How To Eat Healthy Meals at Restaurants 101 - Dean McMenamin

How To Eat Healthy Meals at Restaurants 101

Eating out is where many guys derail their fat loss goals. But if you know what you’re doing, you can still eat out, enjoy life and achieve your health, fitness, and physique goals without sacrificing your social life. 

Here’s 3 simple Principles for eating out to help you do that.

1 – Pick a Healthier Restaurant 

Finding good options starts with choosing the right place. People with lean, strong, healthy bodies are usually critical thinkers. So start practicing by thinking ahead and don’t leave your food options to chance. 


Try to avoid fast food chain restaurants wherever possible. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If it doesn’t have table service, it’s usually a bad sign. 

Look at menus online to help you choose the best place. Find somewhere you know you can get healthier options and if possible has lots of veggies or a salad bar available. 

This leads us onto principle no.2…

2 – The Magic 3 Nutritional Principles: 

Stick to these big 3 choices when ordering from menus, and you’re on the right track:

  1. Lean Proteins.

(meats, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, legumes)

  1. Veggies & Fruits. 
  1. High fiber, slow digesting carbs. 

(Whole grains, boiled potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits, beans & legumes)

When it comes to fats, as a rule, most restaurants prepare foods with more oils than you’d normally use at home, so chances are, the fat content and calories will always be higher than home made meals. So I’d recommend not looking for additional fats (avocado, oils, butters, nuts and seed, etc) if possible to keep the calories down. 


Avoid anything on the menu with the words: crispy, glazed, fried, cheesy, secret recipe, secret blend, etc. These are always laden with hundreds of extra calories and will make it extremely difficult for you to lose weight, excess fat, and have a leaner, healthier body. 

Not to mention, they’re often full of really unhealthy oils that promote inflammation in the body. The more you lower your intake of these things, the healthier you’’l be in general. 


The menu is never a limitation. If you’re not sure about something on the menu, just ask the waiter if they can clarify what’s in it or how it’s cooked. 

And, if there’s a meal you want that comes with something on the side that’s not ideal, just ask (nicely) if you can swap it out for extra veggies. Or ask for extra veggies if their portions don’t seem to be enough anyway. Even if you need to pay a few extra quid, it normally isn’t an issue and most places are happy to cater. 

Don’t worry about coming across awkward, or a difficult customer. Most people in the food service industry understand the different needs of individuals these days and are usually prepared to help and make their customers happy. 

Asking more questions might feel a little uncomfortable at first, but like any change, once you’ve practiced a few times, you’ll become a natural (and you’ll experience much better results for your body, too). 

3 – Be the Shepherd 

Chances are, you’re not eating out alone. And you need to acknowledge that if you’re prioritising your fitness goal, you’re a weirdo. 

Most people in the western societies are either overweight or obese. If you want a different result, you have to behave differently from the crowd (even if it starts with subtle changes). 

This often invites criticism. And a lot of people crumble at the pier pressure because they don’t want to stand out or cause an upset. 

Don’t be that guy. 

Remember, you can’t have better results by flocking with the herd. Stand your ground. Just ignore them.

But If someone in your company keeps pestering or singling you out for making different choices, try a more direct approach…

“Why is it important for you that I eat or drink what you want me to?” 

Or… “Listen mate, you need to let this go” 

They’ll soon get the picture. And eventually, it won’t be an issue and your crowd will get used to you being a little ‘different’, and they’ll be totally cool with it. 

Actually, take it from me… 

As long as you stand your ground and get through that phase, soon, some of them will be coming to you for health and fitness advice. This is my experience and I’ve seen it happend with lots of clients I’ve coached. 

If you want to be a healthier example for your kids or anyone else you care about, these are great opportunities. 

Be the Shepherd. 

Ok let’s summarise…

3 Principles for eating healthy at restaurants:

  1. Pick a healthier restaurant.
  2. 3 Magic Nutritional Principles (1. Lean proteins, 2. Veggies & fruits, 3. Slow digesting, high fiber carbs). 
  3. Be the Shepherd. 

Time to put it all into action. 

Let’s go!


PS – If you found this helpful, and know anyone else who might benefit from reading it, I’d massively appreciate it if you send this article their way.

About the Author Dean McMenamin

Dean McMenamin is an Army veteran, father, dog-lover and body transformation coach to every day men all over the UK & Ireland. He's also a big eater of ice-cream.

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