Friday, January 23, 2009

Applebee's fattening up dieters?

In an effort to help dieting folks stick to their (less-caloric) guns while dining out, Applebee's recently rolled out a health-conscious menu, displaying calories, fat and Weight Watchers points next to lighter menu items. Even if you're not on a diet, it's easy to appreciate how this makes it easier to find something tasty and healthy at a restaurant, which is often no small feat. That endeavor gets an A+ in my book, but the chain loses points thanks to the next part of the story. When a news station ordered the healthy items and had them analyzed for nutritional content, the dishes were waaaay off what they promised to be. More fat. More calories. More WW points. It's hard enough to eat right when you're at a restaurant, but finding out your virtuous attempts don't even matter is a real buzz kill for dieters hoping to budge the scale.

The news broke in the summer (I just heard about on the Today Show this a.m., thanks Meredith!), so I'm late to the party in writing about it now, but as I contemplate my midday meal, it's on my mind. (This morning my husband hijacked last night's lefties--salmon vindaloo with Basmati rice, yum!--and we're out of bread. So I'm buying lunch in the Loop today.) I'm sorta craving Chipotle and according to the, I can get a Burrito Bowl salad with chicken, black beans, veggies and salsa for a lean 479 calories. But, is that really how many calories Chipotle salads have? I'm not so sure. Now, there's nothing wrong with splurging when you're eating out (um, have I mentioned my addiction? Forget the sandwich, gimme the fries!), but when you think you're being healthy and you've been misled, that stinks. The only way to be really sure of what we're eating for lunch, friends, is to brown bag it. I'll get back on track with that next week. Posted by Liz

Photo grabbed from PunkJr at flickr.

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