Restaurant Calories: Soap box edition
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Ok – so I just ate lunch with a friend of mine. We went to Cheddar’s and it was YUMMO!
So, I get back to the office and thought I’d try to find out how I did with my “good choices” while I was there.
I had a spring salad with roasted pears and a balsamic dressing of some sort, had water to drink, and I totally gave in to those sinful honey croissants (oops, it happens).
Aside from the croissant, I’d have to say that this is a good healthy decision (yes, EVEN if the pears were roasted in… dunt-dunt-duhhhhhh… butter!) Why? Because it wasn't fried chicken and there were no french fries involved.
So, I Google “Cheddar's Nutritional Info” and what did I find? Not the info I was looking for… but a blog. Yes, a blog. Written several years ago – but OH the responses to this blog!
The author claimed to have eaten there and he and his wife very much enjoyed it, but they (sadly) would not be eating there again. Why? Because the nutritional information wasn’t available.
Now – I think that is fine. It is your own decision what you eat, where you eat and how you want to eat it. BUT, the responses were just down right comical!
The language… oh, the language! “Socially irresponsible”… “unhealthiness”… “will NOT be returning”… “TERRIBLE customer service”… “disrespectful”… these were the words used to describe this company for the simple reason that the fat/calorie content of the menu was not available.
It is all fine and good to not go to a restaurant because you are unsure about the calories and such… but to bash the company and declare that they should be boycotted and are socially irresponsible? I think not!
It is convenient that some restaurants do this – and it is important that we pay attention to what we eat. Did you catch that? That WE (WE, people, WE!!!) pay attention.
If you want to dine out, by all means do so. But, if you are doing so be aware of the “key words” (there’s a whole article on this here on Spark) to stay away from.
Salad sounds healthy but you can rack up the calories easily… forgo the cheese (personally I assume that all restaurant cheese is full fat cheese - they don't typically give up taste for "low fat" - it's a restaurant thing)… take it easy on the croutons… go with light dressing… or do the oil & vinegar dressing… or something you KNOW is oil based (as opposed to creamy).
It’s tricky and you probably won’t stay exactly within your calories… but eating a salad that has grilled chicken and slivered almonds (even if the calorie count does get a little high), is going to be far more nutritious than deep fried chicken fingers, with French fries and a quadruple layer chocolate cake for dessert.
One meal isn’t going to make you keel over! And Cheddar's (McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen or any other chain… fast food or otherwise) isn’t responsible for making us overweight.
Disclaimer: I'm NOT referring to food allergens. I think that food allergens should be listed. Gluten, soy, nuts, dairy… these things need to be listed because of obvious reasons (um... because if you eat a peanut and your face implodes... that doesn't sound fun and I don't want to sit with you any more).
The calorie and fat content – I think we can get a handle on that for a few of the sit-down "nicer" places.
Now, don't get me wrong... I do love the fact that McDonald's posts their content - because I do eat there sometimes... because it's helpful and convenient... because it MIGHT make me accountable that day... and because I can STILL make the decision to eat an 80 piece chicken nugget and a bucket of fries (with a DIET Coke, of course) even with the info right in front of me... knowing full well that a grilled chicken sandwich would be better for me (and I don't need numbers to know that - I'm just smart that way).
It's time for our society to get a grip. Yes - America is fat. But it didn't happen over night. It didn't happen during one magical meal that sent your calories and your sodium soaring to epic proportions. It's a steady diet of the bad stuff... it's a sedentary lifestyle... it's a build up of bad decisions... it's poor genetics for some... it's the lack of nutritional/physical education... it's stress... it's a combination of ALL of these things...
But I assure you... it's NOT because Cheddar's didn't post their nutritional information.