Restaurants Do NOT Care About My Health

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I've been consciously avoiding restaurants of any kind lately. My daughter (aged 10) and I have been making SUCH AWESOME food at home, nothing seems to taste as good when we dine out!

For instance, we made chocolate souffles. Yep, the real deal. And they were AH-MAY-ZING. We made them tiny, in those little espresso cups, but ... wow.
We made homemade bread, from-scratch pierogis, raviolis, etc. It's been fun!

But one night, my hubs said, "Hey, we got a coupon for Champp's! Let's go!"
It's one of those sports bar/restaurants with tvs everywhere and lots of cheerful waitstaff.
I declined an appetizer and glass of wine, and stuck with Diet Coke (that in itself was a treat, since I've been off of soda for a few weeks).
We ordered:
Son: cheese pizza. Hubs: chicken strip basket. Daughter: grilled cheese. Me: shrimp fajitas.

I looked over all our dishes, and realized that 3 of 4 of us had NO veggies whatsoever on our plates. I had asked for extra pico, tomatoes, and lettuce, and so I at least had SOME color on the plate.

The food was ok. Not great, but fine. But we all felt odd afterwards, since we all had gotten used to veggies and non-fried foods. On the way home, we agreed that the meal we had just eaten could have been made MUCH BETTER at home, and we could have included all the 'goodies' (my son said that!) that we like. That would be the raw bell pepper slices, the corn and bean salsa, the whole strawberries, the brown rice.

Restaurants make their money on fast, easy food. Stuff that appeals to us as we walk in and smell it in the air. You don't generally walk in and sniff, and think, "ooh, I'm going to have some of THOSE BELL PEPPERS and GREEN BEANS!!"

There is no mom in the kitchen, telling the chef, "Hey! Don't you remember? Half the plate with veggies and fruit, 1/4 with good grains, 1/4 for protein! Sheesh! ANd I want to see some GREENS on there too!"
No, they don't. The only mom is me. I was appalled at the plates. I would NEVER serve that to my family at home. Maybe 1/2 grilled cheese, plus some awesome veg, or maybe a couple of BAKED chicken strips. But -- all by itself? With fries? BEIGE AND FRIED.
And truth? Ick. It feels nasty to eat that.

Note: that night, when we got home, they ended up eating fruit and yogurt after a few hours.

Remember: what a restaurant wants to serve you is NOT a good meal.
But what _I_ would serve you WOULD be.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sorry for reading this so late, I am really behind... but this is SO true. When I was on vacation last week, after only 3 days I was so sick of the choices (especially for my kids) at the restaurants. Hot dog, pizza, cheeseburger, mac n cheese. No veggies to be seen anywhere. When we got to my aunt's place in Maine, and she served us a SALAD it was an awesome TREAT!
    2429 days ago
    So ... when are you opening a restaurant?
    2431 days ago
    It's hard, but you can find a healthy restaurant meal choice, even at a pub-style chain. We go to Boston Pizza a fair bit, and I sat down recently with their menu and nutrition info online and have picked out 3 items I am willing to eat if we go out there. One of these is a spinach chef salad, with a light balsamic dressing, baby spinach, mushrooms, chopped egg (I always have them hold it because I hate egg on my salad), feta cheese and bacon. It's a HUGE portion and with egg it's 280 calories, so I eat even less. Very filling, very veggie happy. Their French Onion soup is a lot of sodium but rather low-cal, and since I never use salt at home, once in a while is not a problem for 370 calories. They even have a baked 7 cheese ravioli that's only 450 calories if you ditch the garlic toast on the side. Last time we went out, fiance and I split the ravioli and the toast and I had my salad and soup, and we took half the ravioli home anyway on purpose for another meal.

    Red Lobster is another place that's decent... Get the steamed broccoli for your side, skip the breaded and butter drenched seafood dishes, and you're set (if you don't eat all the biscuits... LOL).

    It's true though: most places do not give a flying you know what and don't use much fresh produce because it spoils and that's lost revenue.
    2433 days ago
  • KERLIN26
    Very very good points! I wish I lived close to you so I could try your souffle!
    2434 days ago
  • REJ7777
    emoticon Your eating-out experience shows how much both you and your family have improved your eating habits! I took my sister out to eat for her birthday a couple months ago. She's always been a healthy eater (and not overweight). Afterwards, I told her: "I'm so disappointed in that meal. It was so fat and greasy." She told me: "It's always been that way. You just didn't notice before." I used to eat out several times a week. Now I seldom do so, mostly when there's a special occasion or if some friends want to go out. What I make at home is so much tastier, healthier and cheaper!
    2434 days ago
    I agree 100%. All chain restaurants are feeding us garbage. I think a nice family run non-Pub style restaurant can give us a good meal, but not like at home. Last week, I took son to DQ for a treat. I hadn't had a treat in 10 days or so, and I ate a small plain cone and I felt WEIRD afterwards....like the sugar just was too much. It amazes me that we pack our bodies with such junk for so long and that we keep on doing it! There ought to be a law!
    2434 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/21/2011 4:31:04 PM
    Cheers! That is some awesome investigative work!!!

    2434 days ago
    amen and amen. The youngest and I are on a 3 week road trip and I have to resort to extortion to get vaugely healthy fare. And folks - I love me some dairy but what's up with the mountains of melted cheese product everywhere? I can't wait to get back to my kitchen. In the meantime, can we swing by your house? I'll gladly return the favor some day.
    2435 days ago
    what time is dinner???
    2435 days ago
    It's great that you're cooking healthy at home and your kids love it!!

    Usually at restaurants there are a couple of good meal choices to make as well as sides of veggies to order. There are some good guides to help in making the right choices and making dishes healthier. I'm guessing that the restaurant you went to didn't have many of those choices.

    Try these web sites for healthy dining out:

    Hope this helps. =]

    2435 days ago
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