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CEDARBARK1 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (50)
Posts: 996
2/22/13 1:48 P

I've found, amazingly enough, if I go to a Panera's -- hey, the place's name is based on BREAD!) I can get a salad with enough satisfiying protein on it (I actually get the Chicken Cobb Salad, hold the chicken and put the salad dressing on the side) plus an apple that I am fine. You can tell them to hold any ingredient -- I suspect they'll hold the bread on the panini's if you ask them. And when they have salmon on their salads (not always) I'm happy!

But yes, this is a bread and potato world. I could deal with the occasional potato but all they ever seem to serve are those substitutes for cardboard: the deadly Russet/Idaho.

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
2/22/13 1:37 P

BUNNY, that's exactly it. Once you add it all up it actually costs less to eat higher quality food less often. I see people complaning sometimes about the cost of Chipotle, but for me, it costs me $7 to eat there (closer to $9 if I get a drink, which I usually skip unless I'm dragging ass and need the caffeine haha)... that's about the same as what it costs to get a McNugget meal at McDonald's.

I will say, occasionally, I do like to go out to breakfast at a greasy diner and get a big ol pile of pancakes, sausage, and a TON of home fries. :) Carb heaven.

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
2/22/13 1:34 P

As far as bread and potatoes goes - I haven't had a french fry since December 2012.

I thought i would miss them.

I actually.... don't!

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
2/22/13 1:32 P

"I don't eat out a lot at sit down places... but when I do go out I try to go to places that offer good quality food. It might cost a bit more than the chain type places, but I'd rather spend a bit more to get good quality, especially since I don't do it very often."

THIS is how I am now approaching "eating out."

I still have a bit of a mental barrier to paying, say, $15+ dollars for a sushi lunch (we have a really nice local sushi restaurant, really top quality, but darn do you pay for it!). HOWEVER when i do the math...

During my 5 day work week, I used to eat fast food a MINIMUM of 2x (probably averaging out to 3x, but i'll go conservative and say just 2). Average meal 8 bucks. Over a two week period - $32 spent on eating out.

New Me packs a lunch from home every day, treating myself to the Expensive Sushi only once every 2nd week (at most). So, even though one sushi lunch costs double what my old standby fast-food-chicken lunch cost per meal, I'm actually spending only half as much on "restaurant food." Over 2 weeks, one sushi lunch, $16. Savings over My Old Ways: $16! Now of course i have to consider the cost of the home-packed lunches I now bring in place of 3 trips to the chicken shack.... but 3 homemade lunches certainly doesn't cost me $16!

SO yes, even though I'm paying a lot more per meal on my "restaurant meals" my overall food bill has come down. The food i'm eating is much better quality. I enjoy it more. I am more satisfied. And I am consuming less calories, fat grams, sodium, and sugar. Win win win!

MUSCATDBQ SparkPoints: (3,450)
Fitness Minutes: (1,751)
Posts: 214
2/22/13 1:05 P

I've found local restaurants to generally (and yes there are exceptions) have better "healthy" options. I can name at least six locally that have both gluten free and vegan options. That said, you have to go to less traditional (and sometimes pricier) restaurants too.

There is a local bar and grill that serves everything with fries. You can substitute a side salad (which is nothing to crow about) for 1.75 more. Really? That annoys me enough that we no longer go to that particular place. It is annoying that healthier stuff is more expensive but it is that way at the grocery store too (at least at first glance).

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
2/22/13 12:55 P

The main reason is because bread and potatoes are cheap for the restaurateur to provide, but make patrons think they're getting a lot of food for their money ("perceived value"). That's why in breakfast deals they serve up lots of potatoes and bread, but stuff like meat and eggs is in much smaller quantities or costs extra. A basket of rolls or a half plate full of french fries doesn't cost them hardly anything to provide for dinner, but it makes patrons think they're getting a good deal since the meal "includes" bread or huge heaping piles of french fries. The general rule w/ restaurants is they want 1/3 of the costs to be food, 1/3 for labor, and the other 1/3 for owner gross profit (stuff like rents etc are taken out of the gross to result in the owners net profit). So, if they can keep the food cost at 1/3 or below, then that increases the profit.

