Tag Archives: restaurants

5 Ways to Make Your Community a Healthier Place to Call Home

One of my favorite books is The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest. Author Dan Buettner looks at areas in the world, dubbed Blue Zones, with large populations of people who live past 100.

He’s taken their life lessons to create The Power 9. These nine habits create a “blueprint” to living a longer and healthier life. The interesting thing is none of the people he studied consciously followed these Power 9 or set a goal to live to be 100. They just did. Their lifestyles and communities were set up to make long life possible.

green hands

Would you say the same of yours?

My community is working on it. We are working on taking the Power 9 principles and making Springfield, MO a healthier place to live. There are a lot of exciting ideas floating around, especially after Buettner’s visit to our fair city this month. In his presentations, he gave us examples of work in other towns (and almost the entire state of Iowa) using the Power 9 to create an environment that supports overall healthy and longevity.

Do you want to make your community a healthier place to live? Here are great ways to get started from his talk: (more…)

Sugar is Not the Problem in the Obesity Epidemic, Where you Eat is

Health experts are giving sugar a reprieve in the case against obesity. While sugar and its many processed variations are running amok in the food we eat at home or away, fats, oils, flour and cereal are more to blame for America’s continuous bloat.

Sugars Fats and Oils

According to the CDC, 25.6% of Americans have a BMI greater than thirty, firmly planting them into the obese category. Since we tend to lie about how tall we are and how much we weigh, the figure is probably a bit generous, but it’s a 10.3% increase since 20 years ago, and that’s alarming.

A New York Times article reports that Americans are consuming 448 more daily calories— or 20% more—than they were in 1970. The Department of Agriculture says 242 of those calories are from fats and oils, 167 are from flour and cereal, and only 35 are from sugars. (more…)

“Grease Puck of Dough” is a Better Name for Pizza Hut’s Big Pizza Sliders

Is there anything more American than pizza? Well, specifically, Pizza Hut’s version of the Italian dish? Maybe the only way Pizza Hut could make the famous food more American is make it in a “fun size.” Well, this year, they’ve done just that. Pizza Hut recently introduced Big Pizza Sliders. So what’s the deal? Are they a better option? Or just another fast-food gimmick?

Well, let’s start with the stats. The Big Pizza Sliders are sold as three sliders for $5 or up to 9 sliders for $10. Consumers can mix and match and get up to three combinations of up to three toppings each. They end up being about 3.5 inches in diameter and can range from 230 calories for a plain cheese slider, up to 350 calories for a beef or sausage slider. The fat content ranges from 8-19 grams depending on toppings. (more…)

Fast Food Industry Fails to Serve Healthy Fish Sandwiches – 8 of the Best and Worst

In case you were wondering why the ads for fast-food fish increase this time of year – here’s your answer. Catholics started Lent on Wednesday, a 40-day observance wherein an individual fasts or abstains from something worldly, including abstinence from meat on Fridays. Catholics are permitted fish, and the restaurant industry takes full advantage. While grabbing a fish sandwich from a drive-thru seems innocent enough considering how healthful fish can be, those combos are often no better than the cheeseburgers.

Once you batter, fry, slather with mayo, and stuff fish inside a big white, starchy bun, you’re left with alarmingly high sodium and diet-crushing calorie counts.

We scanned restaurant menus to organize a list of the healthiest fish sandwiches, but our direction had to change when we couldn’t find any. That’s right – the fast food industry fails when it comes to serving a sandwich that meets our nutritional criteria, which is 500 calories and 500 milligrams of sodium or less for a meal. A couple come close with modifications, but they often don’t leave room for any sides.

McDonald’s Filet O’Fish Sandwich “wins” for the “healthier” fast food fish sandwich, as long as you ditch the cheese and maybe even the tartar sauce. The Long John Silver’s grilled salmon option is the best meal we found, and you even get to order corn with it! And for cold sandwiches, Panera barely wins with its tuna sandwich (barely because the sodium is still too high).

Take a look at the break down of eight of the most popular fast food restaurants and why you should avoid their fish menu. If you’ve got to go meatless on Friday, consider their vegetarian options – or just pack a lunch! (more…)

McDonald’s Commits to Serving Certified Sustainable Seafood at All Locations

McDonald’s isn’t usually one to make headlines for positive news, but that’s just what they’ve done this week. The company announced yesterday that it will commit to serving only certified-sustainable seafood at all of its locations, making it the first U.S. national restaurant chain to do so.

This, of course, is big news for sustainability advocates as McDonald’s is the one of the largest single buyers of fish in the U.S.

Consumers will notice the change not only in the company’s packaging, which will now include a blue ecolabel of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). But also in a marketing effort which will roll out as soon as the changes are official in early February. In addition to their famous Filet-O-Fish sandwich, McDonald’s will also launch a new product called Fish McBites, which will be made with MSC-certified, wild-caught Alaska pollock.

As reported by the Huffington Post, the MSC is an independent non-profit organization that sets standards for sustainable fishing based on the impacts a fishery has on its ecosystem, its fish stock health, and its fishery management system. (more…)

McDonald’s Posting Nutrition Information on Menus Nationwide, but Will it Do Any Good?

Ever wonder how many calories are in a McDonald’s meal? If you do want to know just how nutritionally void that Big Mac is, you would have to pull up the information on the restaurant’s web site. Until now!

Today, the corporation announced that they will list nutrition information on restaurant and drive-thru menus nationwide. President Obama’s new health regulation requires restaurant chains to post calorie information. McDonald’s move comes ahead of federal government regulation that could require major chains to post nutrition information as early as next year.

