Going out for a meal can be so stressful for people trying to stick to their macros, it's one of the main concerns I get from my clients. This can easily be overcome though.
Let's look at two different approaches:
One approach for those who want to keep their diet, on point as possible while eating and another for people happy to have a little more leeway and freedom but still don't want to fall back into the habit of binging.
Option #1 - The "Strict" Approach
"Strict" in this sense doesn't mean having to stick to your meal plan, only ordering
chicken breast or lean steak, along with grilled veggies, or sitting there sipping on a Diet
Coke or mineral water while everyone around you eats delicious, fat laden or high carb foods.
Rather, it means going for a meal but doing your best to hit your prescribed macros.
This approach is for those who are coming towards the end of a cut (maybe just for a Holiday)
The first step to take here, is to plan the rest of your day's nutrition around your meal out.
If you know, for instance, that you'll be dining Italian, then the chances are your meal will be pretty carb-heavy, with pizza, pasta or bread, so you're best served to make the rest of your day's food a little lower carb.
Likewise, it's difficult to find low-fat options at a burger joint (even if you go bun-less and skip the fries, you'll still have a fatty burger, maybe some cheese, or sauces) so keep your fat lower during the day.
The bottom line is that you should leave plenty of macros (mainly from carbs and fat) for your meal out without being too drastic about it, or better yet, plan your meal out before planning the rest of your day so you're able to eat accordingly.
A final pointer, is that if no macros or calorie counts are given, or you're going to an independent place, then have a look at the menu before you go, just to get an idea of the types of food they serve, and be prepared to ask for dressing on the side, or to have things cooked in a specific way. You are the customer after all, but this way, you should be able to estimate better what you'll end up eating and be able to stay on track.
Option #2 - The Not-So-Strict Approach
Firstly - be calorie conscious.
That doesn't mean you have to precisely count every single calorie you eat, or scour menus and websites before going out, but look for easy ways you can save calories.
Perhaps you skip the bread that's put on the table when everyone sits down.
Maybe you go for two courses instead of three, order low-fat cheese on your pizza, or a chicken burger instead of beef. Or you weigh up whether you have a couple of beers OR a dessert OR an extra side of onion rings.
The key is to enjoy yourself, and have flexibility, without going overboard and indulging for the sake of it.
Another top tip is to always pick something with protein in it.
Basing your meal out around lean proteins and veggies is a great way to fill you up and save a few calories.
Additionally, go a bit more moderate during the day, perhaps by cutting your carbs a little, or even burning off a few extra calories with a short interval session at some point before going out.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.