Eating out and ordering foods from our favorite restaurants & drive-throughs can sometimes feel like a wrench is being thrown our way while trying to lose weight.
It’s not easy to master outside eating while losing weight because oftentimes we are not tracking calories or the calorie information for a lot of foods is just not available.
On top of being unsure of the calorie content of foods from restaurants, foods tend to be a little more calorie-dense compared to taking the same food and making it at home.
Restaurants care about flavor, not making your meal light in calories. Additional salt, oils, butter, sauces, & dressings are added to increase palatability while also increasing total calorie content.
So what do you do?
You definitely do not hide under a rock while trying to lose weight. It’s not realistic to not eat out because mastering weight loss is all about being in real-life situations. And feeling comfortable in these situations is an important part of your weight loss journey.
First, accept that you will sometimes not know calorie & macronutrient information for foods ordered out or made by someone else. This is completely fine and normal.
Second, make the plate method of eating your best friend.
The plate method style of eating is filling half of your plate with vegetables, a fourth of your plate with carbohydrate or starch, and the other fourth of your plate with protein.
As shown in the photo above, we have broccoli for vegetables, brown rice for carbohydrate, and salmon for protein.
If you’re vegetarian you might have something like beans or tofu as your protein.
This style of eating encourages you to fill most of your plate with vegetables meaning more nutrients and volume for your body without lots of calories since vegetables are naturally a low-calorie food.
The plate method can work with literally any type of food. Even combination dishes.
I ordered drunken noodles with chicken and broccoli from my favorite Thai restaurant the other day.
The chicken and noodles came together in one box and the broccoli on the side. Using the plate method of eating, chicken (protein) will fill a fourth of a plate, drunken noodles (carbohydrate) will fill a fourth of a plate, and broccoli (vegetables) will fill half of a plate.
Portioning foods out like this likely means it’s between 450-500 calories (maybe even less depending on the food/restaurant).
This is a great way to have some idea of the number of calories you are consuming WHILE being able to eat out and enjoy a break from foods you normally eat at home!