Dining out is a big part of most people’s lives. I know I certainly like to eat out most weekends with my friends and family, but it can also be a big part of your job if you have to regularly entertain clients. Perhaps you don’t even like eating out but it’s sometimes required for a family birthday, for example. Regardless, if you want to keep a nice fit body, low in fat, high in muscle, restaurant meals can give you a huge obstacle to overcome. In fact, eating out at restaurants is one of the biggest reasons why so many people fatten up while travelling.
Below, I’ll give you a few simple tips you can use to eat healthier and stay lean even while dining out at restaurants…
The 3 most important things to be aware of / avoid are:
- deep fried foods (anything battered that got a scorching bath of trans fats)
- refined starchy foods
- any sodas, juices, or other sugary foods (except whole fruits) – this includes Diet Sodas
If you can skip these major culprits, this eliminates the major food sources that do the worst damage in our food supply – trans fats, refined vegetable oils, refined starchy carbohydrates, and processed sugars.
This means you should try to skip the table bread, skip the french fries and reduce all of the heaping portions of pasta and rice that are often loaded on the plates as well.
Instead, try to order just meat with side vegetables, and a salad, asking for the vegetables or salad as a substitute for the typical french fries, pasta, or fried rice, that most restaurant meals usually come with. If you want something extra, most restaurants may do some sweet potato which is a much healthier carb source (if not, and you still want carbs, I’d suggest you go for a jacket potato).
On a side note, it always amazes me how many people make some kind of stupid comment when I substitute veggies for fries, or soda water for a pint of lager, by telling me that I am “not living” or “am boring” because I dont want to eat french fries… are you kidding me?! If that’s your idea of “living it up”, you need to get some better hobbies!
Ironically, these are also the first people to complain that they are overweight and have “tried everything”, yet can not lose weight, no matter what. I am not sure why so many people think that eating french fries is so exciting!….hey, I am all for moderation with many things, but Im sure these people only comment because our dedication makes them feel bad about themselves, not because it makes us any less interesting!
One little tip when you do get this kind of comment is to tell them that it makes you feel so much better in yourself, and more energetic. Telling people you want to get leaner, put on muscle, etc, will often result in long boring conversations where people tell you how you should look, and how you look great with some fat on you (and you sitting there quietly trying not to shout “I’M NOT DOING THIS FOR YOU!!”). If you tell them its making you feel healthier and more energetic, then nobody can argue with that. Anyway, enough of that rant, lets get back on topic!…..
Another good tip. If you know you are going to a restuarant, and for whatever reason want to make sure that you can eat full portions of pasta, rice, and breads without feeling too guilty, is to schedule a really good, tough workout before your scheduled meal time (leg day is ideal!).
Sometimes it may be hard to fit the workout into your schedule right before the meal, but if you can, the meal can be your “post-workout meal”. After a high intensity resistance training workout, your body can handle a higher amount of carbs than normal to help replenish the muscle glycogen depletion you had during the intense workout. If you plan to do this, try to train as close as possible to the meal.
A typical moderate intensity cardio workout will NOT cut it for this… it must be high intensity resistance training workout to deplete enough muscle glycogen to handle restaurant portions of carbs.
I hope these tips help you choose smarter and healthier options for a leaner body next time you eat out. I’d love to hear of any other tips that you have in the comments below. Click here to read a great article on why its not a good idea to choose diet sodas when eating out (a common mistake).
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