This morning, while paging through my food journal, I decided to research some of my favorite restaurants, looking specifically at the nutritional values of certain meals, and more specifically at calories and grams of fat.
Appalled, disgusted and shocked just begin to describe the feelings elicited by this experience. Having never cared enough to look before (which really is a blog entry in and of itself) I had no idea how unbelievably high some of the values were...many in fact, would account for my entire days calorie/fat intake in one sitting (some even more than that). I haven't been living under a rock. I had a general idea of what would most likely be the best choice when looking at a menu, but even some of the "best choices" were alarmingly high in calories/fat. One thing I discovered...salad which is traditionally touted as being a "healthy" option, might not be. In fact one restaurant offered a side salad (a smaller portion than the meal salad) which was so high in calories/fat that I would have had to eliminate all of the "good parts" (which are apparently the "bad parts") to even be able to eat it!
While doing this research, I decided to make a "cheat sheet" listing some of my favorite restaurants and some of the "safe" meals I could eat should I dine out. I found some restaurants that I will never (or very infrequently) eat at again due to their lack of health(ier) options, their lack of available nutritional information, or lack of enough nutritional information (for example saying that an entree was considered lower fat but not providing the details like exactly how much fat or calories). I found a couple of restaurants that had a surprisingly good selection of possible choices with very detailed information about each option. Some restaurants also had a customizable option (taking away or adding ingredients to the entree) which I was very impressed with.
Needless to say, this was quite the wake up call. The next time I visit one of my favorite restaurants, I will be armed and ready with my cheat sheet of available menu choices, complete with a calorie and fat count.