My Guide to Dining Out

Lauren Simpson Fitness Blog | Dining OutI know girls, eating out can be stressful when you are starting a new challenge. I used to stress so much about going out with the fear of unknown calories preventing progress. Flexible dieting is your KEY to being able to get results and live life as well. This is something I preach to my #LSFbabes. With a flexible dieting approach, there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to eat out for meals with zero stress or anxiety around your diet!

Being on a restrictive diet (restrictive meaning cutting out whole food groups) often causes a bad relationship with food, and that is the last thing we want. Flexible dieting means that you can eat ALL the food groups and fuel your body with exciting and delicious foods of your choice. We want to be consuming most of our calories from nutrient-dense foods, which are food sources high in vitamins and minerals. This will provide us with the nutrients we need to keep our body healthy and functioning the best it can, as well as fuel our workouts so we are training at 100%! Once we are satisfied that we have consumed enough nutrients, fruit and vegetables then we can enjoy some soul food to finish our calories!Lauren Simpson Fitness Blog | SnackThis approach to dieting comes in handy when we’re eating out. Whether you have a birthday, event or you’re just meeting your girlfriends for dinner, it is likely that you will be eating out sometimes (if not frequently). Personally (when I’m not in competition prep) I like to eat 90% of my meals out simply because I don’t like cooking. As long as I’m sticking to my macronutrient goals and consuming mostly good quality foods then there is absolutely nothing wrong with this! There is no reason to be scared of dining out.

The main thing is to make good choices when you are dining out, and track the meal as accurately as you can. If you are going out for breakfast, just log it in and fill the remaining macronutrients with the rest of your day’s meals. However, if you’re eating out for an event, it is likely that it will be dinner. If possible, have a look at the menu before-hand and decide what you’d like to eat. This way you’re able to log it in as your last meal, then just work the rest of your day around it! You will obviously have to do some estimating when it comes to the size of the restaurant meal, and the quantity of the ingredients. I normally just overestimate to be safe. Don’t forget about things like oils and sauces, as these are often not as visible in the dish but are very high in calories. If the meal seems particularly oily, just log in some extra olive oil.LSF Blog |If you are eating out frequently, then choosing more nutrient-dense menu options is a great idea. For example, if you often have work lunch meetings throughout the week, you want to be getting in a lot of good quality foods as these meals make up a larger percentage of your week. Or if you are just beginning your fitness journey and you find that you really want to eat healthy, even in the instance of a birthday, then don’t worry because this is definitely possible! There are generally going to be good options on the menu wherever you go, or alternatively, the staff will be happy to help you. When looking for nutrient-dense options, here are my top tips!

  • • Look for good quality protein sources. If you have the fats to spare, steak is always going to be a good option. Alternatively, if you’re after something leaner, then chicken breast, fish, turkey or tofu are all great protein sources. The next thing to look at is how it is being cooked. Grilled or pan-fried is always going to be the best options over battered or deep fried, as these are packed with excess calories.

  • • Try and include as many vegetables in your meal as possible. You want an abundance micronutrients to fuel your body!

  • • If you can, try and opt for vegetable-based carbohydrate sources like potato, sweet potato or pumpkin. Other good choices are rice and whole wheat pasta. These are good quality sources that will help you hit your fiber intake.

Lauren Simpson Fitness Blog | Fresh ProduceI don’t believe in restricting yourself from foods that you enjoy, so if you don’t eat out very frequently and are enjoying wholesome foods a majority of the time, then take this occasion as a chance to choose the meal that you really want to eat! If we spend our whole lives restricting all the foods that we really love, we are more likely to binge eat them in the long run. By utilising flexible dieting, we are able to include these foods in our daily macronutrients even when we are trying to lose fat!

I hope that you girls are able to make decisions based on not only what you feel like right now, but also how you will feel after. If you really want that burger and fries, then order them and enjoy! I also recommend you eat it slowly (which will also help you savour the flavour) so that your body has a chance to digest it properly and let you know when you are full and satisfied, instead of overeating and feeling sick.

When it comes to alcohol, I personally only drink on special occasions or on holiday. This is partially because alcohol is filled with empty calories (calories that have no nutrient value), but also because of how it makes me feel. I like to put all my energy into work and my training, and the effects of alcohol mean that I’m lethargic and can’t give my work and training maximum effort. When I do enjoy a drink or two, I am mindful of what I consume. Things like spirits mixed with zero calorie mixers are a good option to save calories, and wine is generally lower calorie too. Cocktails are mixed with high calorie mixers and other ingredients, so if you do want a cocktail just be careful of this and try to stick to one!Lauren Simpson Fitness Blog | AlcoholWhen tracking alcohol, we have to remember that it has no macronutrient value. So although a shot of vodka may have 100 calories, it has zero carbohydrates, fats or protein. So just be mindful of this if you’re logging it into MyFitness Pal, as your daily numbers will likely not add up.

Eating out should NOT be something that you should be stressed or anxious about. This is why we practice flexible dieting and teach you about the macronutrient value of your food. So that you can go and make informed choices about what you’d like to eat, and how it will make you feel!

I want you girls to keep a balanced approach to your nutrition like I do! And if you feel like you need some more help or want to learn more about nutrition, then make sure you have a look at my LSF Programs and follow @laurensimpsonfitness on Instagram. We have a great community of girls who are on their fitness journey and learning just like you.


Choose a program that meets your goals so you can become apart of our #LSFBABES Community today.