Can you eat out at a restaurant and still stay on track with your body transformation diet?
This is one question most of our clients at Ultimate Performance face at some point during their transformation journey.
But you don’t have to cancel every dinner engagement or social occasion – it’s just a question of being prepared, thinking smart and following a few simple rules to make the best choices possible.
Ten of our successful body transformation clients share their top tips for eating out and staying on-plan from their body transformations at Ultimate Performance…
#1 ‘Adjust your daily calories to accommodate your meal out’ – Carolyn, Ultimate Performance City of London
My best piece of advice if you are trying to stay on track, but need to attend an event, is to factor the event into the week’s calories so you can enjoy the event, but know ahead of time what you can eat and what you shouldn’t touch.
If you’ve figured it all out ahead of time and have a good idea of what you’ll eat on the day, you won’t have to stress about it.
#2 ‘Don’t make food choices when you’re hungry’ – Rachael, Ultimate Performance Manchester
Don’t let yourself get too hungry before you go out – have a protein shake or big glass of water (or both!) before you get to the event or restaurant so your stomach isn’t empty.
Where possible, make your food choices beforehand and stick to them!
When you have eaten, and you’re not hungry, you will make better selections.
If you have to choose on the night, don’t be scared to substitute chips for salad, and always ask for salads to be undressed with the dressing separately. Drink lots of water with your meal.
#3 ‘Make your menu choices in advance’ – David, Ultimate Performance Singapore
Check out out the menu in advance and choose foods that work for your macronutrients. If you have to make spot decisions, choose foods that are clean as possible.
If you want protein, eat chicken, fish or fillet steak. If you want carbohydrates, choose white rice or pasta without sauce – this way you can be sure you are not adding fat unknowingly. If you want fat, have butter or olive oil.
#4 ‘Avoid temptation where possible’ – Cesar, Ultimate Performance Dubai
The best piece of advice is to avoid eating out, where possible. I know it sounds hard, but that’s what I had to do. Friends and family want the best for you, but when going out you put yourself in a difficult situation and there can be temptations with food and alcohol.
My wife understood this and helped me at all times in the process. We changed our path and enjoyed time in the kitchen preparing simple meals, measuring absolutely everything, which is something we were not used to doing.
When it’s absolutely necessary to go out due to important business meetings or visitors, I would prepare in advance. I knew the restaurants we were going to and my trainer used to advise on what to eat based on the menu. I already knew what to eat and what not to eat, and stood firm. It was not easy for me when going out and therefore I avoided those outings as much as I could.
#5 ‘If there’s no healthy option, always take an emergency protein bar’ – Bhaskar, Ultimate Performance Singapore
Look out for healthy options in the spread. In my case, I would try to stick to salads whenever I was eating out. If this is not always possible, try to avoid food options with rice, potatoes, oil, cheese, breads etc. Also, carry protein bars with you as a fall-back option just in case you cannot find enough healthy food options when eating out.
#6 ‘Choose something that fits your macros’ – Paul, Online Personal Training
Check the menu before you go and look at what you will be faced with. Pick something healthy that falls into your macronutrients (macros) – or as close as possible – and work it around your activity and other food for the day.
If you are drinking, tell your trainer in advance who can help you change your targets for the week to cater for your event. One day off will not kill you; just make sure you get back on it as soon as you can and utilise any excess food for energy in the gym.
#7 ‘Stick to grilled food; avoid anything fried’ – Victor, Ultimate Performance Dubai
Order something that resembles what’s on the plan, stick to grilled food, and stay away from fried food and sauces.
If you do go off-piste, draw a line under it and stick to the plan. Stay strong and keep your discipline.
#8 ‘Always have go-to restaurants you know serve food that fits your diet’ – Dee, Ultimate Performance City of London
If you are stuck without prep and you have to eat out somewhere, make sure you have go-to places where you know that you can get something to eat that will fit your diet goals. Having go-to places and go-to meals means you cut down your choice. It actually makes it easier to choose something you know will be right.
You have more control than you think at a restaurant. Read the whole menu. You will find something. Every restaurant has an online menu and at first your trainer can help you understand which foods from the menu are right for you. Most restaurants will accommodate you if you want to change chips for a side salad.
You can always be proactive in suggesting where to go if you’re going out for a meal with your friends, your family or your partner. When people are asking for suggestions about where to go, make sure you’re always ready with suggestions like ‘Thai food, steakhouse or barbecue’. I know what I want and I know what I like.
#9 ‘Choose a meal you can easily estimate calories and portion size’ – Andy, Ultimate Performance Mayfair
Just be sensible. Don’t go mad. You don’t have to give up going out. Going out but making sensible choices will make this lifestyle more sustainable. You get to a point where you know what you’re looking for. If you order a steak, you will know approximately how much it weighs and how many calories it contains, then you can have salad or sweet potato with it.
Be more conscious of portion sizes when eating out. If you have been weighing and tracking your food, you should already be aware of what your regular meal sizes look like and how big your plate of food should be.
#10 ‘Always plan ahead when eating out’ – Kamran, Ultimate Performance Manchester
When I was going through my transformation, if anyone suggested to go out for food or to an event, it used to me give me “food anxiety”.
I’d start panicking thinking that this planned meal out was going to throw me off track.
So, I quickly learned that you can actually go and eat out, but still stay on track.
Always check the menu for wherever you are going and see what fits in with your planned food, and pre-plan what you are going to order so there are no surprises when you get there.
If you’re unsure of ingredients etc., don’t be afraid to call the restaurant and ask them what a certain dish is made from/free from.