Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Nutritional facts on menus can be tough to swallow

  1. #1
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    13,468

    Default Nutritional facts on menus can be tough to swallow

    Nutritional facts on menus can be tough to swallow -- latimes.com
    No longer can you enjoy your favorite meals at chain restaurants without having the calories and fat content shoved in your face -- a new requirement in California.

    Sandy Banks
    August 15, 2009

    It was the sort of sticker shock that could make an innocent diner nauseated.

    I'd ordered my usual IHOP special -- Swedish crepes, with a dollop of lingonberry butter and jelly -- and was feeling virtuous as my daughter tried to choose between an omelet and a stack of pancakes.

    Then we discovered the menu's newest addition: detailed nutritional info.

    What a revelation to discover that my four thin crepes had more calories than my daughter's stack of strawberry pancakes, bacon, eggs and hash browns.

    In fact, I could have stuffed myself with a "Philly Cheese- steak Super Stacker" and had calories left over.

    If you haven't eaten out recently, you may not know it, but last month California became the first state to require nutritional labeling to accompany chain restaurant menus.

    That means it's easier to make healthful dining choices when you eat out. And harder to enjoy the foods you used to love, once you know how many calories, carbs, grams of saturated fat and milligrams of sodium you're scarfing down.

    ::

    I know I should appreciate the information, but I don't consider dining out an educational excursion.

    I'm not sure I want to know that my favorite dessert uses up an entire day's calorie allotment, or that the Cajun-coated salmon I like is not coating my arteries with protective fish oil, but emptying a salt shaker into my mouth.

    With all those calories lurking in such innocent places, I can't open a restaurant menu without hearing the theme song from "Jaws."

    And my choice is no longer between a cheeseburger and a Cobb salad, but whether I want my hips to spread or my blood pressure to rise.

    To help me navigate the new information, I invited dietitian Joan Levinthal to lunch. A former dance instructor, Levinthal has spent years providing menu guidance to restaurants and hospitals and counseling patients on weight loss in her Woodland Hills office.

    She loves the idea of menu labeling, of course. "The reason this is good is that people have a chance to see what they're eating," she said. "When the consumer knows what they're choosing, you can make a better choice."

    But she also understands the symbolic value of food in our lives and the sensitivity of our choices. She once tried to promote "a healthier Thanksgiving dinner" in a newsletter to hospital employees -- pumpkin pie is better than pecan; skip the cranberry sauce with your turkey breast; have either macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes, not both.

    The response? "Everybody came down on me," she said. "They didn't want me to spoil" the holiday.

    That's the reason people like me are recoiling at the new menu labels. "They don't want to face it," she said. "They say, 'I'm paying for this. I want to enjoy it. It ruins it to know how much I just ate.' "

    Restaurants, sensitive to the glare of public calorie-counting, are beginning to adjust their menus, she said -- adding special sections of "spa meals" and "lite bites," and purging embarrassingly rich selections.

    I suspect that's what happened to my favorite dessert, which suddenly disappeared last spring from Macaroni Grill's menu.

    But the Dessert Ravioli, with its "crumbled peanuts, caramel, rich chocolate ganache, wrapped in golden fried pastries, served with vanilla ice cream and topped with caramel sauce" would be worth every one of its 1,630 calories and 1,150 milligrams of sodium if I could order it again.

    At Mimi's Cafe, I followed Levinthal's lead, ordering the "petite citrus salmon with field greens and strawberries." It had 448 calories and 290 milligrams of sodium.

    While we ate, Levinthal offered advice for healthy restaurant eating: Skip sandwiches on ciabatta bread, too much fat and butter, she said. Always get dressing and sauce on the side, and dribble it on your food drop by drop. Stay away from anything labeled "crispy;" it is probably loaded with oil from being fried.

    I nibbled my way through a basket of muffins as I took notes; plowed through my fish, field greens and fruit while we spoke; then sopped up the leftover dressing with a sourdough roll.

