Dave and I are restaurant junkies.
We have a lot of different excuses and justifications for this habit:
- Dave works from home and a lot of times that only reason that he may leave the house in a day (or few days, for that matter) is to go out to get something to eat.
- Monday nights there is a great steak special at the Timber Creek Grill. (15 ounce ribeye for $14.95... And it is a pretty darn good steak!)
- We have friends (ahem... Dr. Mike and Paula) who drag us out to eat, whether we want to go or not.
- Although we have a ton of food in the house, it never seems to be enough to create a full meal.
There are lots of other reasons, but you get the picture.
We do (sometimes) try to choose items that are healthy (kind of) to eat while we are out at restaurants. For example, when we go to McGurk's, we get salads as our entrees with the small order of herb-dusted chicken wings as an appetizer. (Just thinking about them makes my mouth water!)
Anyway, I saw this article regarding restaurant menus yesterday. It talks about how the Center for Science in the Public Interest wants restaurants to begin putting nutritional information on the menus about the food that people are about to order. As much as I think that this probably is going to add some guilt to my eating out habit, I think that it is a good idea.
The article points out that some items that are on menus at restaurants have huge calorie counts that the diner is usually oblivious to when they order. For example, Ruby Tuesday's "Fresh Chicken and Broccoli Pasta," which sounds like a relatively healthy option, has 2,060 calories and 128 grams of fat!!! Personally, I would like to know that if the item I am about to order has more calories in the serving size that the restaurant is going to give me has more calories than what the average person should have in an entire day!
The article also points out that Ruby Tuesday's piloted a new menu a few years ago that included nutritional information on it. They pulled the menu when they found that patrons didn't really want to know how many calories were in what they were about to eat.
Is ignorance bliss? I think that if food companies that provide food to grocery stores for sale are responsible to disclose the nutritional information about their product, restaurants should be asked to do the same. I am not saying that it is the fault of the restaurant industry that Americans don't make more healthy choices about what they eat, however I do think that it is their responsibility to give their customers the information that is needed in order to make an educated decision.
What do you think?
UPDATE: Click here for an interesting article that I read in this morning's USA Today. It reports that TGI Friday's is leading the way in creating a more balanced menu by including smaller portions (at a smaller cost). It also contradicts the article that I linked to above, saying that 79% of consumers are concerned about the fat content in food that they order at restaurants; 73% like information about the amount of calories.