If you are counting calories then this can be a rather difficult process to keep up and it can be especially so if you are going to be eating out. On a daily basis counting calories means making sure that you keep a tally of everything that you eat, and that you turn down a lot of your favorite foods. It’s a time consuming effort that can also leave you not getting the enjoyment that you should out of your meals.
When you eat out this becomes even more difficult. First of all you will find that counting calories gets you derision from the people you are eating with. They’ll tell you how silly you’re being and how you should cut lose ‘for once’ (little do they know you cut lose the last three times you ate out). Meanwhile you will find that you actually can’t find out the specific calories in the meals you’re eating in a restaurant because you don’t know what’s gone into the ingredients. And then there’s the fact that a lot of menus won’t even really have anything on them that is compatible with your diet. So what can you do?
Here we will look at some tips on how to count calories when out, and how to make sure that you stick to your diet in even the most difficult of situations. We’ll also look at why maybe you would perhaps be better not to be quite so rigid with your calorie counting and to consider a less structured approach, but we will come to that in due time.
How to Count Calories When Out
First of all, we’ll answer the question the title poises – how to count calories when you’re out and about. The problem most people are faced with first here is simply knowing what’s in what they’re eating. Now if you are eating packaged food from a shop then the good news is that it has to have the calories written on the packaging. So if you look to the back then you can normally find them. This, along with the cost and the general health benefits, is a good reason to make sure that you eat from Tesco more than you eat from Burger King. If all your friends are getting Burger King, then you should politely excuse yourself and go and get a sandwich from the convenience store next door. It will be much cheaper, much healthier and it will give you an exact number of calories.
Going out for meals is more difficult, and you can’t bring a packaged sandwich to a Michelin star restaurant. Instead then you simply need to do your research prior to going out to eat. If you look up the restaurant then you might be able to find the calorie counts of some of their meals. This is particularly easy with the chains such as Nandos or in pubs – often they will have the calories noted next to the item on the menu, and if they don’t then there will be a website someone online that can tell you. In this situation your smartphone is very much your best friend. If you can’t find the ingredients or the calories for that restaurant online then depending on how serious you are about the calorie counting you can also opt to request that you eat somewhere else. If your friends are understanding then they shouldn’t mind.
Of course sometimes you will still be blindly choosing what foods you eat in a restaurant and in this situation do the following: eat less before you go, choose the healthiest thing you can find on the menu, then note it down in your records as a high estimate. This way you might not know the precise calories but you will have provided a buffer and this will mean you’re relatively safe.
The Pitfalls of Calorie Counting
That said though, there is really very little use to calorie counting in the way many people do it, and while it might help them to lose weight, there are simpler and easier ways to achieve the same ends that won’t result in your friends ostracizing you.