Restaurants Offer Healthier Options…but Is It Enough?
According to the National Restaurant Association, as the demand for more healthful options on restaurant menus has grown, America’s restaurants have accepted the challenge and taken the lead in providing healthier options to their customers. There is no doubt that more healthy choices are available than before. Even the king of massive portions, The Cheesecake Factory, now offers diners their “SkinnyLicious” line of lower calorie options. But a new study posted on the online journal Pubic Health Nutrition, suggests that restaurants have to do a better job if they want to be part of the solution.
Researchers looked at the nutritional content of 30,923 menu items from 245 different restaurants. They found that 96% of the entrees analyzed exceeded recommended level of at least one of the followings areas, calories, sodium, fat or saturated fat. One of the researchers, Helen Wu, assistant policy analyst at the Rand Corp., commented that, “If you are eating out tonight, your chances of finding an entrée that’s truly healthful are painfully low.”
The reality is that some must eat out often because of travel or business. If you are in this category, trying to order more healthfully is your only option. Managing portions, getting sauces and dressings on the side, and picking restaurants with healthier options gives you chance to keep things under control when eating out. But for the rest of us who have chosen to eat out more often than in the past, maybe it’s time to take back some control by preparing and eating more of our meals at home. The American Restaurant Association estimates that one out of every four meals consumed by Americans is prepared by the restaurant and foodservice industry. We are probably never going back to the days when we went out to dinner only for special occasions, but cutting back on the frequency of eating out might be an effective way to get our caloric intake back under control.