Estimating macros at restaurants

Restaurants don’t have to be off limits if you are racking and working towards a goal. Use these simple tips to stay the course and still enjoy some time out with friends and family.

Check the menu ahead of time: If this is a planned outing you can check the menu ahead of time and pre- log your meal. You may even go as far to pick a restaurant that accommodates your goals and gives you healthy options. Decide what you are going to have and pre- log the entire meal, AND DRINKS! (If you are drinking) Make your best guess on estimates as far as portion sizes, if anything over estimate. You can always adjust once you are there and get a good look at the plate/portion. 

Skip the bread and apps: This goes back to a tip I am always telling my clients, choose your indulgences. The meal you are likely to consume is way higher calorie then normal and trying to fit in even more calories won’t be easy. Unless of course your goals support higher calories then you’ll likely be fine.

Use hand portions: While some establishments will have the macros broken down on their website for the most part you will be guessing. Using palm, fist, and thumb measurements for logging estimates is the best way to get “close enough” for portion sizes. 

Always log extra fat: Be sure to log at least 1tbsp of some oil, doesn’t matter which any will be about 15g of fat. Restaurants use far more than you would at home and we want to account for the extra fat.

Take a picture on the fly: If you are trying to enjoy your time and the meal was chosen on a whim take a picture and try to log when you get home. This option works well if you have plenty of macros left for the day. Be aware you may go over your numbers with this method but it’s not the end of the world, just be accountable for those extra calories and log them.

Keep it simple: Simple meals will be easier to log then something with a dozen ingredients. Something like steak tips, veggies, and a potato is easy to find in the database and log pretty accurately.