“I can’t, I’m dieting,” she replies to a friend requesting to catch up over dinner at the new local restaurant. Do these words sound way too familiar? If you’re a fitness competitor or just someone who is trying to get in the best shape of your life, I'm sure you have said this once or twice before. It can be extremely hard to go out to eat at restaurants while trying to reach certain fitness and physique goals. It’s true that weeks out from a bikini show or competition it’s very important that food is measured out and held to a standard. I’d like to share some tips on how to dine out and stay on track with your health goals. It's socially healthy to go out every so often and engage in a normal dining experience. It’s also nice to not always be eating cold meals out of Tupperware. So get out, be social and enjoy a nice meal without falling off track and losing progress. A Few Tips For Dining Out: Protein: When selecting your meal, always choose a source of protein. Pretty much every restaurant has choices of grilled chicken, tilapia, salmon and steak. If something has a certain dressing or sauce on it, you don't want your meal drenched in it so simply ask for it on the side. You can then still enjoy it, but just dip your food into it sparingly. Don't just go for the salad option as your main meal. Salad is a great appetizer you can get so you don't over indulge during the rest of your meal, but make sure you fuel your body and those muscles with a good protein source. Veggies: What can I say, Popeye did get those guns from eating his spinach! Order a side of veggies, mixed veggies is my ‘go to’ vegetable option. I personally don’t like butter and opt out of it when it comes on my veggies. Restaurants love soaking veggies in butter for the taste. So what I do when ordering them to insure they just bring steamed veggies is I say I'm allergic. I then doctor them up with a little seasoning or pepper for taste if needed. People are much more likely to pay attention to detail and requests if someone says they have a food allergy and restaurants are always happy to accommodate special requests. So... go ahead and eat those veggies. Carbs: Carbohydrates are not the enemy. You should always make sure to be eating carbohydrates to give your body the proper energy. Don't forget about them when choosing meal options. Most restaurants will have baked potatoes and sometimes they will have sweet potatoes. If sweet potatoes are not an option a regular potato is a close second. They are both complex carbohydrates and your body will thank you for fueling it with proper energy. Now I'm not saying to get carried away and order the "super loaded cheesy bacon potato," just ask for a regular baked potato but make sure you get those carbohydrates on that plate. Hopefully these simple yet important tips will help you make healthy choices the next time you dine out. So put the Tupperware down and head out to a restaurant without losing track of your fitness goals. Train like a BEAST and EAT like a BEAST in order to BE a BEAST.