Restaurant Eating Guidelines

October 1, 2007 | Featured in the October 2007 Issue

Eating right in restaurants is as crucial as eating right at school or home. So next time you’re out, forget the shake and fries and heed restaurant eating advice from Jane Jakubczak, coordinator of nutrition services for the University of Maryland, College Park.

Pre-activity
Night before

Jakubczak recommends filling up with a balanced meal of carbohydrates and lean protein. The best restaurant carbs, which serve as food for your muscles, include rice, bread, couscous or pasta with marinara. Avoid cream-based sauces, like Alfredo, because they weigh you down, hindering your athletic performance.

For lean protein, go for roasted, baked or grilled items. Jakubczak says fish is a good choice, as well as barbeque chicken breast without the skin—a tasty alternative to grilled chicken and much healthier than fried chicken. Add a salad with dressing on the side so you can drizzle on just enough to make it palatable.

One thing you shouldn’t skimp on is water, because proper hydration on a daily basis is essential for optimal athletic performance. A recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that dehydration hinders shot accuracy and slows movement for basketball players.

Want something more flavorful to drink? Jakubczak suggests unsweetened iced tea or 100 percent fruit juice as good alternatives. Craving soda instead? Order diet. “It’ll give you some fluid without filling you up with a lot of sugar,” she says. Still, put it fourth on the list of beverages.

Finally, if you must indulge in dessert, Jakubczak advises, “the best thing to do is share with one of your teammates.”

Post-activity
30 minutes after

Post-activity fuel is especially vital if you’re playing in a weekend tourney, or if you have more intense training ahead. “Make sure to eat something as soon as possible, because this meal will be the resource to muscle rebuilding and recovery,” Jakubczak explains.

She says a recovery drink is the perfect way to start refueling, especially if you have to wait in a long restaurant line. Not only is it portable [just throw one in your gym bag], it’s an immediate way to reload your body’s glycogen stores. Drink one within 30 minutes of activity, because that’s the optimal recovery window.

Jakubczak recommends following that up with a protein-rich meal. If you’re at a fast food joint, chow down on a grilled chicken wrap or a lean hamburger, holding off on high-fat toppings such as bacon and extra cheese. Though cheese is a good source of calcium and protein, she warns it’s also high in saturated fat, like fried and batter-dipped foods.

Make sure to include carbs in your post-activity dish. If your burger comes with fries, Jakubczak suggests substituting a baked potato. Depending on your caloric needs, you can add fruit salad or a cup of chili. One third of the meal should be carb-rich foods and another third should be a fruit or vegetable. “You need the whole balance,” Jakubczak says.

Nutrition Totals*:

PRE-WORKOUT
Calories 970
Protein 65g
Fat 20g
Carbohydrates 100g
*For 6 oz. bbq chicken breast, 1C rice pilaf, 2C garden salad w/ 2 oz. balsamic vinaigrette dressing, 1 large dinner roll, 24 oz. unsweetened ice tea

POST-WORKOUT
Calories 840
Protein 44g
Fat 14.5g
Carbohydrates 137g

*For GNC Pro Performance Sports Smoothie Protein Drink, Wendy’s Jr. Hamburger, baked potato with broccoli

 

Must See
Why NFL Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Counts His Blessings
Views: 6,156,231
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,204,573
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 5,971,757

Featured Videos

A Day in the Life of NBA D-League Star Seth Curry Views: 68,738
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 8,003
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 2: Laying the Groundwork Views: 131,367
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Perfect Dwyane Wade's Signature Euro Step
Views: 1,308,758
What Ryan Hall Eats for Breakfast
Views: 795,255
STACK Fitness Weekly: How To Do a Muscle-Up
Views: 778,651
Greg Nixon's Hill Training Program
Views: 705,761
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,561,460

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How and Why to Eat Mindfully

Eat Mindfully A lot of what I focus on as a Registered Dietitian is not just what you are eating, but why and how you are eating. Sounds pretty simple-...

Eat Like a Champion, Part 2: How to Lose Fat Safely

3 Tips to Eat Healthy on a Budget

8 Recovery Foods Recommended by Sport Dietitians

What You Need to Know about Fats

Russell Wilson Wants You to 'Eat the Ball'

4 Endomorph Diet Strategies to Accelerate Fat Loss

Fuel Up for Soccer Like the U.S. Women's National Team

Why Every Athlete Should Drink Tea

12 Grab-and-Go High Protein Snacks

Cheerios With Quinoa: Coming Soon to a Grocery Store Near You

How to Turn Nutrition Goals Into Actions

Bone Broth Breakdown: Should You Eat This 'Super' Soup'?

Feed for Speed: 5 Foods and Supplements That Make You Faster

Macronutrients, Part I: Carbohydrates

How to Build a Meal Plan to Suit Your Body Type

Types of Yogurt: What's New and What's Best for Athletes

Surprising Muscle-Building Snacks

Are 'Healthy Chips' Really Healthy? 5 Popular Options Examined

Post-Holiday Chocolate Health Benefits

5 Changes Fast-Food Restaurants Are Making to Become Healthier

Why Your Gut Might Be the Most Important Part of Your Body

Simple Nutrition Tips for Faster Workout Gains

Halftime Snacks for Quick Refueling

Big Breakfast, Small Breakfast, No Breakfast: Which Is Best?

How 100 Pro Athletes Like Their Eggs

Are Chokeberries the Next Super Food for Athletes?

Fuel Your Performance with Peas

The Right Way to Gain Weight During the Off-Season

Is It Okay to Eat the Same Thing Every Day?

Game-Day Nutrition for Soccer Players

Why Chicken Soup Strengthens Your Immune System

Performance-Boosting Snacks with a Satisfying Crunch

How Can Zero-Calorie Diet Soda Be Bad for You?

Avoid Pigging Out: How to Conquer Food Cravings

Eat Like a Champion, Part 3: Post-Workout Nutrition

Study Ranks Paleo As Second-Worst Diet

The Nutrition That Powers Joe Thomas's Iron-Man Streak

What You Need to Know About Protein

Why Are People Drinking Charcoal?

The Soccer Tournament Nutrition Checklist