One of the most important things I emphasize to my clients while following a flexible diet is their ability to be FLEXIBLE! Accepting a dinner invitation or an upcoming family party should never be a stressful situation when dieting.
"That's easy for you to say, Coach!"
Sure, experience does make adjusting on the fly easier but a few rule-of-thumbs can help you stay on track anywhere, anytime.
Preparing for Sucess While Eating Out
1. Make it easier for yourself. If you have any say in where to eat pick a place that has a My Fitness Pal listing.
2. Create a plan. Search the restaurant ahead of time to look over the menu. Focus on a dish with lean protein, complex carbs, and fibrous veggies. Most restaurants will have a protein and veggies option. If you don't see it right away it doesn't hurt to ask. These meals are easy to deconstruct and track. For example, 4-6oz of grilled chicken breast, 1 cup of steamed veggies, and a serving of baked potato. Note: I would usually add a serving of some cooking oil 7-8g on top of what you've already calculated.
3. Eat before heading out. This will give allow you to hit the macros you need and thus you can eat less when you go out. Less of your macros will be estimated.
4. There is always a listing for what you eat. Don't assume that because you had your grandma's sweet potato casserole, it cannot be tracked. It may not be extremely accurate but it will be close. Which brings me to...
5. Enjoy the moment. These moments with friends and family should be enjoyed and cherished. For many the act of eating with loved ones is one the biggest joys of life. Being on a diet does not mean you hate to give this up. It only means you need to prepare better and make smarter choices!
Flexible dieting is based on balance and moderation. Use that to your advantage. Take part in events, live your life, and don't allow food to dictate your plans!