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Should Restaurants Indicate Unhealthy Menu Choices?

Some chain restaurants have dishes that pack in at least a day's worth of calories and fat, without giving customers the facts about what they are ordering.

For example: Did you know that Ruby Tuesday's offers an entree called Fresh Chicken & Broccoli Pasta that tips the scales at 2,060 calories and 128 grams of fat? [GASP] Or did you know that one slice of The Cheesecake Factory's Chris's Outrageous Chocolate Cake has a whooping 1,380 calories? Or that an order of Uno's Chicago Grill’s Pizza Skins (yup, pizza skins) has about 2,050 calories and 48 grams of saturated fat. Now keep in mind that the average daily calorie requirement is about 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men.




This whole thing got me thinking -- Since we've been talking so much about restaurants keeping us informed about the nutritional content of menu items so we know what is healthy to eat, what do you think about them letting us know what is NOT healthy to eat?

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lms lms 9 years
I think alot of restaurants have a healthy low calorie section of foods to choose from. The other items are obviously not low calorie. It is also the consumers responsibility to do their own research in advance. There are many websites that will break down the calories of chain restaurant food items as well as just general recipes. Of course every restaurant will have different items that they include into recipes that will add calories to it, but if you have an idea of what you are ordering then it is up to you to chose wisely or eat a smaller portion of your entree.
lms lms 9 years
I think alot of restaurants have a healthy low calorie section of foods to choose from. The other items are obviously not low calorie. It is also the consumers responsibility to do their own research in advance. There are many websites that will break down the calories of chain restaurant food items as well as just general recipes. Of course every restaurant will have different items that they include into recipes that will add calories to it, but if you have an idea of what you are ordering then it is up to you to chose wisely or eat a smaller portion of your entree.
SeaFoamGreen215 SeaFoamGreen215 9 years
they need to have it on everything! and people who would oppose to this, what harm is in showing the calories?
mandiesoh mandiesoh 9 years
i think its good to have it, no one will really stop you from eating the "bad" stuff but have the calories/fat/sodium etc values there will help plenty of people who are trying to make a change in their lifestyles. its good, cos then everyone is making an informed choice.
KrissyThePirate KrissyThePirate 9 years
I happen to work for one of the mentioned restraunts mentioned, and I can say that we keep a computer in the entrance with all the caloric facts about each thing on the menu. On top of that, if some places don't have that--you can ask for a paper version. I think you have to go out to eat with the intention to spluge in the first place, and you just have to use common sense otherwise. Anything that has an oil filled pizza crust, filled with seasoned mashed potatoes, covered in melted cheese and bacon bits sweating pure fat--I mean you have to think that's probably not the best choice for you. Of course grilled chicken and steamed veggies are almost always guarenteed to be half decent for you. I'm a server, and if people ask me about the food, I'm honest with them, as I'm dieting--so I'm not going to deceive anyone, you know? There's like 3 or 4 things on our menu that aren't a heart attack on a plate, so it sucks a little, but until chains realize people are trying eat better, they aren't going to change their menus.
KrissyThePirate KrissyThePirate 9 years
I happen to work for one of the mentioned restraunts mentioned, and I can say that we keep a computer in the entrance with all the caloric facts about each thing on the menu. On top of that, if some places don't have that--you can ask for a paper version.I think you have to go out to eat with the intention to spluge in the first place, and you just have to use common sense otherwise. Anything that has an oil filled pizza crust, filled with seasoned mashed potatoes, covered in melted cheese and bacon bits sweating pure fat--I mean you have to think that's probably not the best choice for you. Of course grilled chicken and steamed veggies are almost always guarenteed to be half decent for you. I'm a server, and if people ask me about the food, I'm honest with them, as I'm dieting--so I'm not going to deceive anyone, you know? There's like 3 or 4 things on our menu that aren't a heart attack on a plate, so it sucks a little, but until chains realize people are trying eat better, they aren't going to change their menus.
vrico2005 vrico2005 9 years
I think it is a great idea to have the information on the menu. The Ruby Tuesday's broc, cheese calorie leviathan terrifies me...Maybe a separate menu that lists all the health information so I can make smarter decisions.
vrico2005 vrico2005 9 years
I think it is a great idea to have the information on the menu. The Ruby Tuesday's broc, cheese calorie leviathan terrifies me... Maybe a separate menu that lists all the health information so I can make smarter decisions.
XDeexDeeX XDeexDeeX 9 years
Well if someone wants to ask...than they ask..But usually novody knows if it's healthy or not..
daiseechain daiseechain 9 years
I think people just need to use more common sense. I look at eating out at a restaurant as a little treat, something that I don't do too often. Having said that, I'm not gonna go all out and order the most fat laden thing on the menu. If i order pasta, I always order with tomato sauce instead of creme. If i order chicken, i make sure it's grilled and not deep-fried. If my order comes with potatoes, i'll order them baked, without the sour creme. Some restaurants will even give you salsa as a potato topper for free. It just comes down to common sense. Perhaps printing on the menu that caloric information is available upon request instead of jamming the menu full of numbers.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
