Saturday, April 14, 2007

Hidden Calories

I'm just home after waitressing for 12 hours straight. You'd think that I would lose weight just by waitressing, but not so.

However, while I was at work, for the first time I really looked at the food I was serving. Or I should say I really thought about it. I look at it all the time and think, "Yeah...that's what I'm having for dinner!"

It's amazing the calories restaurants hide in their food. Even when you think you're eating healthy, it can be hard to make a good choice. I work in an Italian restaurant. Eating light, you might choose the soup and salad. If you're feeling really virtuous, you might put the dressing on the side.

Yet, the minestrone soup has cheese melted into the broth for flavor. I learned this when waiting on a vegan customer tonight. She asked what her choices were and we ended up creating a veggie pizza without cheese because the soup had cheese in the broth. While the soup may be one of the lower calorie foods on the menu, it's still has a lot of extra fat hidden in the broth.

Then one of the cooks made a veal Parmesan by accident. As it sat in the window, I watched the tomato sauce separate. There was a good quarter cup of oil in the tomato sauce! Again, looking for something healthy to eat on the menu, I might gravitate towards some linguine with a plain tomato sauce. Tasty and healthy. Nope. There's a bunch of excess oil added "for flavor."

I'm starting to wonder if Americans even know what food tastes like anymore. There are so many oils and preservatives added to our foods to give it flavor, that it's feels impossible to go into a restaurant and order anything but a salad without dressing and feel confident that it's a healthy choice.

I'd like to see our restaurants post their nutritional information right in their menus, the way food in the grocery store has the nutrition on the labels. Maybe then we'd actually be able to evaluate our choices instead of guessing and hoping for the best.

1 comment:

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