Eating out

I'm eating out at the weekend at Prezzo (not my choice). I looked through their menu; some salads and dishes from the grill, so far, so good. There was an option to search for vegetarian, gluten free and low fat, so I pressed the low fat option. Choices came back with 1 side salad and fries! But elsewhere on the site they mention a low fat salad dressing, so I'll be asking for that on a main salad dish.

There is talk of making restaurants include calories on their menus, but it's not compulsory, so only a few venues are doing it. I'm all in favour of it - I think it will help a lot of people who are not necessarily dieting to understand the calorific value of foods, but some might argue if they're having a treat they shouldn't have to feel guilty about the calories. What does everyone else think?

11 Replies

  • I'm a bit torn on this; I don't think knowing the calorie intake will automatically spoil the treat. It certainly needn't make us feel guilty. However, that said it can become easy to obsess about every number.

    Much better for the long term, IMHO, to have an appreciation of foods that don't overstimulate insulin, portion sizes and food groups in a balanced meal, aiming as near as we can.

  • I like presto their portions are bug , so order a halo portion of pasta dish, and salad?

  • Hi Jane_Ski,

    I have to say that I really appreciated going to the restaurant called "The Slug and Lettuce" as they had a section in their menu which was specifically called 'Lighter Bites" or something similar (I can't actually remember the title they used), but basically it included a section where there were some calorie counted meals that were around 500 to 700 calories, and they were really tasty options. I appreciated being able to choose from that list, so I think that I would definitely be pleased if more items were listed with the calories on menus. Like you say, there are often lots of 'hidden' calories in what may seem like healthy options on menus - therefore labelling things would probably help, and personally I'd prefer that.

    Lowcal :-)

  • My thoughts too low cal, giving the message that being good is not boring!

    Or suffering on the taste front

  • IMHO a treat is just that. I feel that a meal out, in good company, that I don't have to cook and no one has to wash the dishes is a treat to be enjoyed to the full. It all depends on how far you're into your healthy eating regime. If you have been good for a prolonged period, I can't see that even an extra 1,000 KCal is going to have any lasting impact, providing you resume your healthy regime the following days.

    I don't think I could face a lifetime of missing out on social occasions, but that's me. I'm convinced that if I can be good 99% of the time, the other 1% is of no concern.

    In many restaurants I've ordered items which were not on the menu, such as, parma ham and melon, prawn cocktail, sun dried tomatoes on toast, anchovy tomato and mozzarella on toast etc. I'm sure that if you ask, there may be more available than is on the menu. After all, they will have the ingredients to hand. They want to keep your custom after all.

  • I ate in Prezzo a couple of weeks ago with a friend - not particularly our choice but her sister had given her vouchers - I had the salmon salad and the salad was really nice, would have preferred salmon not smoked but there wasn't the choice. They did really try to push the bread and starters tho, we had to say no thanks three times! Might not be so pushy at the one you're going to but be prepared lol☀️

  • I think showing calories helps

  • Pizza express show calories and have a number of options at less than 500 cals

  • I searched calorie content for a Thai restaurant I was going a few weeks ago; it was really useful and did make me make a better choice (which I actually enjoyed more than my usual Pad Thai). Maybe they could have a menu with calories people could ask for? Like in very upmarket restaurants where there's a menu without prices for the 'ladee' .......

  • I like seeing the calories on the menu, it makes me choose something with slightly lower calories and really think about what im ordering especially since at home the same meal will be lower. often it means I will choose the light bite burger which is just as filling (less cals) and I will eat the whole thing instead of eating a big burger for the sake of it and then I don't feel guilty.

    it also means I can work out in advance if I can get a dessert! lol

  • 2 of my favourite restaurants are Waga Mamas and Nandos, both of which have on-line calories for their menus. It allows me to find out how many calories the food I want is going to "cost" me or to choose lower calorie options. Without this information the temptation to just eat with wild abandon is too easy - a 3-course meal can easily rack up 3000 calories. Sometimes, due to the way something is prepared/cooked, it is easy to think you are taking the lower cal option when it has hidden calories you can't take into account.

    This way I can budget a few calories from other days of the week to help me out with the "cost" of that meal and eat what I want guilt free, or to know that I have stuck within my calorie allowance for the day despite eating out. I get a buzz from doing this preparation and the anticipation of what I'm going to have and how good it will taste, too.

    Definitely in favour of calories on menus or at least on a website you can view in advance.

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