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Food Frustrations

Being a creature of habit, I love knowing what I'm eating each day, how many calories are in it, and how much of it I can have without blowing my calorie count out of the water. But throw in meals that I can't prepare myself and my OCD kicks in...

Take this weekend. The first half I was awesome and made myself dinner Friday night, worked out Saturday morning, and made myself lunch. Scale said 156.3, which is right about the lowest that I've been the last few weeks. Then I met up with my boyfriend and we had dinner out, brunch on Sunday out, takeout for dinner on Sunday. And we don't eat at places with ANY nutrition info! I can make all the awesome choices I want at these places, but I'm severely limited by the lack of available information. We were at independently owned local restaurants, so looking something up on a website isn't possible.

Usually I make my own lunches during the week, but yesterday and Monday I had breakfast on the go, lunch from a quick food place (Wegmans and Chick Fil A) and Monday was dinner out! Some had nutrition info, and I noticed that really steered my choices in the right direction.

I think a big reason that people tend to go overboard when they go out (myself included), is the lack of information about what they're eating. It's on just about every product sold in the grocery store, why can't restaurants be held to the same standards? Some people say "well, even if I know there are 500 calories in an order of fries, I'm going to order it". That's fine to me, at least you know what you're getting yourself into. But I think for many people like myself, having that information is a big deterrant to making the unhealthy choice. Especially with food that masquerades itself as healthy, but is loaded with fat and calories (I'm looking at you, excessively decadent salads!!!).

So, should all places that sell food be required to publish the basic nutrition info (I'm talking macros of fat, carbs and protein plus sodium and calories)? Maybe it's too much big brother, but the health crisis in the country is getting out of control. Having the information necessary to eat healthy is a key step in abating it. I know that if I knew something had more fat and calories than another choice, I'd pick the better option. Maybe it would force restaurants to rethink dishes that come in especially unhealthy.

I'm partly to blame for making bad choices at restaurants, but so many of us eat away from home on a regular basis. I don't think it's too much to ask to know what I'm really eating. Stepping on the scale and seeing 159 this morning was hard, but even when I try to make the best of the situation when eating out, it doesn't always work.

Just a thought that I had today. I really wish the legislation that passed a while back (I believe it's part of the health care law now in contention in the Surpreme Court) was more comprehensive, and went into effect sooner. Our health really can't wait for them to make up their minds...

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Krizzle4Rizzle wrote 73 months ago:
I could not agree more!
soniathekitty wrote 73 months ago:
I share the frustration. I have found that if I ask the person that runs the place, if they're there, that they will usually be happy to steer me in a better direction. I've done that a couple of times at small local places, and I thanked them and asked if the information would be available on the website or menu or upon request anytime in the near future. Mostly to put that in their ear, to remind them that some of us are trying to make the best decisions, even if having to eat out. I hate foods that mask. I've had too many times where I tried to pick the best thing, went scouring when I got home, found the closest thing to it by ingredient and was horrified by the calorie amt. Then I was pissed. Partially at myself, then partially at the lack of info. I hate being caught off guard.

Anytime I can look at a menu ahead of time, I do/will and will even write down a sticky note of what I can order. I know, sounds lame.

I do wish that more info was available, and the only way I know to contribute to making that happen, is on comment cards/websites/to managers/owners directly. It's worth the few minutes that it takes to do that if you have it to give.
MrsSmith2010 wrote 73 months ago:
If I'd known the pasta/chicken dish I ordered yesterday was over 500g of fat, I would've ordered something else! I thought I was doing myself good but once I calculated every bit of it seperately and added it together, I wanted to end my life!
Jena_72 wrote 73 months ago:
Here in california our former governator passed a law that restaurants by law MUST POST the calories next to the items right on the menu. Granted a lot of times you'll see something like Chicken Sandwich Meal 440-990 cals but it is a least something! Mom & Pop places are exempt from this law though.
Patty_Petz wrote 73 months ago:
After reading this, I feel like we were separated at birth! Great post
DayAtATime wrote 73 months ago:
Yes, eating out is a real challenge. I assume almost anything I eat is at least 500 calories. I love salads and you can be over 1,000 calories with a lot of salads.
rmhand wrote 73 months ago:
Even after planning ahead for eating out its still hard to tell if the cook prepared it the way that it was calculated last time. Examples: extra cheese on pizzas, meat on sandwiches, olive oil in cooking.
mbajrami wrote 73 months ago:
I know the feeling share your frustrations! It's so hard trying to go out to eat and make informed choices...and even if you try to, the "light" menu at most places includes MAYBE 4 items...and the main protein is chicken on EVERY ONE! Way to mix things up! :-(

It doesn't help that my boyfriend's FAVORITE place to eat is a family run, hole in the wall restaurant! So hard.
ElectricMayhem wrote 73 months ago:
This is one of my biggest pet peeves!!! I've been eating out quite a bit lately due to my schedule, etc and i've ended up frequenting the same places over and over again due to lack of info at other restaurants! I always try to get the most for my calories so i'm pretty picky about my meals....sometimes it literally makes me upset when i'm sitting in a restaurant with my family and i'm frantically trying to figure out what is best for me calorie- wise while everyone else waits to order :-/ For the most part the staff at most places i've gone have been very helpful, but some places just really could care less...argh!
LALOCHA34 wrote 73 months ago:
I don't eat out as much as I use to but when I do I either request my 'grilled' dish to be prepared without butter, sauces, etc. I also have learned over time that if I share a meal (usually) I am fairly safe on my calories. You just have to guesstimate to the best of your ability. Hang in there, I know it can be frustrating. Even when I prepare my own meals I will round up calories when trying to figure it all out. It can make ones head spin. We all feel your pain. Just take control of what you can and what you can't don't feel guilty about. Never mind your scale, just keep doing what you are doing and try to be a little smarter. Learn what can ruin a salad and avoid that if possible. You can beat the system. Nice post! Best wishes.
KWake1 wrote 73 months ago:
Totally off topic (kind of) but big props to you for supporting the "independently owned local restaurants."
tmarie2715 wrote 73 months ago:
Seattle, WA fast food restaurants list calories and fat grams next to every entree on the menu, from small to large. I think it just depends on where you are from.
cbirdso wrote 73 months ago:
Knowledge is power and I'm afraid the food/drug/diet industry does not want to share. Armed with informed choices, consumers would direct their dollars away from products that are cheap to produce but harm their health (example: high fructose corn syrup)to products that have a lower margin of profit (like fresh produce). Powerful lobby groups for these industries would (and have) withheld campaign contributions to any lawmaker who would jeopardize their revenue streams. This is why the kind of health care reform you suggest our country needs will not happen.
00trayn wrote 73 months ago:
My boyfriend and I very rarely eat at large food chains. We much prefer the huge variety of local places in Northern VA and DC. I can't stand Chili's, Applebees, or the like, but my family back in Jersey eats at places like that all the time so I have to occasionally.
brendacooks wrote 73 months ago:
I eat out quite often and, being a "foodie" it is usually at independently owned and operated places. I love good food well prepared (a little too much apparently!). Anyway, since beginning this journey to better health I have drastically changed what I eat in restaurants. I never have salad! I usually have grilled fish and a vegetable side or if all else fails, a steak. Then, I only eat half the portion and I take the rest home to eat for lunches or dinner the next day(s). Its inexact - but it seems like a reasonable compromise. I just love eating out - but I don't want to be fat anymore so I am willing to make the compromise. I do agree that having more info would be good - but I cant' wait that long!

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