T Nation

Restaurant Food Fear


I've gotten to the point where I don't even like going to restaurants because I don't know what they are serving me. I've been trying to make all of my own meals at home but I do need some alternatives every now and then.

1)Where does everybody go out to eat and what do they order?

2)What do you make for quick meals?

3)Does anybody else in here shy away from restaurants altogether?

Any information would be helpful.



Yah I'm with you here, even when it's a cheat meal, biggest problem is no one serves sizable protein portions. I order pizza about once a month, and if I ever go out it's usually for sushi since it's just fish and rice. I know what you're saying about not knowing what they're serving you, I always wonder how much oil, fat and other crap they actually put in.
I only cook twice a week now, just barbeque chicken breats and a batch of extra lean ground beef, along with a bag of frozen veggies and batch of brown rice, last me 3 to 4 days and can just nuke in the micro and go.
Other than that shakes, yogurt, fruit, nuts and occasional protein bar.


My wife and I have the same issues with going out to eat. The only places we really go anymore are steak houses, where I can get a a salad bar, and say veggies for sides.

Breakfast is probably the one thing I will never go out for. I never thought about it until I was ordering eggs one morning at my work cafeteria. I happened to order an egg\egg white omellette, and watched as they proceeded to pour some type of oily substance on the grill before making it. I asked the cook why he thought I would want him to use an unkown fatty oil to fry my eggs when I'm ordering whites. I've also seen this happen when people order egg beaters, LOL. Go figure.

From that day on I started bringing all of my own food to work. Hence, I have the same issues when I go out. You never know how they are making something "in the back".


Are you competing any time soon? Then who cares. You can certainly eat out sometimes. At decent restaurants they will prepare food according to your specifications. Get a salad and ask for a vinaigrette dressing or some olive oil and vingar. Order roasted chicken as an entree. Get fish. Ask how it's prepared. Drizzled with olive oil and baked is always good. And it's not like the occasional 'bad' meal is going to hurt you. Even Berardi goes by a 90-10 rule.


You don't have to eat it all...


My favorite quick/fast food is from a chain called La Salsa.

I get the steak caesar salad, with double the steak and no dressing. Instead of the dressing, I load it up with pico de gallo.

Its a great quick meal


I know this is probably not what most people think would be a good idea, but I really think that buffets are a great way to control what you eat. Amercian stlye buffets are the best, not Chinese or Pizza or other specialty ones. You can physically inspect the food before you put it on your plate, and you can load up on the good stuff (veggies) without the extra crap and still have a decent size meal.

It's a great way to avoid the dreaded "I'm on a diet" conversation with anyone that wants to accompany you, as you can actually eat there. I use this tactic a lot when my in-laws come into town, as they are big eaters. We can go there, I get my little plate of roasted chicken, vegetables, and the occaisional cheat item, they eat till they burst and everyone's happy. Just learn to control your portions and you're golden.

For real restaurants, you can't beat Applebee's or Chili's. They have some decent low cal healthy-ish meals. Especially for someone like me that hates all forms of lettuce.

Hope this helps. I'm in the same boat as you, but restaurants are doable without hurting your goals, or your self-esteem.


I try to find a place where I can get an 8-ounce steak, plain baked potato, and a salad with no dressing. Or you could try sushi and rice, or a roasted chunk of chicken, or thinly sliced turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomatoes, or a grilled fish of some type.

Use your imagination and don?t be terrified that one meal will make you obese (It usually takes two poorly designed meals back to back for you to get really fat). If you?re getting ready for a competition, you really need to strictly adhere to your diet. If you are just trying to lose some fat or maintain, allow yourself some flexibility and enjoy life a bit.


I'm actually going to get a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, large fries and a 6 piece McMugget for lunch right now. Thats my quick meal!


You're going to go light on the ketchup right? :slight_smile:


No but I did get a diet coke!


I definitely don't go out to eat healthy, sure they prolly cook the fish in a bunch of oil, unless steamed, but who wants to pay good money for that? I can make that at home.


There's nothing wrong with oil. There are healthy oils. Who doesn't want to pay money for that? Healthy food tastes good when made right. Sometimes better than unhealthy food. I doubt your food tastes as good as that of a high-quality restaurant. But maybe I'm wrong.


I rececently started working at a cajun/seafood restauraunt called "cocodrie's." I work in the kitchen so i know basically how everything is prepared. It's not too high of a class restauraunt but nicer than most.

I too have a fear of how my food is prepared at restauraunts without my knowing and the first day at work i seen a lot of frying and greasy grilling going on so i didnt even touch any of the food.

But to my suprising they were using extra virgin olive oil for grilling as far as wiping the grill down and using it for non stick purposes. As for the fried food, they used a high quality canola oil instead of vegeatble or peanut oil. I was pretty impressed to know that they were using finer ingredients to make the food so every now and then i snag me a shrimp or two or a piece of grilled chicken without feeling like im putting complete garbage in my mouth.


Chipotle. Salad, guacamole, extra meat, salsa. Low carb, high protein, good fats. Can't go wrong.

P.S.: Also look for Quedoba. They're a very similar chain restaurant.


LOL have you guys seen the movie "Waiting". Hilarious. Word to the wise, don't fuck with the people who serve you youre food. Ryan Reynolds was in dam good shape in that flick as well.


Texas Roadhouse. Anywhere from 8 oz to something huge for a steak, veggies, salad, and other goodies. Plus there are buckets of peanuts all over for eating (and throwing). Gotta love the place.


Being a chef myself I can understand your concerns. When ordering let the server know your concerns or if their not to busy ask to speak to the chef directly. It is our job to make sure that the food tastes good and the customer is happy. I deal with all types of health concerns and food allergies on a daily basis.

Find a restaurant you like become friendly with the staff and the chef and you will be amazed at what will be done for you. But make sure you tip your server a little extra or from experience your needs will eventually go unnoticed.

Also if your needs are extreme eat during off peak hours that way the chef will have time to meet your needs.