The Healthy Food Guide | 7 Top Tips For Dining Out

Written by Tom Macmillan, Natural World Champion Bodybuilder & Online Coach


Eating Out

If you’ve ever followed a diet, I’m sure you’ve had a moment of panic when you’ve been invited to a social event or a meal with friends/family. Don’t sweat.. We diet to ultimately improve our quality of life, stress is the opposite, we want results, but we also need to make sure what we do, we can adhere to, we can sustain our progress. We need BALANCE. Here’s 6 tips to manage your way around social events & restaurant menus whilst sculpting the body you crave.

place setting

1. Healthy Food Choices


Search the menu for something simple, something you can track relatively easy with fewer ingredients. For example, steak, potatoes & vegetables is pretty easy to track, a curry dish with lots of ingredients followed by a homemade dessert is less so. Don’t get me wrong, enjoy your food, but choose with goals in mind.

2. Food Tracking & Generic Entries


St Jeor Mifflin equation is a reliable tool to figure out your calories depending on your goal. My preference is protein 1g per lb. of bodyweight, fat 20-30% of calories and the remainder used for carbs. Download my fitness pal and use it to track food to hit your macros or calories. No foods are now off limits, assuming you hit your macros or at least your protein & calorie goal. However, many restaurants won’t be within the database so you need to use generic entries. For example, if I’m eating steak and chips, then I would type ‘Generic steak and chips’ into my fitness pal search bar, from there I would guess the weights and double check that the macros appear (always check sometimes they’re blank). Or enter something close. For example, if you ate a cake from a bakery you could search for a supermarket brand of similar cake i.e. Tesco etc.

(PRO TIP! – Add a table spoon of oil to my fitness pal as most restaurants will use extra oil)

steak healthy cheat meal

3. Cutting Calories


If you know you’re going for a meal, save calories. For example, just have protein at breakfast & lunch if you want a high carb/high fat meal at night, simply eat whatever macros you may have left. For example, a lean meat salad is very low calorie and would save you carbohydrates & fats for a later evening meal. Another example… If you have an allowance of 2500 calories you could hit your protein goal at breakfast / lunch / pre bed / and the evening meal which uses 800 calories, you have 1700 calories remaining to use.

4.Take A Re-feed Day


I suggest re-feeding every 7 days so take this day (i.e. the day you’re eating out) as a re-feed day as opposed to the one scheduled. However, ensure your training on this day and preferably the day after to make sure of the extra carbohydrates. Go to maintenance calories and make the increase come from carbohydrates to increase glycogen stores.

healthy meals gluten free pizza

6. Calorie Rollover


If you think you’ve over eaten, calculate it or if that isn’t possible, guesstimate how much by and simply eat that much less the next day. For example, if you have a 250g carb allowance and you eat 300, then the next day you would eat 200, if you eat 350 then you could eat 150 the next day or 200 for two consecutive days. The main thing is ensuring that over the course of the week, you’re within a caloric deficit. Using the 2500 calorie example, over 7 days that’s 17500 calories. Make sure at the end of the week, your calories equal that figure as close as possible.



So there you have it, 7 tips to staying tight on your diet whilst eating out. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Balance doesn’t just happen, balance comes from experience. You probably will slip up now and then and your estimates won’t always be close. However, by following the tips above, you will be well on your way to creating not only your dream physique but a sustainable lifestyle. Know anyone who struggles with this? share the post with them.





Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Charlotte Campbell

Charlotte Campbell


Charlotte is a fitness and nutrition writer and blogger based in Manchester. Her articles have been featured in Cosmopolitan and the London Evening Standard.

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