Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Wednesday Weigh In - If a Little is Good....
But help is on the way. Soon all food/restaurant chains with 20 or more locations must provide nutritional data. I applaud the many that do so voluntarily now, such as The Olive Garden, Panera Bread, Noodles & Co., Old Chicago, Culvers, and a host of fast food eateries.
But there is MUCH room for improvement. If you want a "lite" version of a given entree you often have to ask that it be prepared in a special way. When I go out to eat, someone else is supposed to be responsible for the cooking. If I have to instruct the waiter or counter staff how to prepare my food (according to their own policy), heck, I may as well go home and make it myself. LOL
A friend and I wanted to split a 9 ounce steak - which we knew would cook down to about 7 ounces, giving us each 3.5 ounces of meat. The waitress insisted that there would not be enough meat - that we would be unhappy with our choice. She was wrong. Waiters and waitresses stand to lose a portion of their tips if two people order just one meal, with no appetizers, no booze and no dessert. So if you split a meal, tip the wait staff a little more generously.
Another option is to order something decadent, even if its more than I can eat. I ask for a carry out container when the food arrives. I want to cut everything in half, and take it home with me, to enjoy the next day. To keep from overeating (just because the food is in front of me), I want to pack it up before I begin eating. Waiters and waitresses can't understand this and invariably bring me the container at the end of the meal, not the beginning. By that time I may have already snitched some of tomorrow's brown bag lunch!
And then there are bottomless glasses of sugar-laden, caffeinated soda pop. If your kid orders one of these - watch out! The refills are automatically brought to the table. This is how we end up with 1 in 3 children being overweight. And how about the alcohol...there are about 100 calories in a 1/2 cup of white wine. But restaurants easily provide 2-4 times as much. I've encountered just one exception...a restaurant that has a 100 calorie margarita. That was perfect!
Food and menu trends will be moving in our direction soon. If profit margins are in jeopardy, food manufacturers and restaurants will set a higher priority to provide flavorful, attractive and balanced meals in appropriate portions.