE.
Are you letting your friends influence your desire to drink alcohol or indulge in treats? Keep in mind, we are in control!! It is vital that you are able to truly be in tune with yourself in these situations.
Stop and think before you act; “Is this what I want to eat today?” Doing this flexes our “autonomy muscles”. That just means that we have free will and the more we stand firm in OUR decisions the more confident we will become. Making these decisions should not become a burden.
Here’s some places to eat out and still be able to stick your goals:
Subway (sandwich shops)
Sandwiches are a great option if you are able to have a bigger meal with higher carbs.
6 inch Roast Beef Sub (~ 310 Calories)
- Fat 4.5g
- Carbs 46g
- Protein 23g
OR a salad is always an easy, flexible option:
Chicken Subway Salad (~ 220 Kcals)
- Fat 4.5g
- Carbs 10g
- Protein 36g
Chipotle (burrito place)
I recommend getting any kind of bowl, so then you can control what is going into it.
1 scoop of each: Lettuce, chicken, brown rice, fajita veggies, and tomatoes in a bowl (~ 430 kcals)
- Fat 14.5g
- Carbs 42g
- Protein 38.5g
I recommend fajitas asked not to be cooked in oil or butter. Guac and sour cream on the side and skip the tortillas.
Example meal of Classic Chicken fajitas at Chili’s (without tortillas, guac or sour cream) (~ 360 Kcals)
- Fat 12g
- Carbs 23g
- Protein 43g
If you add guac and sour cream, just keep in mind it’ll increase the fat a bit.
Applebees (or some kind of steakhouse)
You can get almost anything here. I like simple chicken and veggies for any family/steakhouse; but here is an option for something else:
3 Wonton Tacos (~ 399 Calories)
- Fat 15g
- Carbs 36g
- Protein 30g
Taco Bell (it’s possible, lol)
I love getting tacos, they are easy to track. They also have “power bowls”.
2 Chicken Soft Taco Fresco (~ 298 Calories)
- Fat 7g
- Carbs 28g
- Protein 20g
They have great macro friendly options. I would recommend any sandwiches, or the salads are a great option too.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich (~ 290 Calories)
- Fat 4g
- Carbs 36g
- Protein 30g
Do you have other ideas to share? Let’s continue the conversation on Facebook in our private community. Check out the info to join below!! 🙂
I’d love to answer any of your questions and help you navigate the waters of eating out AND still reaching your fitness goals!!