It is inevitable... you will be following your diet & in the flow of things then something comes up and you find yourself eating fast food due to convenience or in a not so healthy restaurant and feel like your diet is instantly going down the toilet. This doesn’t have to be the case! Many people think it is impossible to stay on track when they go out for a meal but with the flexibility of macros & knowing what healthy options exist, you can avoid any setbacks at all! With this guide, our hope is that you understand what healthy options exist at many of the popular fast food restaurants across the country. Do you have to only eat this when you go out? NO! Eat what YOU want (ideally you stay in your macros but things do happen). This is just some advice/ideas!
Pro’s Guide to Eating Out
Helpful Tips Before Going Out
1. Look up the menu ahead of time- Planning always gives you the upper hand and helps you avoid overeating. If you have a solid idea what you are going to eat later, you can eat less leading up to the big meal and not completely screw up your macros!
2. Estimating is better than nothing- If you have taken any of our courses yet, you have probably heard this MANY times. Tracking something is ALWAYS better than tracking nothing. This mentally helps you avoid severe overeating whether you think so or not. Yes, one untracked meal will never be super detrimental. However, when analyzing your week's progress, estimating can help you & your coach put things together much easier.
3. Eat well the rest of the day (or plan ahead and eat particularly clean leading up to it)- As previously mentioned, one bad meal is not going to destroy your week of hard work. If you have a bad meal, do not look at it as a reason to throw the entire day away! Get right back on track and you will not only feel better but significantly decrease the damage.
4. Do not fill up on macros you did not plan for (ex. Bread, Chips, Rolls, Etc.)- We have all done this before… you get to the restaurant and are starving so you scarf down one or two (or five) rolls of bread. Now, you are already eating out so your meals calories are going to be higher than usual but now you have up to 500-800 extra calories that will likely go unaccounted for. Keep eating intentional! Do not mindlessly snack leading up to your meal… After all, if you are hungry (due to not eating five rolls) when you finally get your meal you will enjoy it that much more!
Easy Modifications by Restaurant Type
Opt for thin crust pizza & avoid extra cheese
Avoid fattier meats such as bacon and sausage. Instead, use meat toppings such as turkey bacon, chicken or salami.
For salads, be conscious regarding how much salad dressing you use (those calories add up quick)!
Skip garlic bread/rolls… In addition to the carbs from the bread, they have added fats through butter and oil.
When it comes to pasta dishes, tomato sauces tend to be more macro friendly than Alfredo and pesto!
Aim to consume more lean proteins such as tuna or shrimp instead of salmon or eel (these tend to have higher fat content)
Remember that ONE ROLL contains approximately ONE CUP of cooked rice. White rice isn’t “unhealthy”, just keep this in mind for tracking purposes!
Do not overload on the sauces and other toppings they offer. These quickly lead to LOTS of extra calories!
Avoid high fat proteins such as beef/pork. Instead, opt for proteins such as chicken, fish and/or shrimp!
Try to monitor your carb intake. Look at everything as a trackable serving size. If you do not know the exact macros for the meal here is an example: 1 cup of white rice, 1 corn tortilla, 1 flour tortilla, 1 cup of tortilla chips, etc.
Try to not opt for “Extra” cheese, “Extra” beans, “Extra” sour cream
If possible, pick options such as top sirloin or filet mignon which are leaner cuts than T-bone, porterhouse and ribeye.
Remember for tracking, 3oz is about the size of your palm!
When picking sides, opt for grilled or steamed vegetables or a regular baked potato.
Avoid extra fats such as bacon or fries. You are likely getting plenty of fat from your steak!
BELOW ARE HEALTHY(ISH) OPTIONS AT SOME OF AMERICA'S MOST POPULAR FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS
(COMMENT WHICH ONES YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE ADDED!)
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RESTAURANTS INCLUDED BELOW (ALL ARE LINKED)