Last Thursday, my husband and I went to enjoy a day at the mall. While there we decided to get something to eat. We went to the food court, but really wanted to sit down at a restaurant. There was only one there – a chain restaurant which will remain nameless.
The menu looked like it had a couple of healthy options. Salads, grilled chicken and sweet potato fries caught our attention. We sat down and my husband ordered the raspberry ice tea and I ordered water. When his tea came, it tasted like sugar syrup. It was entirely too sweet! He had to dilute it with almost the same amount of water to render it drinkable.
I ordered a salad with vegetables, dried fruit and seeds and my husband ordered a chicken salad. We also ordered some sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes have anti-inflammatory properties, are high in vitamins B6, C and D, have iron, a lower glycemic level than potatoes and are good for cholesterol, so we thought that we had ordered something healthy. The fries came first and they were soft, soggy and saturated with oil and spices. I must admit that they were tasty, but we had to wrap them in our napkins to get rid of some of the oil and our napkins were soaked! We couldn’t believe it. We had never see fries that had that much oil!
We asked our waitress about them and she seemed somewhat perplexed as to why we were complaining about the amount of oil on the fries. Then it made sense as to why there is such a big obesity problem here. The waitress didn’t think that there was anything wrong with our fries and I don’t think that she would have thought that there was anything wrong with his tea either. So many of us eat out and the restaurants are contributing to the problem.
The foods that people eat on a regular basis – even the “healthy” options are loaded with fat, sodium, sugar and unrefined carbohydrates. Not only does this contribute to obesity, but it puts people at a higher risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Our salads were even saturated with salad dressings that were high in fat. Our experience last Thursday reminds me of when I discovered the nutritional content of the black bean soup that I always ordered from a popular take out place. I always ordered black bean soup because I thought that it was healthy. It was only about 110-150 calories depending on whether I ordered a cup or a bowl. I only realized that the bowl contained 1500 mg of sodium after I used the “Lose It” app! 1500mg of sodium – that’s more than half of the required daily intake!
I’ve learned over time that even when something seems “healthy,” it might not be. Even if something is organic, it might be loaded with sugar, salt and fat. We have to learn to cut back at home, read labels and ask questions when we go out.
So when you think that you’ve ordered something healthy – think again, educate yourself and ask some questions.
- If you’re used to eating a lot of salt, sugar and oily foods, try to cut back a little bit at home. This will re-calibrate your taste buds, so when you’re out and ordering something you’ll be able to tell if it’s “unhealthy”.
- Ask the waiter/waitress for the sodium, sugar or fat content of the meal that you’re thinking about ordering. This even goes for drinks. Ask them how sweet, salty, etc. the meal or drink is and if it’s too unhealthy, send it back.
- Read labels when you’re supermarket shopping. The caloric content is not the end all be all. Check to see how much salt, sugar and fat a product contains.
- Use the “Lose It” app or the “Live Strong Calorie Tracker” app on your phone (both of which are free) to determine the nutritional value of supermarket foods and even meals at some chain restaurants.