I agree with this in theory, but then I feel like the chefs, servers, etc would be judgemental on people who order foods that are flagged as unhealthy... _________________________________________________________ Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
I agree with this in theory, but then I feel like the chefs, servers, etc would be judgemental on people who order foods that are flagged as unhealthy..._________________________________________________________Why don't you wear the face you have when I am not around?
amandaaa amandaaa 9 years
i can definitely see how this is a bad idea- for restaurants, that is. it would help the consumer make better decisions. all nutritional information should be provided for the menu, and everyone should ALSO note that the nutritionals can vary from the given amount. for example, they may add more oil or something to your dinner. or, they may use less salsa. who knows. things aren't all the same in the kitchen when they make food. and also realize HOW the food is prepared and find out ways to make it healthier. for example, have the veggies steamed and make sure they are steamed WITHOUT any butter or oil. the same thing goes for chicken! and salad nutritionals change because you may or may not use all of your dressing. just educate yourself and learn how to eat healthier.
mandyjean mandyjean 9 years
I don't think they should be forced to do it, but I do think it would be great if they did... yeah, if the world was a perfect place
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 9 years
Funny thing about that is that McD's has had their Nut. Info readily available to customers for YEARS!
bnelson bnelson 9 years
I think that nutrition info should be readily available for any menu item. Needless to say, there are those people that will just ignore the nutrition guidelines and order the unhealthiest menu items anyways. It is your choice what is put into your body, but a resturaunt should let people know what they are putting into their bodies. I am sure there will always be those people who sue McDonalds for being fat.
RockinHeartJD RockinHeartJD 9 years
I think it would be a great idea to let people know the caloric intake. I am a recent vegetarian and I can't even go to chain restaurants anymore because most of them don't offer anything for vegetarians (especially here in texas), and if they do- it is a boring salad. I went to Cheddar's recently and ALL the salads had chicken on it!! Without the chicken, I am stil paying for it. It is ridiculous. Americans need to lighten up soon.
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
I think people like to eat out as an escape from their own kitchens. There's nothing wrong with being adventerous and eating outside your diet every now and then, but I think maybe menus can be modified to indicate unhealthy meals. Better yet, why can't chefs find ways to modify recipes to keep the flavor but cut out most of the unhealthy elements?
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
I think people like to eat out as an escape from their own kitchens. There's nothing wrong with being adventerous and eating outside your diet every now and then, but I think maybe menus can be modified to indicate unhealthy meals. Better yet, why can't chefs find ways to modify recipes to keep the flavor but cut out most of the unhealthy elements?
crispysugar crispysugar 9 years
I think all menu items should have at least fat and calorie info available. There are so many items that people THINK are healthy- and then the nutritional information reveals quite the opposite. Even stuff with veggies and chicken can be horrible depending on how it's cooked. Counting my calories and checking the facts has pretty much ruined going to most of my favorite places... it's no wonder I was fat before! Even salads can be terrible for you. It's all so depressing :(
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
Is it bad that I want to eat that huge slice of cheesecake?
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
I think they should just indicate the healthy items. That way, if you see an item you like that's not marked healthy, you should then know that it's bad. But, at the rate we're going, we may have to succomb to putting warnings on unhealthy foods like we do now for ciggies.
SunshineDaydream SunshineDaydream 9 years
Yeah. I think everything should be upfront.
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 9 years
I like to think that I have a lot of common sense. Of course this applies to what I eat...I wouldn't eat chocolate cake or deep-fried food and expect it to be healthy. But I also cannot guess at what kind of stuff they cook the food in. Example: Outback Steakhouse (groan...again?)... They have a Chicken and Veggie Platter...sounds healthy, right??? Probably the healthiest sounding thing on their menu. However, if you look at their guidlines to eating healthy, is says to ask that it be cooked without butter or glaze. Who the heck thinks to ask "Oh, and skip the glaze, please."????ALSO...if you track calories <A HREF="http://www.sparkpeople.com" REL="nofollow">like I do</A>, you choose to not go to places that won't disclose their calorie content. So, I guess, it depends on if they even want patrons who are trying to be healthy.
Butrfly4404 Butrfly4404 9 years
I like to think that I have a lot of common sense. Of course this applies to what I eat...I wouldn't eat chocolate cake or deep-fried food and expect it to be healthy. But I also cannot guess at what kind of stuff they cook the food in. Example: Outback Steakhouse (groan...again?)... They have a Chicken and Veggie Platter...sounds healthy, right??? Probably the healthiest sounding thing on their menu. However, if you look at their guidlines to eating healthy, is says to ask that it be cooked without butter or glaze. Who the heck thinks to ask "Oh, and skip the glaze, please."???? ALSO...if you track calories like I do, you choose to not go to places that won't disclose their calorie content. So, I guess, it depends on if they even want patrons who are trying to be healthy.
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