UPDATE: NOVEMBER 11, 2013: Wichita, Kansas is now a test market for rolling out the whole wheat pizza crust to their standard menu. Available for testing only in Wichita, the wheat crust option is $1 more, “due to the premium cost on the dough,” said Kym Money, director of marketing for Fugate Enterprises. She expanded, letting us know, “This is the same crust type that we use on our School Lunch pizzas, but topped with our regular toppings. It is very good, and I am hopeful it will be a successful test.”
Pizza Hut is known for its inventive approaches to the delivery pie, but few have been as impressive as their latest innovation. Pizza Hut has never been healthier, a requirement to let them keep up with the newly mandated school lunch nutrition guidelines. The brand expressed their excitement to us about being able to recreate its world-famous pizza in a way that kids could enjoy this Americanized comfort food.
“It’s a healthier option,” says Rachel Huber, MPH, RD, senior nutritionist for the Dallas-based Pizza Hut. While pizza could never be defined as a health food, Pizza Hut has made remarkable strides to make it a better part of a child’s school-day diet.
Stores facilitating the pizza for school lunch programs now have two sets of ingredients – one for the public and one for the public schools. In order for any school lunch program to receive its federal reimbursements they must meet new nutrition guidelines that took effect for the 2012-2013 school year. Pizza Hut didn’t want to miss the huge sales opportunity that is placement in these hungry cafeterias, so they made a better pizza.
A slice of the whole wheat cheese pizza has 270 calories and 8 grams of fat. The pizza beats the school lunch guideline expectations, with 26% of the calories coming from fat – the guideline is at or less than 30%. The slice of cheese also has three grams of fiber, attributed to the 51% whole wheat crust. Pizza Hut did not share the nutrition information for the other options – sausage, pepperoni, and veggie.
To make it, they went back to the drawing board, but not square one. (more…)
Eating out as a vegetarian who says no to dairy (most of the time) is a challenge. That’s why I don’t do it often. But fast food can be a necessary evil on a busy day of errands, if I forget my lunch, or if I’m traveling. While chain restaurants are being required to post calories, calories don’t provide the whole story. Lower calorie options can be loaded with sugar and lack protein, leaving you unsatisfied and headed toward a blood sugar crash.
Eating healthy on the go means being prepared and doing your research. It helps to have a go-to list of preselected options so you can grab and go. Try these fast food finds to make eating on the go a little healthier.
Denny’s Fit Fare menu: At IDEA Personal Trainer Institute West, I had the privilege of having breakfast with Kymberly and Alexandra from FunandFit.org. When Denny’s, which was across the street from our hotel, was suggested I was skeptical. I was pleasantly surprised however by their Fit Fare menu. Since they serve breakfast all day, try the Veggie Skillet. With egg whites, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms and potatoes it has 20 grams of protein and only 330 calories. While it may not be as fast they do offer take out service. (more…)
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
Ever notice how hard it is to find a whole grain in a restaurant? That’s why I was surprised—and thrilled—to see “Toasted Farro” on the menu of Washington D.C.’s highly acclaimed Blue Duck Tavern. Farro is an ancient form of wheat grown in the Middle East and Italy; it’s a wild ancestor to the cultivated wheat we use now.
I loved the dish—it was both chewy and hearty. The mild-tasting grain was infused with flavors of lemon and herbs. I managed to wrangle the recipe, below, from Chef Sebastien Archambault. A stickler for using fresh, local ingredients, Archambault grew up in France and Texas and has worked with world-famous chefs such as Alain Ducasse. I guess that unusual upbringing is what it takes to put whole grains on the menu! (more…)
Food costs at a restaurant are the most critical to the business’ bottom line. That’s why many restaurants cut corners and you’ll often find their kitchens piled high with nameless, low-quality ingredients to ensure they can mass produce meals at a value while still turning a profit. That’s not how it works at Chipotle though, where they say it’s “worth it to spend a little bit more.”
We spoke with Chris Arnold, PR director for Chipotle Mexican Grill, who told us Chipotle has some of the highest food costs in the restaurant industry. Even still, they are able to “invest more in quality food and still be very profitable.”
Chipotle just became the first American restaurant to work toward clearing its menu of all GMO foods, something that will equally drive food costs while improving quality. The company knows there will be cost implications, exactly how much at this time they can’t say, but it’s not uncharted territory for them. “Making decisions that result in higher food costs is nothing new to us,” said Arnold.
The brand was a supporter of Prop 37 last year, the California bill that aimed to require labeling of GMO ingredients on all foods sold in the U.S. It was then that the brand started to hold itself to the same standard it was asking of others. Arnold explained that their first move was purely disclosure, to let their customers know which foods had GMOs.
“We think people have the right to know what’s in their food,” said Arnold. (more…)
For many healthy-minded consumers, calorie postings on menus and menu boards greatly impact their decision when making food selections. While grabbing food on the go, it’s useful to know how this item will fit into a person’s allotted daily calories. Even though it may not feel like overeating, before you know it, you’ve consumed over half of the recommended daily calories.
For instance, see the calories in typical menu items. Seeing and internalizing the number of calories allows us to realize that snacks and seemingly healthy foods may, in fact, not be so healthy at all.
Our country’s obesity epidemic is growing exponentially much like the waistbands of many Americans. Just twenty years ago, no states had obesity rates above 15 percent. Today, 38 states have obesity rates more than 25 percent and the U.S. national obesity rate is a record 37.5 percent. Americans are eating more of their food outside their homes, whether dining out, purchasing prepared food, or grabbing a vending machine treat. (more…)