fbpx

Restaurant Survival Guide: 5 Steps to Eating Out While Losing Weight

Going out to eat while on a diet can be HELL. It typically means ordering:

  • Some sort of a salad with grilled chicken, steak, shrimp, or fish
  • Bunless burger with salad or veggies instead of fries
  • Steamed Chicken and broccoli with sauce on the side
  • Subbing everything in a dish to get down to a lean protein, low carb, and low fat
Pictures of a salad with chicken, broccoli with tofu, and a bunless burger

You think "healthy and delicious" until the other plates get put down and look like:

  • Chicken Parmigiana
  • Burger and Fries
  • Sushi
Picture of a burger with fries, a sushi platter, and spaghetti with chicken parmesan

But you can’t have any of that, you are on a diet!

You trudge through dinner just looking over at the other person’s plate and trying not to be obvious that you are salivating, jealous, and annoyed. And in the back of your head, you are thinking, “Why the fuck am I eating the shitty salad and they get to eat the burger?””

Luckily, I am a restaurant ninja and going to show you exactly how to do that.

More...

Step 1: Look up the menu

If you are going out to dinner, start by looking up the menu online in advance.

Step 2: Pick what you are going to eat

If you are going to a chain restaurant, move right to step 3.

If you are going to a mom and pop restaurant or non-chain, this will be a little challenging. Pick what you are going to eat and then refer to the table below.

Find the type of cuisine the restaurant you will be dining at serves and look up something comparable on their menu. Even though it won’t be a perfect match, it will be close enough for our purposes.

Food Type

Comparable Restaurant

Mexican

Chipotle

American Fare

Cheesecake Factory

Casual Steak

Outback Steakhouse

High End Steak

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

Personal Pizza

California Pizza Kitchen

Family Style Pizza

Sbarro

Asian

PF Chang’s

Italian

Maggiano’s

Greek / Middle Eastern

Mr Gyros or Mr Greeks

BBQ

Dinosaur BBQ

For example, if I was going out to a local Pub and ordering a Mushroom Swiss burger, I would look up a Mushroom Swiss burger on the Cheesecake Factory Menu, or find the closest burger to it.

Step 3: Look up the nutrition facts

Once you pick out what you are going to eat, look up the nutrition facts using myfitnesspal.com. Most chain restaurants menu items are in myfitnesspal, making figuring out the nutrition facts a cinch. Look just the macros (protein, carbs, and fat.)

Once you have those numbers, we will add a 30% buffer to each macronutrient. For example, if what I was going to eat contained 30g of protein, 40g of Carbs, and 20g of fat, I would take each number and multiply it by 1.3. This gives me a little buffer for appetizers or things I didn’t plan on eating. Once you get to a restaurant, your plan may get sidetracked, hence our buffer.

For example,

Original Number

Multiply By

New Number

30g Protein

1.3

39g Protein

40g Carbs

1.3

52g Carbs

20g Fat

1.3

26g Fat

Step 4: Plan your day backwards

Now take your new numbers and enter them into Myfitnesspal using the quick add feature. If you enter the protein, carbs, and fat, it will automatically calculate the calories.

Now that those nutrients are entered, plan the rest of your day backwards with those numbers already taken into account. Make sure not to leave huge gaps of time (3-4 hours) in between meals, so that when you actually get to the restaurant you aren’t so famished that all logic goes out the window and you can’t think.

Step 5: Enjoy the shit out of your meal, but execute your plan

Now that you did the planning, enjoy the meal. You have a plan and a built-in buffer. Make sure to execute your plan.

A Step by Step Example

Now, I will take you through a step by step example with a local restaurant near where I live in Jersey City, NJ.

Step 1: Look up the menu & Step 2: Pick what you are going to eat

The restaurant I will be going to is called Park & 6th. Here is a copy of their menu and my choice.

Park & Sixth Menu

I am going to choose the “WTF Burger”

Description: Chef B’s Secret Blend, Irish Blue Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Brioche Bun

Ron Swanson looking excited

This makes me very happy

Step 3: Look up the nutrition facts

Food Type

Comparable Restaurant

Mexican

Chipotle

American Fare

Cheesecake Factory

Casual Steak

Outback Steakhouse

High End Steak

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

Personal Pizza

California Pizza Kitchen

Family Style Pizza

Sbarro

Asian

PF Chang’s

Italian

Maggiano’s

Greek / Middle Eastern

Mr Gyros or Mr Greeks

BBQ

Dinosaur BBQ

Since this restaurant is American Fare, I will use Cheesecake Factory. Using myfitnesspal, the closest burger I found is the Factory Burger. Remember, this won’t be perfect, but it will be relatively close.

Screenshot of a Myfitnesspal burger entry showing macronutrients

Screenshot from myfitnesspal showing the macronutrients

Original Number

Multiply By

New Number

25g Protein

1.3

33g Protein

53g Carbs

1.3

69g Carbs

16g Fat

1.3

21g Fat

These will now be the numbers I use to plan my day.

Picture of MyFitnessPal app meal schedule

Since I added the macronutrients of this meal, I will now plan the rest of my day taking dinner into account. Therefore, throughout the rest of the day I will need to have 156g of carbs, 49g of fat, and 132 grams of protein.

Although the science of nutrition can be broken down in simple terms, its execution day in and day out is rarely simple. We all have dieting demons, insecurities, and reasons we have not succeeded on diets in the past. The key to implementing something that will work over longer periods of time is developing a plan that is tailored to you, your life, your schedule, and your preferences. All other ways will eventually fail.

To learn more about my anti-diet approach to weight loss, start with the workshop below.

FREE Weight Loss Workshop

  • A step-by-step game plan my busy male clients use to eat the foods they love while dropping unwanted pounds.
  • Why 80% of American Men start and fail on a diet 4 times per year, and the strategy that my busy male client use to avoid dieting all together.
  • And how we do this all without living in the gym 24/7 and spending plenty of time with family and friends.
Workshop Cover Page

Leave a Reply 0 comments

The table with ID 11 not exists.