Do you eat out several times a week? That could be your problem. It’s hard to calculate the calories and macros you get when you don’t prepare your meals yourself.
Now, I’m not saying never eat out. Just be more aware of what you’re eating and gain a little insight into the difference between what you get at home and what you get at a restaurant.
A 2016 study by Tufts University found that 92% of the 364 restaurants they tested contained an average of 1025 calories! These were both chain and non-chain restaurants (less than 20 locations). Chain restaurants are required to show the nutrition information. Restaurants with less than 20 locations are not required to.
There are several reasons for the high calorie count in restaurant foods:
· Most restaurants give you way more food than the average person needs in a single meal. But, hey, you paid for it so you’re damned well going to eat it all. Right?
· Restaurants have to cook for flavor. You’re not going to pick a restaurant with the least flavorful meal. Adding flavor usually means adding more salt, more fat and more sugar.
· Peer Pressure- You’re probably going to order that dessert if everyone else at the table orders.
The people at myfitnesspal.com (which I highly recommend, by the way) compiled a list of some 20 meals that are some of the worst-broken down by ethnicity. I’m only going to mention a few. Just so you start thinking about it more often.
1. Rib-eye Steak-1726 calories with sides
2. Cheeseburger-1412 calories
3. Grilled Chicken Sandwich (you read it right-Grilled!)-1216 calories
1. General Tso’s Chicken and white rice-2100 calories
2. Walnut Shrimp and rice-1626 calories
3. Pork Fried Rice-1571 calories
1. Fettuccine Alfredo-1754 calories
2. Spaghetti & meatballs-1492 calories
1. Chicken Fajitas + chips and salsa-1588 calories
2. Cheese Quesadilla + chips and salsa-1179 calories
I’m afraid I have to admit that the worst meals listed above are among my favorites.
Here are a few hacks
1. Log your meals. Go to myfitnesspal.com before you go out and think about your menu choices before to get to the restaurant. Myfitnesspal.com has the most extensive database of foods I’ve ever seen and they have a restaurant section. And its free.
2. Don’t show up hungry
3. Take time to enjoy your meal. Eat slowly.
4. You paid for it but you don’t have to eat it all in one sitting. Ask for a to go box , if you must, and spread you purchase over 2 or even 3 meals.
5. Be aware of what you’re drinking too. A 10 oz Bloody Mary is 262 calories. Scotch and water is only 100 calories. A Frozen Daqueri frozen Daqueri (6 oz) is 200 calories. Sweetened iced tea (12 oz) is 180 calories.