Jan Fields, president of McDonald’s USA, said in a press release that the company volunteered to give out their nutrition information. “We believe it will help educate customers.”

I asked our resident dietitian, Mary Hartley, what she thinks of McDonald’s providing their nutrition information, and she said, “It’s good publicity and they (McDonalds) know it really won’t make a difference, but who knows what will happen over time. Many people have no idea of how many calories they need and so the information is meaningless.” She points to the fact that New York City has required calories posted on menus for several years and it’s done little to change buyer behavior there. (more…)

Want a Healthy Kids Menu? Hyatt Figured it Out with For Kids By Kids

I’m kind of a soap box mom when it comes to kid nutrition. I just can’t imagine few things being more important than my daughter’s health and development of her eating habits. Like good manners, potty training, and a wild imagination, they are skills that will last her a lifetime.

Her very favorite foods include avocado, blackberries, shrimp, black beans, and peaches. She thinks dried apricots and pistachios are candy. And on the rare occasion we get a “real” treat, a bite or two of a shared ice cream cone is suffice. Given all of this, imagine how hard it is to take her out to eat with us. Between my refusal to give her fried junk, and her disinterest in eating it, the standard fare of a kids menu leaves a heck of a lot to be desired.

That is, until you visit the Hyatt. I often rave about the breakfast at The Hyatt’s Harvest Kitchen here in Wichita, calling it the best breakfast in the city. It’s the only Harvest in the country, but Executive Chef Paul Freimuth says another is in development in California with plans to expand further. I should think they’d want to – with locally sourced ingredients and attention to quality, the entire menu is like a work of art. While my daughter loves the yogurt bar, fresh fruit, and scrambled eggs on Sunday mornings, the Hyatt is now offering her and other kids many more options at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

This past July, Hyatt introduced its For Kids By Kids menu. It’s a kid-friendly menu that is super healthy, to satisfy parents, and full of foods kids like best, to keep the little ones happy. Hyatt didn’t just dream it up on a whim, they partnered with 11-year-old Haile Thomas, a young chef who is committed to the health of herself and her peers. (more…)

6 Ways to Eat Like a Skinny Person

Think people who maintain a healthy weight avoid junk food or are slaves to the gym? You may be right, but there’s a missing link you should know about. In fact, the way you eat can be just as important as what you eat, as evidenced in a study from Cornell University. During the study, researchers watched 213 diners at Chinese restaurant buffets and they found some fascinating differences in the ways thin and overweight people ate.

Want to eat like a skinny person? These tips should help:

Choose Wisely. Thinner study participants poured over food choices before filling their plates. Choose only foods you enjoy and that satisfy you—then leave the other stuff off your plate.

Chew Slowly. A difference of only three chews per bite separated the thin from the overweight in the study, but the difference isn’t as small as you think. In fact, increased chewing per bite of food has been linked to lower body mass index. (Your eating speed may also affect your diabetes risk; read more.) Chewing impacts satiety, so take some time with every bite. And be sure to check in with yourself throughout the meal, registering your hunger and fullness levels using the Hunger Scale.

Forget the Fork. Could chopsticks be a get-slim secret? The study certainly points to a difference—heavier participants tended to use forks to shovel in the food, while slender eaters slowed down their eating pace with chopsticks. (more…)

Ordering Food Online Shields Us from Public Food Shame

No matter what the most secure person says, we’re all a little self-conscious. We all care somewhat about what others think of us. Perhaps one of the most nerve wracking experiences for us all is eating. Whether we feel awkward about how we eat or what we eat, the act is often an uncomfortable one to share with onlookers. And if we’re not the healthiest eater, the process of ordering food may feel like judgement day.

As drive-thrus became more prevalent as I grew up, I recall hearing testimonies from obese people about their orders. I specifically remember a woman confessing that she’d always order two drinks so the employees didn’t think she was ordering all that food for herself. That way she could grab her over-sized meal in near anonymity and drive off with little notice.

Today, those who order food online may be pulling a similar “trick” in larger proportions. April Fulton recently reported on NPR’s food blog, “The Salt,” about a study conducted regarding online food ordering. The study was examined by Ryan McDevitt, an assistant professor at the University of Rochester’s Simon Graduate School of Business. McDevitt evaluated 160,000 orders from a pizza chain from a four-year period. He determined that online orders by the same people who had ordered on the phone or in person previously were 15 percent more complex, 4 percent more expensive, and 6 percent higher in calories. McDevitt pointed out the statistic that when online, people quadrupled their bacon toppings. (more…)

World’s First Pizza Museum to Serve Food with a Conscience

Pizza is everywhere in our culture, whether we realize it or not. It’s the one food that most people can agree that they like, and a favorite of millions.

It can be found at chic restaurants as well as gas stations, and is eaten hot, cold, and even for breakfast. So isn’t it hard to believe there is no museum dedicated to the preservation of all things pizza? Well, not until now. One man, Brian Dwyer, is about to change that with the opening of a Philadelphia pizza museum and restaurant, Pizza Brain, in August.

What interests us as much as a whole building dedicated to pizza memorabilia, however, is how Dwyer and his friends plan to operate their restaurant. Besides wanting to be thought of as a family restaurant where everyone is welcome to affordable, familiar pizza, Pizza Brain is also committed to working in a “socially, ethically, and environmentally responsible fashion,” according to their website. (more…)