When calorie counts aren't on the menu

When calorie counts aren't on the menu

(HealthDay)—Over the past few decades, the amount of food Americans eat away from home has increased from 18 percent to 33 percent.

At the same time, meals with oversized portions have become a major contributor to the nation's obesity epidemic. While much of the blame has been aimed at fast-food places, these aren't the only restaurants to supersize .

A study done at Tufts University found that meals from non-chain restaurants averaged 1,200 , about the same as offerings from the large chains. And meals from three of the most popular cuisines—American, Italian and Chinese—tallied even higher, close to 1,500 calories.

With 92 percent of restaurant meals delivering more calories than needed in one sitting, it's pretty easy to gain weight.

Half of all U.S. restaurants are individual establishments or part of a chain small enough to be exempt from having to provide nutritional information—such as calorie counts—so you're on your own for making careful choices.

Here are steps you can take.

First, watch out for the freebies, such as any tasty bites from the chef presented as you sit down, as well as a bottomless bread basket. Dipping bread in rather than spreading on butter cuts out saturated fat, but not calories, so skip it if you want to spend those calories elsewhere.

Ask questions about how dishes are made, and avoid ingredients that make it hard to eyeball portion sizes, like cheese, butter and cream. Better yet, ask what you can order without any fat and breading.

Preparation can make even low-cal vegetables less virtuous. Baked or steamed is always better than sauteed and fried.

Finally, balance out indulgent by eating healthier at home. If you eat out a lot, you might want to make your kitchen a snack- and dessert-free zone.


Explore further

Calories in popular restaurant chain meals 'excessive' warn experts

More information: The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has a detailed tip sheet on ordering healthier restaurant meals course-by-course.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Citation: When calorie counts aren't on the menu (2019, January 11) retrieved 22 July 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-01-calorie-menu.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
1 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more