Eating Out

For so many people out there, eating out comes as a welcome treat, or maybe even an everyday staple. But if you are hustling each and every day towards your body, health and fitness goals, you would know that eating out can sometimes be a challenge!

The two main difficulties of eating out are:

  1. • Not having adequately healthy options available at the restaurant

If you are not the one choosing the restaurant, and your social circle or family does not have the same nutritional values as you, you may find that there are very few healthy choices available when you eat out.

  1. • Not knowing the nutritional value of the meals

These days, some fast food joints provide calories for their meals, but restaurants do not. This makes it very difficult to stick to your macros! Not knowing the exact ingredients used in your meal and the amounts of each, could leave you at a loss as to knowing how you should eat.

Rest assured babes, you are not alone! Health is trending, so there are plenty of healthier restaurants popping up all over! Moodi’s Cafe at Coogee is a great example of this, as they cook up delicious and macro friendly meals that you can customise to choose your protein, carbs, veg and sauce! However, most restaurants are aiming to delight your taste buds, rather than support your goals. So, what are the best ways to eat out AND stay on track?

This is one topic that I get countless DMs and questions about, as it’s almost impossible to live completely on home cooked healthy, macro friendly meals (believe me, I know!). I wanted to put together some of my best advice to help you stay on track when you are eating out, being social, and simply enjoying life!

1. Eat Before or BYO

My number 1 tip for sticking to your plan when eating out, is to simply cook for yourself! There will always be those last minute lunch invites, Friday night catch ups and Sunday brekkies that will get sprung on you. But, most of my #LSFbabes are already meal prepping for the whole week anyway, so, that means you have probably already prepared a healthy delicious meal to have when you are invited to eat out.

As much as it may feel anti-social to eat before or after your restaurant date, in the long run it’s these little everyday healthy decisions that will get you closer to your goals! If someone has sprung a last minute invite on you, you wouldn’t have factored this meal into your nutrition plan. This means that there is a strong chance you won’t be able to get it to align with your daily calorie goal or macro ratio.

So when I have my meal prepped and I know I am better off sticking to my plan, I eat my meal before or after heading out and just opt for a small entree or just a yummy drink while I’m there. Often, I’ll choose a salad, a green smoothie or a coffee, or even share something small with a friend. Depending on the location, I will also take my own food if it’s possible, for example if it’s at someone’s home, outdoors or at a food court type setting.


2. Call Ahead or Check the Website or Social

If you are planning on eating out in advance and you know where you will be  eating, I encourage you to do your research! Check the restaurant’s website or social media pages ahead of time and look for the menu as well as photos of the meals. This way, you will be able to get an idea of what is available and whether you can work the meals out into your nutritional requirements. By checking out the pics, you will be able to get an idea of the serving sizes, and how the meals are assembled. Also, take note of how heavy they are on the add ons,like sides and sauces.

Once you have an idea of what’s on the menu, you can see if you can make their meals (loosely) fit into your meal plan. Aim for the following:

  • • Rice on the side - this way you can choose the amount you consume

  • • Grilled lean protein (rather than crumbed), such as chicken

  • • Look for vegetable-based meals

Ultimately if you are not doing the cooking yourself, you won’t be certain of what and how much is in your meal, but every now and then, this is ok! Remember that eating out and being social is meant to be enjoyable, not stressful. If you are incorporating intense and regular training sessions into your week,along with sticking to your meal plan the majority of the time, eating one sensible meal out won’t derail your progress. So embrace the chance to have someone else cook for you and relax knowing that you don’t have to wash up countless pans and tupperware containers.Embrace the chance to eat what you feel like eating!

Enjoy Eating

3. Stick to One Course

When it comes to achieving your goals, you don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be consistent. When you head to a restaurant or go out on date night, it is OK to have an indulgent meal every now and then (I normally treat myself once or twice a month). But, we still need to keep a level head when faced with so many choices. Whenever I go out for a meal I make sure I have a plan of attack!

  • • Most of the time I choose to eat just 1 course, which is normally a main. But, if I have meal prepped that meal already, and have had a really strong week of training and nutrition, I may opt to get a sweet treat (I have a bit of a sweet tooth!).

  • • Opt for an entree-  If I feel the serving size of the mains is larger than my hunger levels, or the entrees have options that suit my requirements better, I’ll choose to have an entree as my main.

  • • If I am eating out, I choose one thing to indulge in, and keep everything else on point. This means I will choose to either have a delicious meal, or a sweet treat, or (very rarely) a wine or two.


4. Listen to your Body

It can be beneficial when you are eating out to give yourself the chance to eat based on what you feel like, rather than what your meal plan dictates. This may feel counterintuitive, and definitely takes some practice, but if you listen to your body,  i you may find that your body actually craves healthy choices. Plus, this way you will really satisfy your cravings, leaving you ready to get back on track on your very next meal.

Listening to your body also involves portion control and learning to feel when you have had enough food. Unhealthy foods that are processed, low in nutrient density and fiber tend to be very ‘moorish’, meaning they don’t satisfy us. Healthy foods fill us up and keep us feeling fuller for longer. Keep this in mind when selecting your meal at the restaurant, because you will need to pay extra attention to your satiety (aka fullness) when you are choosing less healthy options. Make sure you are eating mindfully to give yourself the best chance of feeling when you are satisfied:

  • Eat small bites of food and chew them thoroughly

  • Sip on a glass of water as you eat your meal

  • Look at your food and your company-keep your phone out of your hand!

  • Stop and check in with your body- every few minutes check in to see how full you are feeling, if you are enjoying your meal and whether you need to eat more.

When eating all your meals you should be aiming to leave the table feeling satisfied, not stuffed!


5. Ignore the Haters!

As much as it pains me to say, there may be times when you will be criticised for prioritising your health and fitness goals. This can be so tricky to deal with, especially if the people giving you a hard time are permanent fixtures in your life. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to deal with negativity, but it is important to understand that a lot of this negativity doesn’t come from a hateful place.

Most often, those that comment don’t understand the ins and outs of your new lifestyle. Sometimes loved ones can be coming from a place of concern about your wellbeing. There may also be those that are actually envious of the positive changes you are able to make, and are wishing they could do the same. If you feel that they may be receptive, try to invite them to ask you questions about your new lifestyle choices, or even share some of your healthy snacks with them. Who knows, you may even convert them!

Ultimately, if those around you are not supportive of you and your goals, it may be worthwhile managing the time you spend with them. I don’t mean cut them out of your life, but maybe think about limiting the food-oriented gatherings you have with people that are not able to see food and health from your point of view. Remember, we are all at different points on our health and fitness journey.

When in doubt opt for one of my go to choices when eating out:

Get started with your diet preparations with my comprehensive Meal Plans!

Meal Plans