Many of our personal training clients struggle with staying on track with their nutrition goals when they are eating out. Having a meal prepared for us at a restaurant is convenient, fun, and can taste really good. But, doing so too much can make it a challenge to stick to your nutrition goals and see results.
Many restaurants use foods that are high in calories, carbs, and fats, but are not very filling. These types of foods are especially bad for fat loss, as they don’t fill you up for very long, but still pack a punch when it comes to calorie, fat, and carb intake. They typically leave you hanging in the muscle building department as well, as it can be tough to find nutrient dense sources of food with enough protein to support muscle growth. This makes it tough to find a healthy meal when out and about in Austin.
Even so, eating out with friends, family, and significant others is a huge part of our social lives. We all love sharing a meal with a friend, eating dinner with the family, or grabbing lunch with coworkers. It is simply not feasible to eliminate meals out entirely, even though some fitness fanatics recommend doing so.
Instead, we recommend you limit the meals where you can’t choose a healthy option, or better yet, go to a place that has options that make it easy to stay on track!
In this article, I am going to share 5 local Austin spots where you can get a great meal out, but still know what you are getting so you can stay on track with your nutrition goals.
To pick places, we looked for restaurants that have caloric and macro-nutrient info easily available to find. While not everyone counts their calories, having this info is very valuable when making healthy decisions. And for those that are tracking calories or macro nutrients, this info is essential. We also think it is important for places to be transparent about the nutrients in their food, in addition to the ingredients.
The next criteria that was important, was having a wide variety of healthy sources of foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and nutrient dense sources of fat and carbs. Many restaurants provide nutrient information, but nonetheless make it difficult to actually choose a healthy item as they have few choices that are actually nutrient dense and friendly for those trying to moderate their calorie intake.
For example, a place that lists calories, but doesn't have healthy options, wouldn't make the cut. While they are being upfront about the caloric and nutrient info, having too few nutrient dense or calorie friendly options is still problematic.
The last part of our criteria for selection was food allergy friendly places. For those with food allergies, or preferences to avoid meat, or dairy, or similar, it is important to have this info readily available as well. All of the selected spots are upfront about ingredients and provide options that fit a variety of dietary preferences.
1. True Foods
True Foods Kitchen has a location in North Austin and in downtown Austin. This place serves up a variety of delicious, gourmet, healthful food that you are sure to love.
It is upscale enough for a nice dinner date or a family dinner. We highly recommend it and it definitely deserves to be our number one pick! My favorite item is the Sea Bass, pictured left.
Next up is Modern Market. They have a location in downtown Austin as well. While not quite as upscale as True Foods, they have many great options.
Their protein bowls are especially good, and one of my favorites is the Grass Fed Steak, pictured to the right. This is a great place to grab a casual dinner or lunch with coworkers.
3. Sweet Greens
Sweet Greens has multiple locations, one on South Congress, one on Second St. and one on Guadalupe.
They are very similar to Modern Market; a great casual lunch or dinner spot. They have lots of tasty bowls as well as a few plates. I recommend the Chicken Pesto Parm, especially for post-workout.
If you are looking for healthy and casual, you won't be disappointed.
4. Mad Greens
Mad greens is a great casual salad and wrap spot with many healthy options available. One great thing about it is, you can customize your wraps exactly. So if you have unique tastes or dietary preferences, it is easy to put something together that works for you, and is delicious. I almost always get a custom wrap loaded with lean proteins and veggies.
5. Snap Kitchen
Snap Kitchen is the most casual place on our list. It is mainly a meal prep service, but they do offer some limited seating inside as well. You can pick from hundreds of fresh pre-made meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
It is best if you are wanting a meal prep service, OR if you are in a hurry and need someplace that will be fast. Instead of the P'Terrys drive through (no offense, love you Terry, you're just not the healthiest) you can stop in and get a healthy meal here just as quickly.
If you'd like help with your nutrition and exercise goals, we can help. Our trainers have nutrition certifications and can not only show you proper exercise form, but also help you develop healthy eating habits that will get you amazing results.
Give us a call or book your free Transformation session online (Available only at our Austin Texas location). At that session you will do a detailed consultation, a short workout, and then your trainer will put together a plan for you to achieve your goals. Click here to get started!