Making better choices at restaurants
We’ve all seen the calories posted in the larger chain restaurants for our favorite dishes. Sticker shock remains, but it’s no surprise that many of the foods we’ve been eating have hugh amounts of calories. All you have to do is look around at the size of the customers eating these caloric foods. Obesity is fast becoming the number one health concern of our nation. How important is it to get this problem under control? Just look inside our nations schools. Children are fast catching up to adults with the rate of obesity in children approaching 30% and Type 2 diabetes on the rise. For the first time, our nations armed forces have a problem with soldiers being fit enough to protect us.
According to the 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 66% of adults say their favorite restaurant foods provide a flavor and taste sensation which cannot be easily duplicated in their home kitchen. The National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot survey of nearly 1,800 American Culinary Federation Chefs found that children’s nutrition and local sourcing will be the hottest trends this year.
The top 10 menu trends for next year will be: Locally sourced meats and seafood; Locally grown produce; Healthful kids’ meals; Hyper-local items; Sustainability as a culinary theme; Children’s nutrition as a culinary theme; Gluten-free/food allergy-conscious items; Locally produced wine and beer; Sustainable seafood; and Whole grain items in kids’ meals.
So, will all of this new nutrition info posted in restaurants help us and our children? It’s not the only answer to a complicated problem, but it can only be a help. Change in our health habits come one step at a time, and knowledge is power. We can make better choices for ourselves and our children when we have this information posted at our fingertips. It’s our right to know what we are being offered to put into our bodies. The next step is up to us and to the restaurant industry to start offering healthier choices.
As of now, only large chain restaurants are required to post nutrition info for their offerings. How about the smaller restaurants? What do you think?