It can b done, and it isn't that hard............
There seems to be a common misconception that you need to carry tuppawears around containing your meals, and avoid meals out or prepackaged food to see results. Meal prep definitely does have its place, it's a great way of saving money and removing the thought process around picking meals.
But it isn't for everyone, and that's fine! The food industry is starting to become aware that more of the public want to know the nutritional content of what they are buying, for that reason there are now many bigger food chains which offer nutritional information on their menus or their websites, making it easier than ever to choose food in line with your goals. For example, Nandos, Mcdonalds and Costa all have clear nutrition information readily available.
If you are at a smaller restaurant, or there is no information then here are some pointers:
Ask for sauces / dressings on the side, then you can add how much you want, these are often laden with calories which don't provide you with extra food volume
Order a side of steamed veg or a large side salad, this will help to fill you up and provide you with lots of fibre, vitamins and minerals
Don't go out to eat starving hungry, you'll likely over order and over eat
Make sure you aren't thirsty as again this can cause you to over eat
Choose lean cuts of meat such as chicken or turkey, or remove visible fat from fatty cuts
Don't be afraid to stop when you are full and leave some food on your plate
Don't rush eating, give yourself time to digest and register the food so you recognise when you are full
Don't be afraid to order off the menu, or ask for a special request - such as grilling instead of frying, or no oil etc. You'll find that often restaurants are more than happy to accomodate
Avoid the bread basket pre meal
Have good nutrient dense meals either side of your meal out
Get back to your normal after the meal
Don't order more food than you would ordinarily eat
Share starters, deserts and side dishes
Enjoy the experience!
Be aware that many foods may be perceived as being 'healthy' but aren't any more so than their comparisons, such as sweet potato fries, whilst delicious they are no 'healthier' than regular fries. They are often triple fried and have practically identicle calories to white potato. So if you like them have them, but don't give up your normal fries if you love them!
When it comes to breakfasts and lunches, there are again many good options available, although some aren't as filling as I'd like! Look out for hidden calories in the form of oils and dressings
Additionally, things to try and avoid are:
- high sodium content
- high saturated fat content
- a huge list of ingredients that you can barely pronounce, let alone know what they are
Eating out regularly can impact fat loss if it is done mindlessly or without knowledge, however I would always encourage people to enjoy special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries etc and order what ever they want. Food is not just fuel for the body but also has a huge social aspect to it, by denying your selves of the foods that you love 100% of the time, you will be setting your self up for episodes of binge eating.
One meal will NOT make you gain weight, just like one meal will not make you loose weight, this is determined by what we do consistently over time. In fact, a relaxed meal can do wonders for keeping motivation high and aid with progression.
Remember, food will always be there, my usual rule of thumb is if I am somewhere that has something which I will never get to eat again - for example if I'm on holiday, and there's the best cheesecake in the world, or a special cuisine then I will have it, however if the menu is just filled with ordinary every day foods, then I will go for something more nutritious and lower calorie
If it isn't a special occasion, or if you are working towards a specific goal with a time frame, then by looking at menus online before hand, sticking to one or two courses rather than three, and limiting alcohol and other calorific drinks, you can eat out easily and still achieve your goals!