Eating Out & Macros - It Can Be Done

So you are officially counting those lovely macronutrients (macros for short)?

The macro lifestyle is great for several reasons, but the top has to be that you can eat the foods you love.

No restrictions, no cutting out carbs or fats, or the occasional sweet treat. You work hard to hit your numbers every day. Measuring out your proteins, carbs and fats, and making sure you track what you eat so you know exactly what you put into your body.

But, what about social events? What about going out to eat with your significant other? Both can be done without bringing your food scale to the restaurant or stressing out! 

Top Macro Tips While Eating Out

Set yourself up for success:

  • Save macros for your night out and plan your day around eating out! First thing in the morning, insert the macros into your day for the foods you want to enjoy later. If you don't know the exact food, but do know you will be going to somewhere like a steakhouse, save more protein/fats. Similarly, if you know you will be going out for Mexican, save more carbs/fats.

  • Look up the menu and decide what you will be getting before you even step into the restaurant.

  • A good rule of thumb is to overestimate when it comes to saving your macros. Do your best to “eyeball measure” while at the restaurant to try and stay within your goal.

Don’t drink unless you absolutely want to:

  • A typical drink takes up around ~150-200 calories of mostly carbs. These calories could be used for food instead.

  • Stick to straight drinks or wine. The average mixed drink contains a lot of added sugar!

  • Drink slowly, your beer isn't a race.

  • If you want a drink, skip dessert.

Drink more water with dinner:

  • Drinking water helps speed up metabolic processes and aid in digestion. So on top of all the water you drink during the day, have a few glasses at dinner.

  • Water will help keep you feeling full, which can lead to less overeating.

  • Water can also help with minimizing sodium retention and bloating after your meal.

Make healthier swaps when you order:

  • French fries or green beans? Green beans! Save your calories where and when you can. Ask for a vegetable as a side cooked plain, with no butter or oil.

  • Avoid fried foods, soups, mashed potatoes and heavy salad dressings that are high in fat.

  • Keep it simple! Side dishes should be kept as simple as possible - preferably a vegetable or a side of rice. A bonus of swapping for vegetables is that you’re getting some fiber in.

Talk to your server and make your own requests:

  • The restaurant wants you to eat there, so ask for what you want - the cook can do it! Simply asking seems like a huge favor but most places are happy to accommodate (remember to say please).

  • Almost every item on the menu can be customized. You can ask for something to be cooked plain, with the sauce on the side, etc.

  • Sodium and added fats are the main “hidden” ingredients when it comes to eating out. Ask for your meat and vegetables to be cooked without butter/oil (unless you have lots of fat for the day).

Eating out is 100% possible! Use your knowledge from tracking to help you along the way, plan dining out ahead, and make sure you drink plenty of water. You will encounter situations where you will not always be able to measure everything out, and that is okay! Counting your macros and hitting them to a T will get you results, but enjoying experiences and taking it easy on yourself is important too.

Enjoy your meal out. After that meal, hop right back on the train and everything will be fine. Use the tips above, have fun, and enjoy your food!

This blog was created by Xplore Nutrition coach, Julia Crosby.