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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.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Nicely said!
    1850 days ago
    Very well said. Good Blog!

    We are responsible for our own food choices.
    1866 days ago
    Well said!
    1867 days ago

    Hi! Just a shout out to congratulate you!

    -You are the recipient of the Beautiful Woman Award!!

    "Once you've been given this award, you have to paste it on the page of 8 women who deserve it. If you receive more than 3, you know you're really beautiful! If you break the chain, nothing will happen, but it's always good to know someone thinks you're beautiful inside and out!"

    Again, Congratulations Beautiful!

    Thanks for spreading a little beauty, love, friendship, and so much sunshine into my life!

    SP Hug
    1867 days ago
    You can always ask to have some of the ingredients omitted from a dinner or use a calorie guide to determine the full amount. Some people just like to blame others for their bad eating choices. emoticon emoticon
    1875 days ago
    I would not have said what you did any better. We must take responsibility for our bad eating and not blame the restaurant or the food. It does not take a genius to see the fat in most foods.

    Hope you are doing well on our journey! As always your blog is very enlightening! emoticon
    1875 days ago
    BRITTTURTLE, it's nice to see an "opposing" opinion as well.

    While its very nice to have the information available - I do understand why it isn't for all restaurants. As I understand it, if anything changes or if the nutritional information isn't exactly 100% perfect the company could easily face a law suit. As a business owner I wouldn't do it either.

    I don't think the anger and the disrespect that was thrown around (in the blog i was referring to) was warranted though.

    You're right that most Americans don't know what to eat but I don't think the numbers next to a Big Mac verses the numbers next to a Grilled McChicken sandwich away those people either.
    1877 days ago
    I'm Australian. I was in the US earlier this year and was SO surprised (and impressed) at the nutritional information available on SO many things. I thought it was a teeny bit over the top, but you know what, it stopped me from buying many a treat, because the number of calories was staring right at me.

    We don't have that here. I think McDonalds has started putting the calorie content on their menu boards, but they're about the only ones.
    1878 days ago
    Amen, sister!!!! The fact that the Government insists on getting involved in everyone's private life is despicable! It's not like you don't know burgers and fries will make you fat. Do any of us on this site wake up one morning and say, "Wow, how did I get here?" We all know when we make a poor choice.
    It's all about personal responsibility.
    Thank you for posting this!
    1878 days ago
    Common sense is not that common. I have made a conscious decision not to go to a restaurant because they did not have nutritional info available but that was because I either was low on available calories or I had endulged earlier that day or week and needed to nit-pick each calorie, but I have never boycotted a restaurant for that. I may decide to go there for my cheat meal and even then I just use common sense to narrow down what I am going to eat. Obviously, saucy, cheesy things are going to be much higher in calories and fat than grilled items. But some people don't want to think or wok hard in this process. That same laziness is probably what made them fat in the first place.
    1878 days ago
    Love your blog. Whether the nutritional information is there are not we are ultimately the ones who make the choices of what we are eating. Even the dimmest light in the room knows basically what is a good choice and what is a bad choice so to call the restaurant irresponsible and disrespectful just demonstrates lack of general knowledge on that diners part. Either that or he was trying to blame his bad choices on someone else to make him feel better about the choices he made!! emoticon
    1878 days ago
    I actually believe that all restaurants should give nutritional information. The sad fact is that most Americans know little about nutrition or what to actually eat. We assume something like a salad is healthy then learn with all the add-ons it may have more calories than a burger. However, you are right. It is a choice where we eat. I just use my voter dollars at restaurants that have nutritional choices and info!
    1878 days ago
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