Text image: Choosing the healthy dining out option

Choosing the Healthier Option When Dining Out

awareness calorie deficit calories diet flexible dieting food indulgence knowledge macros mindfulness Jan 28, 2022

When it comes to deciding what to eat when dining out, are you really choosing the “healthier” option?

Often we think we’re choosing healthier options but have no idea what the calorie or macro content is of those options. While some menus list the number of calories in a dish, many don’t, so we have to either guess (not the best idea, especially if you’re trying to lose fat) or look it up on the restaurant's website or a database such as MyFitnessPal. 

It’s Coach Laney here to guide you through the nutritional content of food while dining out and help you decide what the healthiest option is for you. 

Choosing the healthier option while dining out

Just because you’re in a diet phase doesn’t mean you can’t eat out. In fact, at
KJO Coaching, we’re all about teaching our clients how to incorporate all foods into their diet as part of a sustainable healthy lifestyle. This means having cake at a birthday party, a glass of wine at dinner, or eating out at a restaurant. 

So when it comes to dining out, we’ve found that many people choose a meal because they think it’s healthier than what they actually want. You might be surprised, though, because many times, what you think is the healthier option (e.g. the salad) has just as many (or more!) calories as the food you want but aren’t ordering (e.g. the burger). 

For example, which would you choose for a healthier option at Red Robin:

Sweet Potato Fries or Steak Fries?
Tavern Burger or a Chicken Caesar Salad?

Here are the calories and macronutrient breakdown for each, and they might come as quite the shock:


Sweet potato fries 

Steak fries

460 calories

434 calories

59g carbs

61g carbs

23g fat

18g fat

6g protein

6g protein


Tavern burger

Chicken caesar salad

650 calories

657 calories

29g carbs

13g carbs

22g fat

48g fat

24g protein

34g protein

These pairs have almost the same calorie content! Now, I’m not saying that eating any of these foods is bad or that you shouldn't try to eat the healthier, more nutrient-dense option, but I am pointing out that if you want that Tavern burger, you can get the Tavern burger.

Of course, I will 100% always advocate for choosing nutrient-dense, healthy foods. BUT if your goal is fat loss, you need to be aware of the calorie/macro content of those foods (I mean, look at the difference in the fat content between the burger and caesar salad).

Look into the nutrition of your food

I cannot say this enough,
read the nutrition label!! Or type the foods into a database such as MyFitnessPal. Just because sweet potatoes are technically more nutrient-dense than regular russet potatoes DOES NOT always mean they have fewer calories.

When you get into the habit of looking into the nutrient content of your food, you might be surprised at how many calories are in foods you’ve been eating because you thought they have fewer calories. If you haven’t been losing fat and thought you’ve been in a calorie deficit, this might be why. 

You have to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat (along with many other factors, i.e. sleep, water, stress, exercise etc.). Just remember, a food can be nutrient-dense but also calorically dense. You have to consider both macro content and calories when choosing your food. At the end of the day, if you want to lose fat, your calories have to be in check. 

This is why we often use macro-tracking as a way to help our clients lose fat and learn more about what foods work best for them. Understanding the nutrient content of food is your best bet for long-term success and transitioning away from tracking macros to a sustainable healthy lifestyle. 

Are you interested in learning more about the basics of nutrition and tracking macros? Check out our 4 Week Fit Foundations DIY course! You’ll learn the basics of protein, fats, and carbs as well as how to create workouts to fit  YOUR goals. 

You can also apply to work 1:1 with our stellar team of coaches who will create a customized plan to help you prioritize your health, fitness, wellness, and mindset so you can spend less time worrying about what to eat or how to get workouts in and spend more time living a life you love.


This may not be the only reason you aren’t losing weight, but it is common. Some (many) people actually need to increase their food intake before entering a fat loss phase. Also, factors such as sleep and stress play a huge role in fat loss.


Connect with us!

Email: [email protected]

IG: @coach.laney @kjocoaching


Hi, I'm Kasey!

I coach, mentor, write, and teach with one main focus: Build strong bodies and healthy lifestyles, starting with your mindset.


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