So you’re training hard and eating well and all is good until you’re invited out for a staff meal only to discover the menu choices are all super fatty calorie bombs with extra cheese.
Eating out can be tricky when you’re a bodybuilder.
So what do you do — stay at home and eat protein bars whilst becoming a social outcast? Well there’s nothing wrong with being disciplined and keeping up your protein levels, but get out and eat in restaurants like everybody else!
Just digest these few pointers first.
Make some enquiries
Check out the menus in some of your local restaurants, then give them a ring and ask if they can tweak a dish or cook you something in a particular way.
Some will be helpful and flexible and others not so helpful. The aim is to find a few places in advance where you can rely on getting good-sized, well prepared dishes. Preparing a healthy, nutritional, good-sized meal to a customer’s preference isn’t rocket science. So avoid the places that can’t deliver the goods.
When you enter any restaurant excellent service should be guaranteed — part of this service includes a chef being able to cater for your requirements. Tell the waiter that you’re a bodybuilder and need to watch what you’re eating.
Ask how your dish is prepared. If it’s fried, then request for it to be grilled or boiled instead. If it isn’t on the menu, then try asking for it and remember at all times that you are the paying customer and should receive value for your money.
No saucy extras
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a good steak now and again. It’s high in protein and even Arnold Schwarzenegger was partial to a visit to the local grill house back in the day. But leave out the sauce and fatty extras.
Sauces are usually high in fat, so bargain with yourself and have the steak, which you’ve worked for in the gym, but not the sauces or mayonnaise. Sauces will add a layer off the unwanted stuff to your physique.
Avoid fast food
It may be full of calories and help you grow, but fast food isn’t the way to go. It’s fast because it simple and processed. Devoid of vitamins, minerals and all the good stuff, but full of saturated and trans-fats, which are known to contribute towards diabetes and heart problems.
Some say that if you’re starving and there’s nothing else around other than fast food, then gravitate towards grilled and chicken, avoid doubles and triples and scrape of all the sauces and order a salad instead of fries. But if you want to protect your long-term health, avoid fast food.
Don’t forget the vegetarian
A good quality vegetarian restaurant is a really strong option for bodybuilders. Sure you don’t get that meaty fix that sometimes needs to be satisfied, but you get some serious protein and some super healthy food that doesn’t come with a high fat warning like some meat alternatives.
Vegetarian restaurants tend to use organic produce and you can find a great selection of dishes on the menu that will easily satisfy your dietary requirements and even surpass them. You may be pleasantly surprised at just how tasty the menu is too.
The thought of those little bite-sized sushi dishes surely cannot satisfy the hunger of a man in training can they? Well you’ll need a few for sure, but portion control aside, sushi dishes are low in saturated fat and high in protein, which makes it a great choice for bodybuilders.
Salmon, tuna and yellowtail are some of the leanest proteins you can eat and all are in ample supply in any sushi restaurant. You can even get healthier brown rice sushi too — just ask the waiter.
Break it down
You don’t need to order a main course as a main course — mix it up. If you like the look of a couple of starters, then order them both for your main course. Add a couple of side portions and a good salad (without the dressing) and you’ve got the beginnings of a tailored feast.
Take this further and try international cuisine such as a Spanish tapas or Greek meze, where it’s normal to order many smaller dishes.