Nov 20, 2013

Eating out while Carb Cycling

Let’s be honest people.  Eating out is a part of most of our daily routines.  It used to be a treat…a special occasion even, but in today’s day and age of working moms and busy schedules, sometimes eating out is not only convenient, it’s the only option. 

This is where you have to be tough on yourself.  You do NOT need to go crazy every time you eat out or get take out.  You do NOT need to eat what your husband/family/friends/co-workers are eating.  You can’t reach your goals if you just eat like everyone else, it’s that simple. 
I try and tell myself this every day in the office when the various donuts/cupcakes/cookies/etc are tempting me in the kitchen.  Sure everyone else in the office is indulging.  Sure, it would be nice to give in as well…but the reality of the situation is, that I have different goals than the rest of my co-workers.  Sure, some of them are naturally thin and have nothing to worry about in the weight category, but it’s about more than just weight loss, it’s about being healthy, and fueling yourself with the right foods the majority of the time.  Every day indulges are a habit we really need to break free from as a society, and I’m not saying it’s easy, but your body with thank you for it over time.

So, that being said, yes, I’ve eaten out multiple times since starting carb cycling.  I enjoy eating out on my “guilt free” day the most, but if I have to eat out during the week when I should be on plan, here are some tips to keep in mind.

·         Beware the sodium monster.  Inevitably, food you don’t prepare yourself is bound to have more sodium, and even more if you’re eating at a convenience/fast food place versus a restaurant.  Be prepared to see the scale go up the next day, even if you stayed under your calories, for the pure fact that sodium makes you retain more water.  It goes away, don’t worry, but drink extra H20 on these days to compensate.

·         Remember your portion sizes.  Most restaurant servings are far too big for the portions we should be eating; share an entrée or ask for a take out box when your meal comes and box half of it before you even start eating.  If it’s not on your plate, you’ll be less tempted to finish the whole thing

·         Stick to the recommended food combinations: Protein, Fat, and Veggies on low carb day, and Protein, Carb, and Veggies on high carb day.  Modify menu selections if you have to.

·         Salad is your friend.  It’s the easiest thing to modify in terms of adding/subtracting ingredients, and lean protein is an easy add (think grilled chicken, fish, eggs, etc).

Here are some of the things I’ve eaten while dining out or getting take out these past few weeks:

(Above) Low carb: Garden salad with grilled chicken and feta cheese, a little splash of balsamic vinegar for dressing, delivered from a local pizza shop

(Above) Sit down restaurant, cobb salad with grilled chicken, lots of veggies, bacon, and hard boiled eggs.  This was so delicious, I didn't even add dressing!

(Above) Panera Bread has an awesome "hidden" menu that's totally low carb.  This is the "Power Mediterranean Chicken" Salad.

Above: High carb day.  Steamed chicken with mixed veggies, and a bit of white rice on the side.  No, white rice is not the best option, but it's better than fried rice! PS...I think the texture of steamed chicken is kinda gross...

Above: High carb day: scrambled egg whites with spinach (no added fat on the grill) and a piece of dry whole wheat toast.  I put some egg on the bread for a few of the bites so it was sort-of like an open faced sandwich.

Above: High carb day: Salad with grilled chicken and loads of veggies, paired with a bowl of fruit on the side for my carb serving.

Above: High carb day.  This is from a local chain called Izote but it's the same as a Moe's or Chipotle: rice, chicken, lettuce, pico de gallo, and onions.  No fat (cheese, sour cream, guac) on this, and remember to pick rice OR beans, not both (they're both carbs).  On a low carb day, take out the rice and add the cheese and guac for some fat, and feel free to load up on the veggies!
Hope this sheds some light for you, feel free to comment with questions! :)

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