Chipotle. Subway. The Cheesecake Factory. Baja Fresh. We all live in a society where going out to eat is considered normal. Social activities generally revolve around food and with flexible dieting, it is absolutely possible to go out to eat and stay within our macronutrient goals.

The general guideline for going out to eat and tracking your macros is to look up the nutritional information online or on MyFitnessPal for your selected meal and entering the information. But the fact of the matter is, online information really is not accurate. Every meal may contain all of the ingredients that are listed, but it is not made the same each and every time.

Tracking macros and going out to eat is always going to be on the flexible side of tracking macros because it is going to be difficult to truly know each amount of what you are consuming. So while you can choose to go out to eat keep in mind that nutritional information provided is simply an estimate for you to go by.

You can do your best to eyeball the foods (if you are a more experienced tracker / flexible dieter ) trust your judgment and actually look at the food as if you prepared it yourself. Think about the size of what you are actually eating. 

If the food does look like it’s been cooked in oil or has butter on it a safe bet would be to do an overestimation. If you think it’s something over between two numbers – go with the higher end and over-estimate the macros for that just incase. Always keep in the back of your mind that the macros listed for a particular meal are real rough guesstimations. Just know that the person prepping and preparing the food may be a little heavy handed with the oil that day or scoop a rounder scoop of rice.

There’s no reason eating out every now and then will hinder your overall progress, but it does make flexible dieting a bit more complicated than it needs to be especially if it is a weekly occurrence. Weight loss/ fat loss occurs by being in caloric deficit and the small stuff matters! Not accounting for the small margin of error does add up quickly.

At the end of the day, it depends where your goals lie and how quickly you want to lose weight. Remember, if you want to make changes some sacrifices will have to be made. If you are serious about losing weight just cook at home.