To achieve weight goals in a healthy, lasting way, track your macronutrients (macros) when you dine in or out. Macros are divided into three categories: carbohydrates (carbs), proteins, and fats. These categories produce different amounts of calories, or food energy, that your body uses daily.

 

 

Counting calories can be helpful, but a simple count doesn’t distinguish between 1,800 calories from five pieces of chocolate cake, which is heavy in carbs, and 1,800 calories from six small meals containing a proper balance of fat, protein, and carbs. Getting granular about what macros you’re eating can help you achieve your weight goals, whether they involve using a ketogenic diet or becoming heart healthy with the DASH diet. Check out these three tips for managing your macros when eating out to help you achieve your weight goals.

Check the Restaurant Nutrition Facts Before You Go

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has new regulations regarding nutrition facts for restaurant chains with more than 20 locations. These regulations go into effect on May 7, 2018. Restaurant chains, such as Chili’s or Outback Steakhouse, are required to provide more detailed nutrition information. Many restaurants include these nutrition facts on their company websites.

Nutrition details consist of the total amount of calories, calories from fat, total amount of fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, and protein.

Before you dine out, consider planning your meal in advance using online nutrition facts so you know the exact macros for your food.

Become a Pro at Estimating Portion Size

So, your favorite local deli doesn’t have nutrition information listed on its website. Don’t fret. You can still eat at restaurants that don’t have detailed nutrition facts. You just need to become an expert at estimating portion size.

Why is portion size so important? A 2016 study found that what a diet consists of (the macros), as well as reduced portion size, help determine successful weight loss and body maintenance. It’s crucial to understand possible portion distortion at restaurants so you can take control.

WebMD has a fantastic printout that makes it easy to determine what the proper portions are for a variety of foods. You can determine how much of a particular food you’ve been served and then decide how much to eat. For restaurants with bigger portions, consider asking for a to-go box when ordering so you won’t be tempted to clean your plate.

Download a Macro Tracking App

One of the easiest ways to track your macros while eating out is downloading an app that does the work for you. When choosing an app, you want to look for one that makes it easy to log your food and details the percentage of daily macros you eat so that you can plan your day.

You can sign up for free with Lifesum and download our app through the Apple Store or Google Play and start tracking macros. Lifesum allows you to choose from 10 diets that’ll help you determine what percentage of macros you should eat based on your weight goals.

Using these tips, you can take charge of your diet and never have to worry about unknowns when eating out.

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