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Nutrition – Do You Really Give a Damn?

One of the most frustrating things in being a Chef is nutrition – do your really give a damn? I currently work with a company that can not disclose nutritional information because we just don’t have the resources to do it. Menu’s change every 3 to 6 months in multiple locations. With fast food and chain restaurants it is a bit easier because it is the same menu across the country. When you change the menu you do it for all locations. Where I work… it would almost seem “mission impossible”.

But what bothers me even more is that people don’t seem to care about nutrition. Do you really give a damn?  I get the impression that you don’t. How can I say this? Well, I see over 800 people a day come through just the restaurant. I know what the top items are that are being consumed and they are the highest in calories and fat content.  For breakfast we carry an items that is estimated to be  over 3000 calories and it is one of the top 2 sellers. We tried taking it off the menu but we got hate mail and guest complaints. People wanted their calorie loaded breakfast. I even told a guest the estimated calorie count and they were shock but still ordered it. That blew me away. I personally have not tried this breakfast item because even a small bite can’t be healthy.

My other personal favorite is those that request desert after breakfast… so after eating a calorie loaded breakfast… can I get a cheesecake now??? Are you kidding me?? But then have you been to any restaurant recently… breakfast is starting to look like dessert. I saw pancakes with ice cream being served for breakfast at a local restaurant!!! Okay maybe I am the only one finding this appalling.

As for lunch and dinner… I constantly see more plates go out with double carbs. Meaning that if there is a vegetable on the plate it gets substituted out for fries or mashed potatoes. Anything fried is likely to sell. French fries are not a vegetable, they are a starch for those that didn’t know. They only add to the waist line, not take away from. Burgers still seem to be the choice for lunch and steak the choice for dinner. Starting to see more people ordering fish for their entrée. Grilled seems to be the preferred choice and baked is the next best thing. I have also started to notice a slight increase in the request for green vegetables. So not all is doom and gloom.

I have also had the privilege of working in a high volume food court serving over 9,000 guest daily. You want to know where the longest lines were? You guessed it… the hamburger line and the pizza line. Very little demand for the sandwich/salad or healthy option lines. I have had guest repeatedly tell me that their kid only eats hot dogs or pancakes or french fries or chicken nuggets. Very rarely do I get a parent that complains about better food options for their kid. Better yet… I rarely get a complaint from the guest that demands better nutrition and portion control.

I always seem to hear the biggest complaint,  people were not given enough food to eat. Personally I think our portion sizes are out of control. Really do you need an all you can eat buffet? Do you need what the industry calls “family style” eating where the server keeps bringing food to the table from a set menu? Olive Garden would be a good example of this with their all you can eat pasta dish. Seriously… there really is only so much pasta you can eat. Oh and not to be the bad guy but all those carbs can not be good for your waist line or your health.  The only all you can eat that I enjoy is a salad bar… but even that can be a dangerous thing. All those adds extra’s on the salad… how much dressing can you add? 

Back to portion control. Biggest offenders to me is the fast food industry. I remember when a small was a small. The other day I went to a fast food chain, (yep… it is a treat for myself) and ordered a medium drink and fries… HOLY COW… when did a medium become a Large size???? I was shocked… this is not what I grew up consuming. I looked at my friend and said, “And I am surprised that obesity is on the rise and we are in a health care crisis.” (sarcasm was the tone)

I am constantly telling my cooks to watch portion control. But we have become a society where bigger is better, from your house, car, TV, and food. We want more bang for our buck so we see having more food as having better value for our dollar. The amount of food that comes back into the kitchen to be thrown away is mind-blowing.

So my question to you… do you really care about what you are eating? Does it bother you that food portion is out of control? Does it bother you that your kids are getting more chemically processed foods then ever before? There is all this hype about nutrition and how nutrition can prevent many illnesses that we are facing today… but do you really give a damn?

Comment below… share your thoughts on this topic. Curious to hear what you are really thinking.

Cheers to Your Optimal Health!

Katrina van Oudheusden

June 29, 2010 Posted by | Diets, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Sports Nutrition | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Do McDonald Fries Taste So Good?

I remember reading this before but it is worth sharing again. If you get a chance I would suggest reading “Fast Food Nation.” In his book Eric Schlosser writes about some really eye-opening fast food topics. “Why do McDonald Fries Taste So Good” is just one small taste of what the book has to offer.

So Click Here to read this free chapter out of his book, “Fast Food Nation.”

Did you find this article interesting? Please share you comments below. Would love to hear from you!

Cheers To Your Health!

Katrina van Oudheusden

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Health and Wellness | , , , | 3 Comments


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