Tracking Macros When Eating Out
Tracking macros at a restaurant is something that a lot of you probably deal with on the regular! It's way less complicated than it seems and most restaurants actually have nutritional information provided either online or on the MyFitnessPal app!
It can be tough because you get so used to being able to weigh things out yourself at your home or scanning a barcode for the nutrition label on the app, then you come to a situation when you have to either look things up on the app or trust your intuition and eye-balling expertise to estimate portions at a restaurant. Don't stress, though. It's a lot easier than it sounds!
**Keep in mind that there is human error EVEN with the macros listed for restaurant menus. Do you really think every single time, every server puts the same exact amount of each thing on every person's entree or side? Probably not. Nutrition labels aren't 100% accurate either. However the consistency is what matters.
There's so many restaurants that provide nutrition info and also have "macro friendly" options. I found a source here that gives some macro friendly options for each restaurant!
Tips for eating at places without nutritional information available
1. Pick a safe option.. this would include things like a portion of meat with a carb and a vegetable included. These things can be easily "eyeballed" when trying to figure out the macros!
2. When choosing salads, don't look up the actual name of the salad. Instead, dissect the ingredients of the salad when you actually get the salad. If it includes romaine/spinach, pecans, strawberries, blueberries, feta cheese, then just estimate how much was used in your salad.
3. Always get dressings on the side! I always opt for something lower in fat like a low fat vinaigrette. It might sound weird but when I get dressing on the side, I dip my fork in it for each time I take a bite of my salad so that way I'm overall using less dressing but still getting dressing on each bite of my salad. #winwin
4. Stick to grilled things rather than fried and stick to lower fat meat options if you're trying to watch the fat intake.
5. When ordering pizza at a local restaurant (non-chain), my go-to restaurants to use are either Blaze pizza or Brixx pizza. It won't be 100% accurate but it's close enough which is all that matters.
6. When ordering burgers, just like the salads, estimate the portions of each ingredient on your burger.. and do your best to know what type of beef is on it. It probably lists it in the menu or you could ask the server!
I do have some charts for the macros in different cuts of beef and chicken that I found online which are below!
Will eating out ruin my progress?
NO! If you know you're eating out, just plan your day in advance and make room for your meal at the restaurant and everything will be fine. It doesn't matter that you can't track something perfectly at the restaurant. It just matters that you're close and consistent. We aren't looking for perfection here.
I don't recommend eating out for multiple meals everyday, unless of course you're able to accurately track what you're getting at whole foods or fresh market with a food bar and macros available, because the margin of error is just higher and it might throw off the accuracy a little too much especially if your goals are to lose weight and body fat.
If you're a high level performance athlete, then I definitely don't recommend eating out everyday. The quality and accuracy of your food matters more so making your own meals everyday becomes very important for people in this category!
**The main takeaways from this are to plan ahead, don't stress about being 100% accurate, and make good choices! You have full control over what you order at a restaurant. If you plan to track it, the more simple options are key!