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Major restaurant chains not friendly to health conscious patrons

» Jenelle Grewell jgrewell@my.apsu.edu

Our society is obsessed with food. Whether it’s cooking food, eating food or watching television shows about food, we seem to revolve our lives around it. Even if a person is a health nut, he or she still bears an obsession with what goes into his or her body. I know I am not alone with my love for food, and I know there are other health conscious food lovers out there.

The problem with being a calorie counter is eating out. I love getting together with friends over a meal. However, it is very difficult to figure out exactly what I am putting into my body when I scarf down a club sandwich. Some restaurants provide nutritional information upon request, but I have discovered when I ask, there is usually an awkward silence from the server followed by muttering about asking the manager.

This is concerning for me, not only as someone who is trying to look out for my health, but also for those with diabetes or high blood pressure.

Worse yet, when one actually looks at the nutritional menu, a lot of seemingly healthy items are loaded with calories, sodium, carbs or sugar. It is never safe for a person to assume the healthiness of a particular food item.

Some may argue a solution to this issue would be to eat at home, cooking your own meals, but I don’t think it would be fair to exclude myself from an activity many Americans turn to for get-togethers.

In March 2010, President Barack Obama signed a health law requiring restaurant chains to post calorie content information on their menus and drive-thru signs. Essentially, I should not need to ask my server to retrieve the calorie count for me. It should be in front of me when I open the menu.

I would be satisfied if all major chain restaurants required a section of the menu to list healthier options or put a symbol denoting items with low calorie counts. Sadly, I can only name a handful of major restaurants that make life easier for the average health nut.

Fast food restaurants — though they should be avoided if one is concerned with health but are nevertheless convenient in a working college student life — do post nutritional information inside their venues.

I have seen a few put the information on their wrappers. So far, however, I have only seen Jack-In-The-Box post the calorie count right on their drive-thru menu.

Subway offers a very helpful portable nutritional menu I reference on occasion. Fast food chains can offer something similar if changing all their menus would be too much of a hassle. I would be satisfied with anything they can offer to an on-the-go patron.

My only hope is major chains will soon be in compliance with Obama’s health initiative. Until then, I will be stuck hoping and praying wherever I eat will give me enough information to make sure I fit into my pants the next day. TAS

About Aaliyah Mitchell

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