If you’re going out to eat at a chain restaurant or fast food, typically you’ll be able to find the nutritional info online or in MyFitnessPal. But what do you do when you’re going out to eat at a local restaurant and have nooo idea what the calories are? You can search it in MyFitnessPal or online, but often times those logs from strangers can be way off.

If you are counting your calories for any reason, you’ll want to practice estimating/eyeballing. Once you get used to it, it becomes pretty easy to do. However, if you’re new to the game, estimating calories for a random food might feel impossible! If you order something like a salad, you can eyeball the ingredients and add those up relatively easily. But not all foods are so straightforward, and that’s where this little estimating game comes into play!

What I like to do is find the nutritional value of whatever I’m eating at different places (from the source directly), and then estimate based on that. Let’s take donuts, for example. If you go to a local donut shop and have no access to the nutritional info, check out Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme, who supply that info. These donuts range from 250-300 calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, log 300 calories, so that way the worse case scenario is you are overestimating and eating slightly less than you think. If you want to gain weight/muscle, log 250 calories to ensure you won’t undereat.

This is not an exact science, but finding a range will give you a great idea. In most cases, you’ll find that the range is not gigantic and you can estimate pretty accurately! And when in doubt, use the average of whatever it is you find!

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