I don’t want this post to end up seeming like permission to eat whatever you want, wherever you want, whenever you want. I avoid eating out as much as I possibly can. But I’m 22, in school and work full time. I’m already antisocial as it is and don’t need to avoid my friends any more than I already do.
So… I eat out with them because that’s what 20-some year olds do these days… But eating out really isn’t that bad anymore… especially thanks to fad diets like Atkins.
If ANY good has come out of fad diets, it’s the overwhelming availability of low-carb options at most places. At most fast food joints (not that fast food is where I go to with my friends…) there exists a “low carb” button. For example, Burger King allows you to get the whopper “low-carb” where the patty is served atop a bed of lettuce and is given to you in a container. In-n-out also allows you to get a protein style burger that’s wrapped in lettuce (and if you didn’t know about this already, you need to google their secret menu like right now).
At restaurants, I typically go for the meatier options. Steaks are typically available at most place — but I skip this for pricing reasons. Burgers are a relatively safe place to start, as long as you watch the fires. I opt for the sweet potato option since it’s more glycemic friendly, and it becomes more of a fat issue than a carb issue.
This leads me to my next point — planning ahead. When I eat out I know that my meals will probably be fattier than I normally plan for. That said, I try to eat leaner meals throughout the rest of the day. I also try to plan my meals out around my workouts. That means working out in the morning for brunch, and in the early evening if it’s dinner.
Use some common sense when picking items and pick protein heavy items. Always double-check with the online menu if there is one and prevent any hidden carbs. Some of the sauces used are loaded with sugar so I try to ask for the sauce on the side.
Regardless, eating out is no different than regular meal prep — eat lean and eat protein – make good choices!