Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Calories on NYC menus (if it's a chain of more than 15)

Have you heard? Soon we will have Calorie regulation on menus in NYC, beginning March 31st.

I think this is a fantastic idea. Although, "...it doesn't take a Ph.D. in nutrition, let alone a high school diploma, to tell the difference between a 12-piece bucket of chicken and a salad," says J. Justin Wilson, that's not what we're measuring. A calorie is a calorie whether it's coming from a kale leaf or a chicken wing. And those calories can sky-rocket when people don't know what a serving size is. Ultimately, providing caloric information on the menu will inform and influence people to choose healthier options.

Those who frequent the chain, Hale and Hearty understand how easy it is to pack together a hefty caloric salad. There is no end to how much a customer can put into her dish, even if she thinks she is choosing healthy options. For example, piling on walnuts, goat cheese, grilled chicken and avocado (not to mention the use of liberal amounts of dressing) can add 400 extra calories or more (and that's without the soup and bread). Before you know it, you have yourself a 700 plus calorie lunch. And you wonder why you can't concentrate at work after your break? Would you choose differently if given a basic gist of how many calories you'd be consuming?

Unfortunately, the regulation is not being applied to more restaurants. This is too bad since one of the MAJOR PROBLEMS with dining out is portion and calorie control! An 800 calorie label doesn't come along-side the four serving plate of food. But if it did?

The regulation states that food needs to come "in close proximity" to the items listed on the menu. It will be interesting to see just how close the absolute calorie counts are in relation to the items. We'll have to see if owners choose to lower their 500 calorie burger to 489, just as $4.89 appears to be cheaper than $5. If so, consumers will have yet another obstacle to face in the jungle of NYC dining.

3 comments:

Douglas Cress said...

well said Marissa

Justin "Hot Stuff" Grossman said...

Yo Marissa, do you know where Margo is?

Marissa Beck said...

Since I know this isn't Justin, who is this!?

Nutrition Website

My personal blog here at Blogger is still going to remain intact; however, please visit my new website, http://marissabeck.wordpress.com, which will host more nutrition topics (because obviously you just can't get enough!)