The reason I have been blogging more about snacks and eating out is because those are the things that befuddle people the most. The reality is that you need to be able to have options when you can’t prepare your food at home. Once again this post is going to be somewhat controversial because it doesn’t fit everyone’s “diet of exclusion” paradigm. I don’t believe in diets of exclusion but if that is something that is important to you then hopefully this post can help a bit.
Also before I start this is not what I eat on a day to day basis, I eat this stuff occasionally. All of it has some pitfalls but every example I use can be helpful related to a varied diet.
Yes you might have to deal with some soy and no you can’t typically control the oils they cook with. Here is my suggestion to you, try a few places and ask questions related to your preference but don’t avoid the other places. This is why I am making this point, stir fry is available a lot more than you think, if you get overly weird about the oils and sauces you are going to find yourself hungry a lot more than you would if you just sucked it up and looked for a better spot in the future. A few bad oils and some soy/sodium probably isn’t what got you fat in the first place so allow yourself some leeway. The goal is progress, not perfection.
The picture I will show is from a Mongolian Grill near my house. You might not have a lot of luck with the oils they cook your meals in but it’s relatively cheap.
Sauce primer, go hot, you are pretty much stuck with soy/sodium so at least try and control the sugar content of your meal. When you eat with a good amount of veggies and meat you rarely get a super “spicy” meal. So that’s one tip, the hot sauces have less or no sugar.
Also go to places where you can control the amount of sauce if possible. Certainly you can ask the server for less sauce but cooks don’t typically like you changing their recipes all that much. Less sauce to you might mean something different to them as well. So keep that in mind. Most Mongolian Grills allow you to choose your sauces and amounts.
Choose White Rice for evening meals
If you are on a performance diet (everyone should be at least a bit right?) I have said before that I think you should add white rice to the mix occasionally (I do it about once a week). I vary the amount of white rice I eat depending on workout days. Monday is typically my heaviest day so I eat a good amount of white rice the night before. I definitely like doing white rice the night before heavy days. When I say heavy day I mean just that, lifting for a one rep max. All of the other days I would just ask for less rice and if they don’t accomodate I don’t sweat it. Life’s too short to freak out on some server who wasn’t even the person that put your food on the plate. Lose everything you ever thought you knew about calorie restriction unless you are a body builder or you are fighting Manny Pacquioa next week. The rest of us are taking a more gradual approach.
For mid day meals I like to keep rice out of the mix as a way of keeping fat burning high.