2
MIN READ
Eating out 101: Tips for choosing the healthiest dishes
Ways to navigate eating out so that it doesn’t become a setback.
Written by
Dan Cable
Medically reviewed by
Dan Cable
Last updated
April 3, 2024

We’ve kicked off diet diaries for the most recent Compound cohort that we’re onboarding and there’s a consistent theme that eating out at restaurants is a key feature of our modern lifestyles but is also perceived as a massive barrier to our health — the internal conflict is real.

Sure, a restaurant’s primary incentive is to please you — often through our primal tastebuds for fat, carbs, and sugar — but there are smart ways to navigate eating out so that it doesn’t become a setback to all the momentum we form in other parts of our lives.

Here's how to approach it.

Plan ahead

There are a few things you can do to plan ahead for dining out. For starters, to avoid coming in hot with a raging appetite, which can lead to over-ordering and downing lots of bread, have a healthy snack in the afternoon

Secondly, consider having a quick scan of the menu online as this can help avoid impulse ordering when deciding on the spot when your focus is on conversation.

Smart starters

  • Fish: Raw (crudo, ceviche, sashimi, etc) or cooked (octopus, grilled calamari, etc)
  • Meat: Raw (tartare, carpaccio, etc) or cooked (skewers, shish kebab, tataki, etc)
  • Veggies: Tomato salad with burrata (skip the bread)

Mains

  • Whole protein: Grilled, baked, or barbecued whole meat, fish, etc
  • Sides: Always get a green salad and carefully select other micronutrient-dense vegetable sides (a good heuristic is to skip anything with potato in it)

Dessert

  • Skip altogether: Avoid the double-whammy of pleasure-oriented meals while also spiking blood sugar and signalling (via insulin) your body to store the calories consumed
  • Moderate: If we must (we can’t always deprave ourselves) then share a single dish among the table so that you limit the sweet stuff to a spoonful or 2

Alcohol

  • Skip altogether: Avoid the double-whammy of ordering/eating tipsy (unleashing every impulse and desire) while also diverting the liver away from processing calories in pleasure-oriented meals and compounding fat storage (perhaps the pleasure of it too if we’re honest)
  • Moderate: If we must (let’s be realistic) then consider alcohol as an accompaniment to the meal only; wait until entrees are served to avoid drinking on an empty stomach (dampening blood sugar spikes and delaying disinhibition cravings are blunted)

Deal with it realistically

Earn it

If eating out often is unavoidable (for work or entertainment), create an allowance for the number of meals per week that are pleasure-driven and be accountable to the healthy actions to earn it across the rest of the week.

Pay for it

Do a HIIT or a strength workout on the day of the booking so that your body and metabolism are better primed to process calories.

Process it

Go for a walk afterwards to improve blood sugar regulation, burn some of the calories consumed and improve sleep quality after a big meal (often later than normal).

General tips

  • Don’t hesitate to ask for alterations; it’s a big unlock
  • Skip bread and chips as a force factor to find healthier (and more interesting) options
  • Nail the starters to set the tone for the rest of the meal (momentum is everything)
  • It’s important to enjoy the experience as it is a restaurant after all but it’s also important to maintain momentum in our goals for healthy nutrition as the foundation of great health

Navigating menus can be complex so we offer a concierge service to our members to pre-review menus and make suggestions for upcoming bookings.

Compound is a digital clinic for performance health, for men. Once the exclusive domain of billionaires and Hollywood stars, we're on a mission to make premium concierge care accessible to every man who wants more.

We are integrating diagnostics (bloodwork, scans, etc), treatment (medication, supplementation), performance programming, and support (coaching, accountability, care) — wrapped around a growth mindset.

This post contains general information about health and wellness practices. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be treated as such. Please consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new health regimen. This information is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

We’ve kicked off diet diaries for the most recent Compound cohort that we’re onboarding and there’s a consistent theme that eating out at restaurants is a key feature of our modern lifestyles but is also perceived as a massive barrier to our health — the internal conflict is real.

Sure, a restaurant’s primary incentive is to please you — often through our primal tastebuds for fat, carbs, and sugar — but there are smart ways to navigate eating out so that it doesn’t become a setback to all the momentum we form in other parts of our lives.

Here's how to approach it.

Plan ahead

There are a few things you can do to plan ahead for dining out. For starters, to avoid coming in hot with a raging appetite, which can lead to over-ordering and downing lots of bread, have a healthy snack in the afternoon

Secondly, consider having a quick scan of the menu online as this can help avoid impulse ordering when deciding on the spot when your focus is on conversation.

Smart starters

  • Fish: Raw (crudo, ceviche, sashimi, etc) or cooked (octopus, grilled calamari, etc)
  • Meat: Raw (tartare, carpaccio, etc) or cooked (skewers, shish kebab, tataki, etc)
  • Veggies: Tomato salad with burrata (skip the bread)

Mains

  • Whole protein: Grilled, baked, or barbecued whole meat, fish, etc
  • Sides: Always get a green salad and carefully select other micronutrient-dense vegetable sides (a good heuristic is to skip anything with potato in it)

Dessert

  • Skip altogether: Avoid the double-whammy of pleasure-oriented meals while also spiking blood sugar and signalling (via insulin) your body to store the calories consumed
  • Moderate: If we must (we can’t always deprave ourselves) then share a single dish among the table so that you limit the sweet stuff to a spoonful or 2

Alcohol

  • Skip altogether: Avoid the double-whammy of ordering/eating tipsy (unleashing every impulse and desire) while also diverting the liver away from processing calories in pleasure-oriented meals and compounding fat storage (perhaps the pleasure of it too if we’re honest)
  • Moderate: If we must (let’s be realistic) then consider alcohol as an accompaniment to the meal only; wait until entrees are served to avoid drinking on an empty stomach (dampening blood sugar spikes and delaying disinhibition cravings are blunted)

Deal with it realistically

Earn it

If eating out often is unavoidable (for work or entertainment), create an allowance for the number of meals per week that are pleasure-driven and be accountable to the healthy actions to earn it across the rest of the week.

Pay for it

Do a HIIT or a strength workout on the day of the booking so that your body and metabolism are better primed to process calories.

Process it

Go for a walk afterwards to improve blood sugar regulation, burn some of the calories consumed and improve sleep quality after a big meal (often later than normal).

General tips

  • Don’t hesitate to ask for alterations; it’s a big unlock
  • Skip bread and chips as a force factor to find healthier (and more interesting) options
  • Nail the starters to set the tone for the rest of the meal (momentum is everything)
  • It’s important to enjoy the experience as it is a restaurant after all but it’s also important to maintain momentum in our goals for healthy nutrition as the foundation of great health

Navigating menus can be complex so we offer a concierge service to our members to pre-review menus and make suggestions for upcoming bookings.

Compound is a digital clinic for performance health, for men. Once the exclusive domain of billionaires and Hollywood stars, we're on a mission to make premium concierge care accessible to every man who wants more.

We are integrating diagnostics (bloodwork, scans, etc), treatment (medication, supplementation), performance programming, and support (coaching, accountability, care) — wrapped around a growth mindset.

This post contains general information about health and wellness practices. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be treated as such. Please consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new health regimen. This information is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

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