Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Portion-Sizes: Calories Unleashed!!

Let me begin by giving you the reason for this lovely rant. I was at Olive Garden with some girl friends a few weeks ago and I was tempted of course to dive into their ravioli and lasagna and all the other starchy, bad-for-me goodness that Italians (and even fake ones like restaurants) know how to do.

However... I was also feeling the soon-to-come pain of guilt about it, so I decided to order off of their "light" menu. I should have known right away from the little blurb that said "All items are 800 calories or less and have ## amount of trans fat or less".

800 Calories.



Yeah.... so there was fair warning number one. Except it was odd that the menu I had didn't have individual caloric counts for the meals... just that warning overall. So, I went with a shrimp primavera that had a light sauce and broccoli too. It really was the best option they had.

It was delicious of course. And I had a blast with my girl friends and made a few new ones too. But I paid for it with how my body started to treat me. My meal was 750 calories. I felt like I had eaten a ton of food and was weighed down and sluggish. It wasn't until the next morning did I actually find out my caloric intake.

Needless to say... I felt ashamed of myself.

And so, my search began. I looked at some of my favorite dishes from restaurants (on their websites) and found exactly what a typical caloric count looked like both on and off of their "lighter option" menus.

Take a belly-busting gander:


-Their APPETIZERS range from 340c (Triple Dipper Chicken Crispers, No Dressing) to a lovely 2120c (Texas cheese fries with chili and ranch)

-A best-selling dish of Original Ribs (with no sides) is 2170c. A half rack is 1140c,

FROM THE LIGHT MENU: A classic sirloin with no sides is 250c. Not too bad if all you want is a tiny over-priced steak.

The light menu's heavyweight champ though is their Sante Fe chicken wrap with steamed broccoli. It's 680c.

Panera Bread

-One of my favorite Panera items is their signature Vermont Wht Cheddar Mac & Cheese. A full serving, which is about 2 cups worth, is 980c. Are. You. Serious?!

-For the health conscious, a whole grain bagel with 1 oz of plain cream cheese is gonna cost you 440c

-A nice sandwich that sounds absolutely good for you and is not would be the whole-sized chopped chicken salad and avocado. Yup, 570c.

Crispers (hey, they gotta be healthy, RIGHT?!)

- A blackened tuna entree with avocado salsa will set you back 361c.

They do redeem themselves with the options of lettuce cups. A Blackened Chicken cesar cup with all the fixins only sets you back 101c.

- A Southwest Chicken whole hot sandwich, with all the fixins including an artisan multigrain roll, blackened chicken, honey lime dressing, Monterey jack jalapeƱo cheese, red raw tomatoes, and raw green leaf lettuce with cost you 977c. A half size is 488c.

I could go on and on for days. The obesity problem America is having is not a whisper behind hands anymore. According to the CDC, nearly one third of all American adults are obese. So, think about your two best friends. Are they relatively fit? Yes? Then guess what. Yeah. Exactly.

They go on to say that almost 17% of the youth were obese. This should not happen! I'm sure there are parents out there who care about what goes into their and their children's bodies, but there is a larger population of people who do not. Parents take the kids to McDonald's now to shut them up. What type of parenting is that?! (BTW- as a childless adult I realize I do not know what it's like to be a parent. But I know what it's like to be the child of a parent who doesn't care what I eat.)

I can dedicate a whole 700 blogs to the obesity epidemic. After all, I'm the one in three. What I want to get down to is the portion size of restaurants and the fact that there is no one to stop them from doing it is what's force-feeding America today.

Now, I know there will be those who say that we all have the choice to stay at home, cook at home, and be healthy by avoiding restaurants, and I agree that we all should do that! But taking into account the average working American eats out 4-5 times a week and I don't see a lot of commercials on TV about staying home and cooking with the family... It's not the easy. We all know that. It's faster to grab pizza from the local joint than to cook it up yourselves. Plus, all those things we have to do to make pizza! Ugh! Sometimes the day has just been too long to really cook anything. I know; I've been there.

There was an article I read online (link: http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/05/25/052512-news-bigger-burgers/ ) that really spoke to me. This really only goes towards fast food, but think about how the world of food has changed in just 60ish years. That's only ONE GENERATION. How could that happen?!

This might mean I start bringing a scale to dinner when I go out. I have been so bold to do it before, why not make it part of my meal routine? I do it at home. It's called 


and we as Americans don't practice that anymore! I'm sick of being my size and I'm ready for a change!!!!

And on that high note. I'm done. I can't formulate thoughts clearly now that I'm all agitated and wound up. I'm going to shower and get out of the house and DO SOMETHING! :-)

I take my leave of you with some inspiring words...

"An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it. Truth stands, even if there be no public support.
It is self sustained."
-Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi,
Young India 1924-1926 (1927), p. 1285

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