#foodie dining out health rant

"Healthy" Products and Restaurant Items

I feel really annoyed when people end up buying or ordering food trying to be healthy about their options, when in turn, a lot of “healthy” options at restaurants/grocery stores are quite the contrary. So many salad items at restaurants are still high in calorie and fat content. Sure, there are the vegetables, but there’s also the creamy dressing and other additions that really fatten up the salad. You are much better off ordering an appetizer or a light chicken/fish entree and practicing portion control that way.

Then, there’s the “healthy” food you find in grocery stores. Healthy chips, healthy packaged foods, etc. Hmm, upon close examination of the nutritional facts though, most of these foods aren’t necessarily THAT much better for you. Is it really low in calorie and fat? Is it high in fiber or protein? What about the serving size–how much is a serving? 1 bag? Or is it half of it?

It is no wonder we as a society struggle with portions and trying to be healthy–after all, most of us would pick up a “small” bag of pretzels and eat it, assuming we are consuming one serving. But then you look at the facts and realize that the bag actually holds TWO servings–so you’re eating twice the amount of calories listed on the nutrition facts. Not a fun surprise huh?

This brings me to another related rant: I feel like a lot of people think that organic = healthy. Not necessarily. Organic simply means that the food was processed in as natural of a state as possible. No chemicals used, nothing unnatural–just pure natural goodness. But there’s still the calories. I walked into Trader Joe’s a few days ago to buy groceries and was annoyed at looking at all the nutritional facts of the foods/products there. Oh, buy some pumpkin bread..but wait, 1/16th of a slice has how many calories?! 360 calories (or somewhere around there…)…that’s a lot of calories there. You could eat an equivalent of several fruits, vegetables, whole grains for that amount of calories.

Ugh…and I am sure some people venture into the store, thinking “Oh, I’m buying organic, therefore I am being healthy!” Yes, maybe you are being healthier by not consuming chemically-processed foods, but you’re still eating a ton of calories if you’re not watching your portions.

So in conclusion, be aware of what you eat–try to go for real fruits and vegetables when possible, not all these other products that claim they are healthy alternatives to the real thing. Watch your portion sizes; you don’t have to eat that whole plate of food at the restaurant if you don’t want to.