I don't eat out a lot at sit down places (because most of them around me suck and I can make better food at home), but when I do go out I try to go to places that offer good quality food. It might cost a bit more than the chain type places, but I'd rather spend a bit more to get good quality, especially since I don't do it very often. I do eat at Chipotle once a week, because I enjoy the food they offer, and their business principles when it comes to sourcing the food, and how they treat their employees. I just skip the burritos and get a bowl instead :)

KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (82,009)
Fitness Minutes: (48,676)
Posts: 5,092
2/22/13 12:34 P

I agree with Miss Ruth - I think she put it perfectly.
I've found most restaurants to be pretty accommodating. Most of the time, I don't order white potatoes or fries with my meals, usually it's steamed veggies, and I ask for no butter. (One time, I ordered 2 sides of steamed veggies from Ruby Tuesdays, come to find out they were smothered with so much butter that I couldn't even taste the veggies. The next time, I asked for no butter on my veggies. Not a problem.)
It is frustrating when you don't want the fries/potato/bread/pasta (I always want the pasta though....mmmmm) and can't substitute it for something else without having to pay extra, but I think it's just a matter of finding good, quality restaurants that will accommodate healthy choices.
At the same time though, most people go out to eat to have good tasting food that they're not likely to/can't make at home. (This is the case for me.) For most people, fat, salt and sugar make food taste good. When I go out to eat, which is rare, I'm not overly concerned with how much fat/salt/sugar is in my meal because I want to enjoy it. I want it to taste good. I don't want to pay $25 for lightly seasoned grilled salmon and steamed veggies. I can easily make that at home for a fraction of the cost. Give me pecan-encrusted salmon, lightly fried with whipped sweet potatoes and grilled zucchini in a maple-butter sauce. (Favorite meal from my all-time favorite restaurant.)

Sorry, I just kind of rambled.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,300
2/22/13 9:45 A

Personally, I think it's better than it used to be. Depends a lot on what kind of restaurants you go to. Fast food is a lot of bread and potatoes and fried food. But most "sit down and be served" restaurants, especially the chain ones, now offer at least SOMETHING. We go out to eat now and then, and I've found plenty of choices that aren't served with breading or a white potato. Sure, they may plunk down a basket of rolls while we're waiting for our entrees to be served. But I don't have to eat it. I don't think I've had a white potato at a restaurant in..... IDK, maybe over a year. Sweet potato, yes. But no white potatoes in any form.

Used to be that it was hard to find nutritional info for a bunch of places. And finding a lower-cal section on the menu-- well only a couple places had one. But more and more places are doing it now. I think it depends a great deal on the customers-- if we rise up and ask for these things, if we order and eat and pay for, less white potatoes and more steamed vegetables, and more stuff that is grilled and not breaded and fried-- well restaurants are in the business to make money and will serve more of what sells.

I don't think restaurants have started becoming more "health conscious" because THEY think it's a good idea to push healthy choices at us. I do believe that whatever they've done, has been in response to what their customers have asked for. So, rise up and ask for it! Don't just order something breaded and fried, then scrape off the breading and not say anything. Ask if you can have it grilled instead. Even some fast food places are offering *some* healthier stuff-- apple slices instead of fries, for example. We can't expect them to lead the way-- if American consumers are truly willing to put their money where their mouths are, I do believe the restaurants will offer us what we're willing to pay for.

DIDS70 Posts: 5,368
2/22/13 9:18 A

feel your pain.
As far as sandwiches at restaurants, you may be able to ask for the innards of the sandwich and then some large pieces of lettuce. Either roll it in the lettuce or use the lettuce as your bread. I always bypass the bread basket. I also don't do potatoes of any kind from a restuarant as they are filled with butter and other fats (I don't eat canola, vegetable or corn oils- personal opinion is that they are bad for me) The only potato I may get from the restuarant is a baked one. There may be butter or oil on the outside of the skin, but I don't have to opt for the crap that goes on one.
I know some of the sub stores may take the innards of the bread out so at least you are not getting as much.
Unfortunately we live in a bread and potato world.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
Fitness Minutes: (15,905)
Posts: 9,717
2/22/13 9:11 A

Yeah, America is really obsessed with the potato. What bugs me is that it's a potato monoculture, too; it's ALL THE SAME POTATO! I've gotten to where if it's starchy and deep-fried, I won't eat it. Mostly because I'd rather have those calories elsewhere. The good thing is, more and more places are becoming conscious of these things, so it's a bit easier to get wheat breads.

The trick is planning ahead to find places that aren't so crap-centric. We get in ruts with the restaurants we go to. My favorite place, now, is a local British tea-room. THe portions are great, there are tons of healthy options, and nothing is fried. NOTHING.

BITHOO SparkPoints: (12,355)
Fitness Minutes: (3,359)
Posts: 423
2/22/13 8:46 A

I'm really frustrated that the entire American universe chooses to serve every meal between slices of bread or covered with bread crumbs or with bread alongside. Sure, I like really GOOD bread enough to enjoy it every now and then... but hamburger buns? packaged wheat bread? breaded chicken, shrimp, you name it? It seems crazy to have to BUY food with bread, and then pitch the bread in the trash -- but outside of salad options, few restaurants seem to offer lunches without at least two slices included...

And don't get me STARTED on breakfast "deals" that include hash browns and two pre-buttered slices of toast. Yes, you can order just ham and eggs, but it costs EXTRA!

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