Aug 30, 2019
Robert Santana -- Starting Strength Coach, Registered Dietitian,
and Head Nutrition Coach for Barbell Logic Online Coaching --
returns to the podcast to talk about the "restaurant trap" and how
to avoid going off the rails next time you dine out.
Let's face it, eating out is a big part of American culture.
Restaurants serve as social hubs on the weekends and offer a bit of
reprieve from the daily work grind. Even supposedly "healthy"
restaurants are fraught with traps that can wreck your macros. With
a little planning and some basic strategies, however, you can
navigate any restaurant without letting it derail your
Below are some highlights from our conversation with Robert.
Restaurants are a trap
- Let's not beat around the bush. Restaurant food has higher
levels of salt, fat, sugar compared to home cooked
- These exaggerated flavors override our natural satiety signals,
making it easy to overeat.
- Fat is hidden in unexpected places: butter, oils, creams,
dressings all contain lots of fat.
- We tend to desire sweet flavors after savory/salty, and vice
versa, leading to overeating. Meals are often structured
accordingly: appetizer, bread/chips, main course, dessert.
Plan Your Menu Options
- Identify “safe” restaurant choices with reasonable menu options
— that way when you’re tired and decide to eat out, you don’t have
to think about what to order.
- Ask for steamed vegetables and sauces on the side.
- Double the vegetables on the side instead of ordering a starch.
LPT: more vegetables makes you have a fuller plate, so your dietary
choices seem less weird to your friend group who may not understand
or support your diet.
- Example of a tough restaurant, Texas Roadhouse: 6oz filet, one
roll with no extra butter, side salad dipping fork in dressing,
Over-estimate Your Calories
- Use the 50% Rule: assume you are getting double the calories
you need, so only eat 50% of the portions you order. Maybe even
less for high fat, high carb foods like pasta and desserts.
- Dip the butter and dressings, don’t slather it on. Dip your
fork in dressings, don’t pour the dressing on your salad.
- Simple ingredients — salmon, vegetables, rice — are easier to
estimate than complex dishes.
Know Some Common Food References
- Fist = 3oz portion protein
- If it’s shiny, don’t eat the whole thing. Probably oily, i.e.
high in fat.
Routine vs Special Occasion
- For most people, dining out should be a special occasion not an
- Don’t try to balance your macros at a restaurant — just follow
the basic strategies and stick to your routines and good eating
habits at home.
- If you know you are eating out, plan your meals accordingly.
Eat less during the day in anticipation of the big work dinner, for
Work on Your Food Prep Skills
- Trent's 5min food bowl: rice, big handful of chopped cabbage,
top with ground beef, and drizzle with a savory/spicy sauce like
soy sauce, sriracha, or chili sauce.
- Santana’s slow cooked oatmeal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eR5jV1-ijik
You can follow Robert Santana and his excellent nutrition tips
and diet hacks @the_robert_santana.
He also has a new gym that just opened in the Phoenix area! He
offers barbell training and nutrition coaching
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