In a perfect world, we would all take the time every week to prep, package, lay out, and plan each and every meal for the week to make sure we stay on track with our health and fitness goals.
But as we all know, we don’t live in a perfect world, and the likelihood that we will go an entire week without grabbing something to-go is the same that we will run into The Rock on the street and magically become best friends (sorry, personal goal of mine).
So seeing as the occasional carry-out dinner and business lunch is more than just a likelihood (read; certainty), it’s important to understand how to eat on-the-go to avoid totally tanking your diet and exercise program.
This means that before you order anything, you have to think about building a foundation. Don’t think about what you want first, think about what your body needs.
You should be basing all of your meals around protein consumption as the cornerstone for your program, as it’s arguably the most important nutrient when looking to build or maintain lean muscle. Think about ordering a meal that is based around a lean protein (chicken, fish, eggs, lean beef) before you start adding in other things.
Know why restaurants offer a vegetable and a starch to your order and then bog you down with french fries or a baked potato that could easily double as a football in a pickup game? Because those starchy carb items are cheap, easy to make, and have very high margins compared to their vegetable menu-opponents.
When ordering your food, if you are at a good place with your program and can roughly gauge quantity, look for other carb items such as a sweet potato (ask for half), brown rice, or even a grain medley over potato or white rice based options.
Also, you can always double up on your vegetables and ask for them to be served without butter (this is my personal go-to) and cut the caloric load of your restaurant or to-go meal significantly!
If eating out is something that you do (and have to do) regularly, then the best thing you can do to avoid falling into an unhealthy trap is to fully control the other 80% of your day.
Think about it, if you eat 5 times a day, and you know that your lunch is going to be less than Olympia-stage worthy, then make a real effort to make sure that the other 5 meals you are eating are prepared, planned, and nutritionally sound. This way even if you splurge on a few french fries or a dessert after dinner you can sleep soundly knowing that your whole day wasn’t a nutritional waste!
It is possible to stay on a healthy program while eating on the road or on the go, but you have to focus on making the best decision whenever possible. When in doubt, plan it out, google menus, ask what is being served and damage control the rest of your day as best as possible to ensure you are staying on your healthy program and never swaying!!!