Ordering your calories

Are you the kind of person who likes to know roughly how many calories you’ll be consuming when you eat out? I go back and forth between wanting to know… and not. On our second date, Mr. M took me out to an omakase (loosely mean’s chef’s choice) sushi dinner. This was problematic because I was currently working with a trainer who had narrowed my sushi meals down to 4 pieces of nigiri… and that was it. So when the plates of unknown sushi kept coming round after round, I decided to throw my plan out the window for the night… because I’d rather get to know Mr. M over a great meal I was enjoying than lose him instantly with the ever-famous LA line, “I can’t eat that. I’m on a diet.”

California’s new “calorie count” law just when into effect at the beginning of the month… which has honestly made me dread a trip to any chain restaurant for fear of what might be revealed to me about my favorite menu items. All restaurants with 20+ locations in the state have to provide patrons with the nutritional information of the items they’re serving. By 2011, they’ll be showing up on the menus next to the items you’re ordering. That happens to include 123 different fast-food/chain restaurants… and 17,000 restaurants in total. The law has already been enacted in Seattle & NYC… and it’s causing some restaurants to change their menus as well!


Like my favorite indulgent dish (which I ordered FAR too often when I lived across the street from the Cheesecake Factory)… Fried Macaroni & Cheese. Now trust me, I knew this stuff wasn’t bran & tofu, but I know I would have made a more conscious effort to split them or opt for the cheese cake instead if I knew they were 1570 calories with 69 grams of fat! Really?!?! Fine… I’ll back away from the balls… except on birthday indulgences…

I’m pretty sure most people will be astounded by how many calories are on the menus, but do you think it’ll really alter people’s behavior? I guess we’ve got nothing to lose, and that whole “no smoking” thing worked out to be quite the healthy choice for our state in the end…


  • Cathleya

    This sounds a bit odd, but showing calorie counts haven’t altered my fast food eating in the slightest, but if I’m out at a restaurant, it might sway me to order lighter. I guess I’m used to looking up calorie/fat counts at McDonalds/Taco Bell, and I’m not really shocked by the numbers. BUT, because portions are so much larger at restaurants (and yes, I usually am in the clean plate club!), I know the numbers will knock me on my feet, and if the numbers don’t dissuade me, they might just get me to control my portions a little, which is a good thing!

    I’m not one to deny myself indulgences. It makes me cranky… as you’ve witnessed! :)

    All in all, I think it’s a good thing for our health! And, unlike the tobacco industry, that only has the option to put out 1 or 2 products, the food industry can in turn do everything they can to put out healthier food in order to get their calorie/fat counts to drop… which is good for all of us!

  • Michelle

    I dread calorie counts in foods I love. Knowledge is power when it comes to trying to lose weight but I just get that guilty feeling when I eat something I know I “shouldn’t” and I don’t want to eat with guilt. That takes the fun out of it. I understand the reason for doing it and it might change my eating habits a bit due to that guilt.

  • Krista

    I love this option in NYC. It really does help me make better decisions. When I leave the city I missing having this information on the menu boards or within the menu.