Day 70: Calorie information on restaurant menus

14 03 2010

Many restaurants post nutritional information on their menus, but Panera Bread recently announced that they are the first restaurant chain to voluntarily post calorie information on their menus nationwide. By March 24 this year, all 500+ Panera-owned locations will include the new menus.

I don’t eat at fast-food chains very often, but I do with our local restaurants would include nutritional information on their menus. If they did, I would probably find it easier to break my habit of eating dinner out every night. Which might be the exact reason why restaurants don’t post this information. If people really knew how many calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium was in their favorite meal at their favorite restaurant, they may choose to eat at home.

Do your favorite restaurants post nutritional information on their menus? Does the information influence what you buy?

Today’s starting weight: 149

— Organic whole wheat english muffin with Nutella = 294 cal.

Dinner (at local restaurant):
— Jamaican jerk chicken sandwich = 362 (this was an estimate based on what I could find online)
— Iced tea = 0

— Fat free chocolate pudding cup = 60

Thanks for visiting. See you tomorrow.



6 responses

14 03 2010

I heard once that any restaurant that had over X number of locations had to list a calorie count of their menu. Some mom and pop pizza place on the East Coast fell into this category. To send one pepperoni pizza off to a lab to get it tested, or whatever it’s called, cost him $1600. I can’t imagine how much Ramsis would have to pay to test their entire menu! I’d love to know the counts myself, but not if my favorite restaurant would go under in the process. I do what you do, make a decent estimate (but then I round up or down depending on how bad I’ve been that day).

14 03 2010

Oops, got the $$ wrong:
Still kinda expensive though. He makes some good points about inconsistent preparation too. I hadn’t thought about that.

15 03 2010

That’s a really good point, Marcy. I hadn’t considered the expense that restaurants have in order to get their food analyzed for calorie content. And the possibility of inconsistent preparation is another great point. As much as I would like to know nutritional information on our local restaurants, I wouldn’t want them to go under because of the required expense. I use the LoseIt app on my iPhone, which has a lot of information in it. What it lacks, I look up online and estimate calories based on each individual ingredient (the best I can): grilled chicken, hamburger bun, mustard, mayo, etc. for a grilled chicken sandwich for example.

Another point too is just because a restaurant may include calorie information on their menu, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s accurate. They may prepare it differently each time or the count may just not be correct. I read an article on that a while back. I think I talked a little about it on Day 3:

Thanks for visiting, Marcy!

15 03 2010
How many grams of protein are in the liquid whey that is leftover when you make yogurt cheese?

[…] Day 70: Calorie information on restaurant menus « Cyclingproject365 […]

6 03 2011

There’s been debate about this in UK recently. There’s no obligation here, although fast food joints do voluntarily publish info, as they’ve been trying to counter claims of Fast Food Nation etc… and I suppose their food is more standardised than other restaurants.

Any chef of a decent standard should be able to calculate approx calorie info for their food if they have been to catering college, so sending for analysis shouldn’t be necessary. It’s a guide, not a promise, after all.

7 03 2011
Alice - cyclingproject365

Thanks for visiting and for your comment. It’s interesting that fast food restaurants in the UK readily provide their calorie info. As far as I know, I think those here in the U.S. don’t provide that info very willingly. “Fast Food Nation” was a great film. If you’ve not already seen them, you might also enjoy “Food, Inc” and “Our Daily Bread.” Fascinating stuff!

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