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Cutting while eating out.


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I have a job that requires approximately two weeks of travel per month; we travel with at least one coworker, and years of such traveling has created an implied standard where both coworkers eat essentially every meal of the day together. If the hotel offers breakfast, we will eat that. Otherwise, we eat breakfast and lunch in a cafeteria, and go out for dinner. Skipping the restaurant dinner is not really an option, as one coworker has the rental car for the week - and if it is me, my skipping a meal out could strand my coworker in the middle of nowhere with little to no food options. As it is, I've resigned myself to eating three meals a day out when on these trips, and I could use some tips and advice on how to manage this while still maintaining a reasonable diet. I don't currently adhere to any restrictive diet and don't have any allergies, but should be targeting 1700-1800 kcal (at least on non-lifting days) and approximately 88 grams of protein. Protips, anyone?

75%
75%

Current DL: 225 lb Goal DL: 300 lb

 

78%
78%

Current BS: 175 lb Goal DL: 225 lb
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How much downtime do you have at the hotel? You'd be surprised what you can make in your hotel room with sufficient creativity. Anything that eats cold, such as sandwiches, is fine. So are nuts, canned fish (make sure to throw out the cans afterward so it doesn't smell), fruit, and single-serve bags of salad.

Since you get a rental car, you can also go to an actual grocery store and buy food. Big supermarkets often have delis that sell prepared foods by weight. You can get pre-made things like roast chicken, grilled salmon, hardboiled eggs, salads, etc. -- cheaper than restaurant dinners, too, so chances are your boss will approve. When you arrive at destination and collect the rental car, head to the store, bundle up the goodies, then you can go picnic at the park ... or take the food to the hotel and stash in the mini-fridge for roommates to help themselves later. You can even pick up a loaf of bread and a condiment or two. Talk to your travel buddies and see if they'd be down for a few deli lunches a la carte. I bet some of them would like that fine.

If that doesn't work, just order carefully at restaurants. Get things that you know are good for you (steak and veggies) and avoid the stuff that isn't (fried onion rings). And make sure to squeeze in your exercise, because travel and work will get in the way if you let them, and you don't want that.

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What kind of places do you go out to eat at? 

 

As a rule of thumb I try to stick with grilled chicken and replace most sides with their 'seasonal veggies' or chefs salad with dressing on the side. These are usually pretty safe bets and pretty low cal with decent protein. I've never been to a place that didn't have some form of grilled chicken, just have to ask them to hold the sauce/cheeses that usually come on them. 

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I, tomorrow. I'll asked for grilled chicken tomorrow... Oops. -.- we eat at a variety of places, but rarely chains. Tonight was a taco bar - delicious, and no plain chicken or steamed vegetables in sight. I think I need to get better about recommending options that will offer a basic protein+veggie option, and resist the urge to try all the unique, local places (and all their unique, local dishes).

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75%
75%

Current DL: 225 lb Goal DL: 300 lb

 

78%
78%

Current BS: 175 lb Goal DL: 225 lb
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I, tomorrow. I'll asked for grilled chicken tomorrow... Oops. -.- we eat at a variety of places, but rarely chains. Tonight was a taco bar - delicious, and no plain chicken or steamed vegetables in sight. I think I need to get better about recommending options that will offer a basic protein+veggie option, and resist the urge to try all the unique, local places (and all their unique, local dishes).

 

Taco salad options aren't bad if you keep them plain! I have friends that just don't like to cook so I've figured out every which way of finagling SOMETHING either healthy or low calorie with the available ingredients. You may get some odd stares, but if you're ok with those and being 'that person' who has to modify everything it's doable :D 

Spaz Ranger

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You can have results or excuses. Not both

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What's the fun of travel without unique local dishes? I would never tell you not to eat those. Why should there be plain meats at a taco joint, when Mexicans specialize in sauces? That's like going to an Italian place and looking for naked noodles.

I think local food actually beats chain food most of the time. Even when it's bad, it's more exciting, and often it's better food (Yelp is a decent guide though not perfect). If the menu isn't online, you can phone them up before you head out and politely ask if they serve (specific desired thing, eg salads) as your group has a member on a restricted diet. If they give you a hard time on the phone, eat somewhere else. If you're really feeling brain dead (decision fatigue, it happens) and want something predictable, then that's what chain restaurants are for.

A Mexican joint normally has plenty of meat, they do tend to be a bit thin on the veggie front but you can usually get soup, or shredded cabbage and lime wedges, and if you're lucky, chopped onion, radishes and tomatoes. The salsas are veggies too, of course. Most of the sauces are nothing to sweat about anyway, except the cheesy enchilada stuffs, and skipping those is easy.

Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

Hylian Assassin 5'5", 143 lbs.
Half-marathon: 3:02
It is pitch dark. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

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What's the fun of travel without unique local dishes? I would never tell you not to eat those. Why should there be plain meats at a taco joint, when Mexicans specialize in sauces? That's like going to an Italian place and looking for naked noodles.

 

While I agree if you're on vacation, the wear and frequency of travel gets tedious if you're doing it for work consistently. It's not exciting new places anymore and it's usually (at least for those that do it for my company) to some pretty non-exciting places. Rainbows question seemed more geared towards that kind of lifestyle, constantly moving and trying to find a consistent way to cut without knowing what a restaurant puts in their food. 

Spaz Ranger

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You can have results or excuses. Not both

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Thanks again for the thoughts. Slates is spot on - my struggle comes with being faced with "bad" food constantly, and how to deal with it. Chains are probably actually an easier route to go for this, because they're more likely to accommodate off-the-menu, simple requests. I just found out that the place I'm headed next week for work has an all vegetarian cafeteria, and is mega-health focused. This could be an easy week!

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75%

Current DL: 225 lb Goal DL: 300 lb

 

78%
78%

Current BS: 175 lb Goal DL: 225 lb
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I travel FREQUENTLY (not for work though... and often with children/friends)

 

I take my crock pot with me when I travel by car... and I will buy meat/sweet potatoes locally... I eat at LEAST one meal per day from something I cooked in my crock pot

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