Due to our busy, hectic schedules, more of us are eating out these days, and we all know how hard it can be to eat healthy at a restaurant. From growing portion sizes to sneaky ways that restaurants add extra butter, other high-calorie foods and salt to meals, eating healthy can be tough! But a new study from Penn State researchers reports that most restaurant chefs could easily slash 10 percent of calories in their dishes without customers even noticing. It may not seem like a lot, but even cutting 100 calories out of American’s diet a day can have huge health and weight-loss benefits, the researchers say.
The survey asked 432 chefs, restaurant owners and culinary executives from across the country to assess their perceptions of serving healthy foods in restaurants. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they could trim off 10 percent of the calories in meals without customers noticing differences in taste, and 21 percent said they could trim off at least 25 percent of the calories. The easiest way to cut calories, respondents say, is to first reduce portion size and second reduce calories per bite by reducing fat and adding in more fruits and vegetables.
So, if this is true, you’re probably asking: Why aren’t there more healthy options on menus now? In the study, 32 percent of chefs were concerned with consumer demand, 24 percent cited the need for staff skills and training, and 18 percent blamed high ingredient cost for the lack of healthy meal options. Almost all (71 percent) agreed on one thing though: Low-calorie or not, it has to taste good!
Do you wish restaurants had healthier options? Tell us about it in the comments!