EATING OUT WHILE MACRO TRACKING
How to eat out and still get to our goals if you enjoy a meal off your Macro plan but still try to hit your macros in doing so! Don’t get too crazy, we all have to eat a meal out with family and friends and it is meant to be fun.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN: You’re doing really well with your macros and making some serious progress… but then it happens? A friend or family member asks us to go out for a special occasion; a birthday, anniversary, or work party.
Depending on your goal, you FLEX diet. You will always estimate because a guess is better than nothing at all. You want to see how close you are getting to your goals so that you can do this better and better every outing.
If you have eaten more calories and are almost at your target macros for the day you can, politely go and have a side salad, no dressing vinegar and some shrimp cocktail. Being over moderately on CARBS and Protein for the night will not hurt you if you pick up and hit your goals well the following day!
STEP 1 PLANNING AHEAD to SUCCEED.
- Always plan ahead if you know where you will go! Research the menu or look and see what you would like to eat. ADD A place holder to MY FITNESS PAL with DINNER MEAL and add projected (MACRO VALUES) for that meal.
- Bring your own dressing, condiments like butter and sour cream in a small container. You can find them on AMAZON.com here –
The doubt creeps in… You have anxiety but you shouldn’t!
- “How am I going to track accurately?” Will I be over on fats?
- “I’m not sure I trust myself to go out and make the right choices.” I might start eating and not be able to stop?? Should I bail out?? NO NO NO !!!
- “All of my friends, family, and co-workers will think I’m crazy for bringing my scale out and measuring everything!” — Who Cares!
- “I’m going to lose all of my progress with this one dinner.” — You will not lose progress with 1 meal off plan even marginally over or under in calories.
YOU CAN DO IT and YOU WANT TO LEARN TO DO IT!!
Steps to consider:
- Research the restaurant in advance online, especially big chains and franchises. Do a quick google search (if you can).
- Most restaurants provide nutritional information and you should be able to find many without much difficulty. If you can’t find your restaurant online, find one that’s similar. Going to BLAZE or a good gourmet pizza place? Try using similar data from CPK, BLAZE or FIRED PIE and adjust your macros to meals similar to theirs. USE ONLINE data with care and multiply the projected fats and carb values by 1.25 G instead to be a little more in line with estimates. They don’t measure or weigh your food so you can bring your scale if you won’t offend anyone. Otherwise, guesstimate because you have been weighing your food for a while now. TRUST yourself, this is how you get better at ENJOYING a meal out. When you take a photo of your food you can go back and macro this by hand adding all parts if you want when you get home. Do not sit on your tracker at dinner and be anti-social.
- Plan out what you want before you arrive
If you’ve been dying for a burger for a few days, or a yummy fish taco, spaghetti or sushi, put that meal into My Fitness Pal first and work your day around it.
You can make almost anything fit if you plan that food out first and work backward for the day with the rest of your macros. THIS PART IS PIVOTAL!! You will love this and you can use the placeholder as described above.
Eat lean proteins and low fat throughout the day
If you know you’re going to spend a large number of your macros on a rich carb and fatty meal, eat lean protein, vegetable (FIBER) and lower fat foods throughout the day to make certain you will meet Protein Requirements. This will also help if you go to eat later, you will not be famished and tempted to overeat. Have a protein shake before you go. 1 scoop whey with water will tide you over as it is almost 2-3 hours with drive time, wait and delivery of your meal in some restaurants. You do not want to be going 4-5 hours and overeat because you are hungry as heck!
Ask your waiter how many ounces of meat is being cooked and how it’s prepared and if butter and oils are used in vegetables and carbs.
Most restaurants know exactly how much they’re serving in their dishes, whether it’s ounces in fish, meat, or the number of eggs in an omelet.
Then also ask them if it’s prepared in butter or any other sauces. If possible, ask them to cook it without those additives and either grilled or broiled. Most will accommodate the requests and you can bring your own sauces if you like them LIKE BBQ for a burger or MAYO for your sandwich. Ranch dressing is awesome from BOLTHOUSE for more delicious sauces to add to your outing. See all flavors here: https://www.bolthouse.com/products/dressings/creamy/
To scale or not to scale?
If you’re training for a specific meet or competition and must be very strict with your macros in order to make weight, then yes you should be weighing all of your food if you decide to go out to eat. This is not the time to be estimating much of anything. You will need to bring a scale if you are cutting and are trying to enjoy a meal off plan.
For most people, although estimating may not be 100% accurate, it is better than not tracking at all. If you are not cutting and you are truly trying to enjoy a meal with NEW friends, please do not bring the scale. If you want to bring your own condiments that is one thing. Most people don’t even notice. Scale weighing in front of people who are weight conscious might make it awkward.
Flexible dieting is meant to be just that, it is “flexible.” Estimate as much as possible, keep everything in moderation and. The fellowship is lost in society these days. It is important to be present not on your cell phone or obsessing about your foods. Enjoy the meal and turn the focus to the people you are with, rather than obsessing over whether or not this one event will totally ruin your program! It will not ruin your progress and you need to learn to track meals at restaurants!
If you are coaching with “KEEP MOVING FORWARD” you can also use the handy VOXER system!
- Use the VOXER to pre plan your visits to restaurants and to send a photo of your menu item to your coach and the actual menu with fork or knife next to it for verification on servings.
- Take clear photos of what you ate and ask for coach to estimate the value.
- Pre plan by getting a rough estimate of place holder from your coach.
- YOU CAN LOOK UP GENERIC foods you can’t find online at: https://www.usda.gov/topics/food-and-nutrition