Demystifying the Restaurant Menu – I want it!

Have you ever looked at the nutritional label and wondered ‘yeah, but what percentage is that for my kids’?  I’m pretty sure that the percentage of sodium or fat in one serving is going to be different for my 35lb 3-year old than it is for my 6’4” husband.

And then there’s eating out. Although we tend to cook most of our meals at home – sometimes especially when we’re travelling somewhere, we end up in a restaurant that wouldn’t be our first choice (like for example the cafeteria of a certain provincial ferry service – not to name names).

This is when I really, really want nutritional information. These places can make me feel a little like Alice in Wonderland – not all is what it seems. You think that the salad is the healthiest but then remember that report about the salads that include almost-all-the-calories-you-need-in-a-day disguised as a good serving of veggies.  Wouldn’t it be easier to know what is actually healthy or what is actually a splurge or what is insanely artery clogging?

And although the Informed Dining program is a step in the right direction, I was at one of these restaurants recently but didn’t notice until I saw the promotional card on the table beside me. I looked around and saw that it was the only card on the only table in the whole restaurant.  So. A good start but I think we can do better.

Two things happening right now are encouraging. One is Bill C-460, a Federal Sodium Reduction Strategy introduced as a private member’s bill by Vancouver’s Libby Davies.  The other is the ‘We Want It’ campaign by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. They will send a letter to the restaurant of your choice – to encourage them to provide clear information on their menu options.

If you want it, like I want it then I urge you to ask for it!

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