First and foremost, if you are using myfitnesspal (which is what I recommend to all of my clients) then you are dealing with a database with MILLIONS of restaurants. If you are going to a restaurant that is even a chain in one city, it'll probably still be in there so first type in the restaurant name in the search bar and see if it comes up.
If the restaurant is in myfitnesspal
Step 1: Plan ahead
Most of the time, friends and family will claim the restaurant that they are going to far in advance and that makes things really easy. You just get on google, and all restaurants are required to give nutritional values for all of their meals. Look through the different meals. Normally, there is a healthy choice area of restaurants but if not, no fear. No one should have macros so low that they couldn't work around this and just adjust for the rest of the days carbs or fats.
If you have been wanting a steak, get a steak. You can just have less olive oil/peanut butter later.
Step 2: Allow room in your day.
Most likely, you aren't going to be going out to eat a lot if you are doing flexible dieting. It's just easier and you get more food if you eat at home so if you are going to be going out to eat, then you should put that meal into myfitnesspal at the beginning of the day and then you can work your other meals around those numbers.
Step 3: Get a salad.
It's not that big of a deal to get a salad. If you are following flexible dieting then you know you can fit some amazing creations for yourself when you get to the house and sometimes it's just easy to not get crazy and just get a grilled chicken salad. I do this quite often and then I go home and make a huge pile of pancakes ;)
If the restaurant is not in myfitnesspal (I get asked a lot if I would still go...uhh DUH! This is flexible dieting therefore you are flexible with where you can go so YES! Go!)
Step 1: Obviously, don't go buck wild. Don't think that your day is ruined just because you are going somewhere with no macro information. There are always healthier choices.
Step 2: Pick something that you think would be the best fit for your macros. If the restaurant does not have information, I always go with the safer options.
Step 3: Get a salad. Haha! Again, I do this quite often as it's just easier to know that you are getting something good. You don't leave miserable and mad that you HAD to eat the bad food. Only you care what you eat, no one else really cares, so get what makes you happy mentally and physically.
So how to calculate that?
Step 1: Put your thinking cap on. Think about the size of what you are actually eating.
Step 2: Chart generics into myfitnesspal.
I normally do this while I'm sitting at the table if I'm with my husband. If I get a salad, then yes, I count vegetables. I'm not going to just be like "oh I just had chicken" so if I had a garden salad then I would enter "2 cups lettuce, 1/2 cup cucumbers, 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, 1/4 cup purple onions, 2 tablespoons cheese"
You can of course get salads with or without cheese. I never get dressing. Not worth your time or macros.
If you have something different than a salad, then this is what I do. For example: I went to a diner and I got an egg white omelet with veggies, turkey bacon and home fries. This is annoying but this is what I did:
I looked and thought "thats probably only one piece of turkey bacon." I also thought "If I cooked an omelet, how many eggs would that be" (Tanner and I actually play this game a lot). "These home fries probably were cooked in oil so I need to account for that"
So this is what I entered:
3 egg whites
1/4 cup mushrooms
1/4 cup green peppers
2 tablespoons sweet onion
1 piece turkey bacon
1/2 cup Homefries-generic will come up and I look at a couple of options. I pick the one that has the most carb and most fat
The options for homefries didn't have any fat in them. I knew that was wrong just using my brain knowing they cooked it in oil so I added 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Many times, Tanner and I have gone to get cheesecake. Again, some places have information listed. If not, I go in ounces. We brought a piece home one time and I weighed what an ounce looked like for kicks and giggles. Yea, cheesecake is DENSE and heavy. But it works now because now I know what an ounce looks like. So, I can have cheesecake and guess how many ounces I had and chart for it.
This is not obsessive. This is having cheesecake while reaching my goals and who the heck doesn't want that. So many people will "judge" those counting macros because they think counting is consuming and that you couldn't possibly do it if you weren't obsessive. NO. NO. NO. They will just either 1) not eat the cheesecake or 2) Eat the entire piece of cheesecake and talk about the starvation no carb no fat diet they are doing next week where they don't eat anything essentially. That was exaggerated but you get the point. HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO!!
I hope this helps you to allow yourself to eat out more and always to enjoy life a little more free!!