Members often ask me 'how do I deal with eating out – what should I enter in the app?'
We've got nutrition data for over 130 popular eating out chains and coffee shops. To see the full list in the app, tap the blue menu button at the top of your diary and select 'Eating Out'.
Choose the type of eating out establishment then find your favourite. Alternatively, type the name of the place in the search bar at the top of your diary.
If you can't find the restaurant you're eating at in our database, we suggest finding a similar meal from another restaurant – it's not perfect, but it will give you an idea of what's in your meal choice and it's better to enter something in your diary than leave it blank.
How to track when eating out
Remember that knowledge is power. Just because you are eating a meal you haven't prepared yourself, doesn't mean you can't try and stay on track with your diary. Keep logging so that you have a good idea of where you're at.
Here are my top tips for tracking as accurately as you can.
Search the Eating Out section – in the app, tap the blue menu button in the diary > 'Eating Out'. As shown above, we have the data for a wide range of eating out places, so scan through to see if the place you visited, or are going to, is listed.
Find something similar – if you can't find the establishment you visited in our Eating Out section, look for a similar dish from another restaurant or a takeaway option. For example, if you had a pizza but your restaurant isn't in the database, add a pizza with similar toppings from another restaurant as an estimate instead. Better to add something than nothing!
Use a 'luxury' supermarket ready meal – if you can't find a comparable dish in the Eating Out section, search for a supermarket ready meal as an estimate. Choose a 'best' or 'finest' version as these are the most indulgent recipes. You may need to increase the portion size as restaurant or takeaway servings are often bigger than ready meals, so maybe add 1.5 portions to err on the side of caution.
Being prepared can be the difference between going off track and sticking to your targets. Here are my top tips for planning in advance when eating out of home.
Use the 'Easier Days' setting – in the app, tap the blue menu button in your diary > 'Diary Preferences' > 'Easier Days'. Select a day of the week to have more calories on – your target for the other days of the week will reduce to compensate.
Look ahead at menu options – find the menu for where you're going to online and see what choices they have. You can then search our Eating Out section to check the nutritional content of the dishes you might like. Decide in advance which healthier option you will be ordering to avoid having to make a choice on the spot. Having a pre-determined decision is a great strategy as it removes the pressure of a situation where it's easy to be swayed in the moment by your emotions, other people or hunger!
Plan in some extra activity – while it's true that you 'can't outrun a bad diet', being more active on the day/days before your eating occasions can certainly help to burn a few extra calories and could make you feel less inclined to overindulge. So plan in an extra walk or exercise class in the lead up to your eating out occasion to help offset the calories a little.
Nutracheck is a top-rated food diary App and website. We track calories and 7 key nutrients - carbs, sugar, fibre, protein, fat, saturated fat and salt. Our mission is to give our members insight into what they are eating to empower them to make more informed food choices. We've been helping people achieve their weight management goals since 2005.