    Levinthal took her muffin home for breakfast the next morning.

    ::

    In the month since California's new law took effect, I've made my peace with nutritional labels. In fact, I've taken to carrying a notebook around, jotting down sodium levels and calorie counts, trying to find new favorites at my familiar haunts.

    Although my new vigilance might be making me healthier, it is also making me less popular as a dinner companion.

    Even my daughters are turning down my invitations. They're embarrassed when I interrogate the waiters: Can I get the avocado rolls without the sauce? How many calories do I save by leaving ice cream off the brownie?

    And tired of my commentary about their menu choices: Why get the Chicken Picatta at 1,535 calories when you can have the 781-calorie Chicken Milanese?

    But there's an upside to eating out alone. If I skip the salad and the entree, I can put those calories toward dessert. And I can make a meal out of a 1,400-calorie apple crisp without anyone but the waiter knowing.
    Last edited by celeb_2006; August 16th, 2009 at 11:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Elite Member *DIVA!'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    15,736

    Default

    Seriously, the person who wrote the article didn't believe those crepes and buttermilk pancakes were low in calories..it's IHOP, not Nutri-system!
    Baltimore O's ​Fan!

    I don''t know if she really fucked the board though. Maybe just put the tip in. -Mrs. Dark

  3. #3
    Gold Member atrayubrandy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    747

    Default

    I feel her pain. I've had that happen to me before. I thought I was making "healthier" choices while eating out only to later discover that my "healthier" choices have almost double the calories of my regulars (which are also calorie dense). I wish they would require nutritional information to be posted in Oregon.
    Beneath the sun of summer a sea of flowers won't bloom without the rain.

  4. #4
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    42,527

    Default

    I like having all the info! It's not going to stop me from ordering what I want,but I still want to know.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

  5. #5
    Elite Member Charmed Hour's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,814

    Default

    NYC has required nutrition info for about a year now. Bloomberg's no transfat stuff. We all know McD's, etc is no good for you but when you sit down in a place like Applebee's and see a salad that's worse for you than a burger, it's pretty shocking.

  6. #6
    Elite Member chartreuse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    the salad bowl
    Posts
    6,410

    Default

    ^^applebees is no better than denny's, imo, & i totally wouldn't be surprised to find a salad there that's less healthy than a burger. their items are full of MSG & sodium & empty calories.
    white, black, puerto rican/everybody just a freakin'/good times were rollin'.


  7. #7
    Elite Member Charmed Hour's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    4,814

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ang View Post
    ^^applebees is no better than denny's, imo, & i totally wouldn't be surprised to find a salad there that's less healthy than a burger. their items are full of MSG & sodium & empty calories.

    Oh, I totally agree with you re: Applesbees and places like that. I think the really shocking part is you think you're making a good choice and you're not. I always tend to order off the Weight Watchers part of an Applebees menu anyway.

  8. #8
    Gold Member Flak's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    780

    Default

    We've had that in Seattle for a while now. It's rather helpful.
    By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity -- another man's I mean. -Mark Twain

  9. #9
    Elite Member Chilly Willy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Trolltopia
    Posts
    29,139

    Default

    Starbucks in NYC had small signs revealing the calories of the cookies and cakes. One regular cookies had around 400 calories.

    That was news to me. I have never counted calories ever, but I never touched those cookies again.
    Hello mother fucker! when you ask a question read also the answer instead of asking another question on an answer who already contain the answer of your next question!
    -Bugdoll-



  10. #10
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    492

    Default

    Thankfully i learned some cooking skills from my mother that my family appreciates. we eat out about twice a month regularly, once for brunch, once for dinner and then order out for take in once. we feel that is reasonable though we can afford it. we'll be empty nesters after seeing our daughter off to to her first year of college this coming weekend. i suppose then i have to start baking up healthy care packages.

  11. #11
    Elite Member Bellatheball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    17,107

    Default

    I love when places do this. It's amazing how many calories are in small dishes and I like having the info to make better decisions.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •