Tag Archives: restaurants

Chipotle Puts its Dairy Out to Pasture

Chipotle, how do I love thee? Let me keep counting the ways! This place keeps getting better and better. Chipotle just announced that effective this June, 100 percent of their stores’ sour cream and 65 percent of their restaurants’ cheese will be made from pasture-raised cows.

A pasture-raised cow is one that has daily access to outdoor pastures. Additionally, the animals are never fed hormones, only a vegetarian diet. The leading Mexican grill chain has made some bold and progressive moves in the last year, challenging the existing quality found in typical fast-food. Chipotle has already made a commitment to serve only naturally raised meats that contain no hormones or antibiotics. As a further commitment to health and sustainability, Chipotle buys its produce from farms located within 250 miles of each location. They also support family farms with The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which helps farms with sustainable practices and promotes healthy eating for kids. (more…)

When It Comes to Kid’s Menus, Tell Your Kid to Grow Up

I intend on my son growing up to be a man. Height-wise, he’s nearly there and he’s only eight. With every passing stage I mourn a little for the little baby I once had. I refuse to let him grow up too fast.

He still mispronounces a few things and I won’t correct him because sometimes, the fact that he calls it a “mow-lawner” is the only connection I have to the tiny baby boy he once was. We won’t let him watch many television shows, we don’t allow the word “butt” in our house, and there’s serious controls on our Internet. Mature life will come soon enough, he needs to be a child for as long as possible. However, there is one aspect of being a kid I have never permitted with my son. When it comes to his diet, I refuse to treat my son like a child.

As I read the latest report about the nutrition content found in the so-called “healthy” kids meals I rolled my eyes. One restaurant’s hamburger was higher in fat than than three of another fast food joint’s chicken nuggets. And ‘fast-food place A’ serves a grilled cheese with way more sodium than “fast-food place B’s” corn dog. So it seems, in our tireless effort to get our kids healthy, we’re splitting hairs over whose junk food may have tweaked the recipe enough to be slightly lower in fat or cholesterol to earn the title as a “healthier option.” (more…)

Ask Fast Food Employees for the Inside Scoop on Menu Ingredients and Preparation

When you are in a rush and hungry, we’re all guilty of turning to fast food. It is quick and convenient. However, it’s anything but healthy.

People hear the horror stories about fast food chain employees who tamper with food. Just last week, one diner found a finger at Arby’s. Yet, we rarely get to hear about what is actually in our food. Most employees are preparing food in a harmless fashion for consumers. They get to see all the content that goes into a one-dollar hamburger. This isn’t another article about the terrible things employees do to food, instead it is about how people are blinded by marketing tactics and advertisements.

A recent thread on Reddit asked restaurant employees to share what they know about the preparation, ingredients, and processing of the foods they served. (more…)

Baked Sweet Potatoes at Wendy’s are a Fast Food Must

A commercial for three new sides at Wendy’s caught my attention this weekend. They lead with macaroni and cheese, my “desert island” food of choice; then, chili cheese fries; and rounded out the trio with a baked sweet potato. Now we’re talking!

Baked sweet potatoes are one of my very favorite foods. Particularly, I love them for lunch. In fact, they are a staple around the DietsInReview.com office; someone is always warming one up at noon. I usually bake two or three over the weekend and then take halves to work each day (perfect with my black bean turkey chili). Now, it’s good to know if I forget and really need something healthy and quick, Wendy’s can take care of me.

Leery of even the healthiest foods at a fast food restaurant, I went straight to the restaurant’s web site. There I learned I have nothing to fear, except maybe the cinnamon butter spread.

The potato itself is listed as just a sweet potato, no other additives. They bake this for an hour in each store, and then serve it to you piping hot. It has 260 calories, 0 grams of fat, 9 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and more than 1000% of your daily need for vitamin A. These are the nutritional stats for any sweet potato. The ten-ounce sweet potato that they serve (or .6 pounds) is a whopper of a potato; it’s a full four ounces heavier than what is considered a large sweet potato. (more…)

Applebee’s Joins Kids LiveWell and Offers Healthier Children’s Menu

Applebee’s, the world’s largest casual dining chain, just announced good news. The restaurant will be joining Kids LiveWell, a great program that helps parents and children make more healthful choices when eating out at a restaurant.

The company has received the Kid LiveWell endorsement on their children’s grilled chicken sandwich with steamed broccoli and 1 percent milk or apple juice. The side options can also include orange juice or a side of applesauce.

Menu items can get a Kids LiveWell endorsement if they meet the nutritional criteria, which were created from the standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Kids LiveWell program was created by the National Restaurant Association and Healthy Dining. (more…)

Hot Dog Stuffed Pizza Takes Grotesque Restaurant Food Too Far

Restaurant industry, we have had enough! Are you deliberately trying to gross us out? Do you get a kick out of making grotesque concoctions in your test kitchens and then send them out to mass market as a punch line?

This Hot Dog Stuffed Crust pizza from Pizza Hut is about the nastiest thing we’ve seen come from a restaurant in quite a while. While we’re glad it’s not available in the U.S. (at least for now, just give it time), we feel for the residents of the United Kingdom being subjected to this culinary nonsense.

Jillian Michaels coined the term best when she started describing this over-processed junk “Frankenfoods,” meaning they resemble food but calling it that would be a disservice to all of the things that are actually food.

Dressed like any other pizza with cheese, pepperoni, peppers, and onions, the Hot Dog Stuffed Crust pizza has the slimy little sausage tucked inside the crust and comes with a free mustard drizzle. The chest pains for dessert and gastric bloat are also free. (more…)

Burger King’s New Menu Isn’t Any Healthier

Fast food giant Burger Kingis launching 10 new menu items as an attempt to gain back their place as the number two fast food burger chain after being edged out by Wendy’s last year. This is the first time since opening in 1954 that Burger King has undergone a menu expansion of this size. When you see the new items on Burger King’s menu, you might think you wandered into a McDonald’s. The new items Burger King is offering bear a striking resemblance to items that number one burger chain McDonald’s has introduced over the past few years. Burger King now offers chicken strips, caramel frappe coffees, Caesar salads and strawberry-mango smoothies.

There’s no denying that Burger King’s previous stance to cater to young men in their menu offerings has seen a struggle recently. Between a down economy and people looking for healthier options, Burger King’s focus on big beefy burgers has helped contribute to lax sales. “Consumers wanted more choices,” said Steve Wiborg, president of Burger King’s North America operations. “Not just healthy choices, but choices they could get at the competition.” The new menu items offer consumers those choices as well as some healthier options than the standard Whopper and fries. (more…)

3 New Weight Watchers Menu Items Unveiled at Applebee’s

Eatin’ good in the neighborhood just got a lot easier to do if you’re on Weight Watchers. Applebee’s, who has worked in partnership with the weight loss brand since 2004, just announced its extension of the relationship. To celebrate, they’re unveiling three new menu items endorsed by Weight Watchers.

Diners will find a new steak, shrimp, and chicken entree upon their next visit to Applebee’s, and each meal boasts 12 PointsPlus or less. These meals also appear on their Under 550 Calories Menu.

Grilled Jalapeno-Lime Shrimp
offers a generous serving of grilled chipotle lime shrimp and black bean corn salsa flavored with lime juice and cilantro. This meal comes with mixed grilled zucchini, marinated tomatoes, onions and red peppers with steamed white rice. This meal has 8 Weight Watchers PointsPlus.


Creamy Parmesan Chicken
is a juicy grilled chicken breast with an au gratin Parmesan sauce served with sides of steamed spinach and mushroom rice pilaf. This meal has 12 Weight Watchers PointsPlus.


Cabernet Mushroom Sirloin is a cut of Applebee’s seven-ounce grilled House Sirloin with sautéed Portobello mushrooms and onions in a Napa Valley Cabernet sauce. Sides include steamed herbed potatoes and garlic broccoli. This meal has 12 Weight Watchers PointsPlus


While Weight Watchers members can use the app, member site, or materials from meetings to learn the PointsPlus values in countless restaurant meals, Applebee’s is the only restaurant where customers will find approved meals right on their menu. With lean cuts of meat, vegetable sides, and flavorful ingredients, diet or not this would be a smart menu to order from. We’re especially glad to see cooking preparations like steaming and grilling used.

We’d still love to see a few minor alterations to these menu items, and you should at least try to ask for them when you order. This will reduce the calories further, or the PointsPlus values, or simply add healthier items to your meal. You can make these requests to any menu item at any restaurant.

1. No white rice. Ask your server if you can swap the white rice (read: void of nutritional value) for a serving of brown or wild rice.

2. Skip the oils. Ask your server if your vegetable sides can be steamed, and if the preparation involves oil ask them to leave it off.

3. Sauces on the side. Ask your server if the au gratin Parmesan sauce can be served on the side instead smothered on top of the chicken breast.

All in all, it looks like Applebee’s and Weight Watchers have really worked to provide meals that diners don’t really have to think twice about. If you’re adding spirits to your meal, consider one of their 100-calorie SkinnyBee margaritas (just skip dessert if you do!).

Half-Portions Offer Restaurant Goers Calorie Savings

entree and side dish of riceResearchers found that one third of customers opt for half portions of rice or noodles when given the option, even when the cost in not significantly less. Cutting down the serving size of starchy sides like these can represent a major calories savings, even when the entree remained the same.

The research was conduced at a popular Chinese restaurant not far from Duke University, typically frequented by students, staff and visitors to the campus hospital. The standard serving of rice or noodles is 10 ounces for 400 calories. Patrons where asked, “Would you like a half-order to save 200 calories?” Depending on the day, 14 to 33 percent of patrons said yes. Moreover, those who ordered the smaller side dishes also ate less, the researchers determined.

The researchers also tested to see if adding calorie counts to menus and offering a small discount for smaller servings would motivate patrons to eat less, however these changes did not affect ordering habits. We’re more likely respond to visual cues to tell us how much to eat, rather than slowing down and waiting for our bodies to trigger feelings of fullness.


Indianapolis Local Restaurants Weigh in on Super Bowl Specials, Price Gouging, and Menus

Even with road closures, more time spent in traffic, and parking rates unusual for the Circle City, it is hard to find anyone complaining in Indianapolis. We are all excited and proud to be a Super City. Despite the spike in business and catering orders that restaurant owners were already seeing the two weeks before the Super Bowl, I was able to interview a few local business owners to hear the truth about how they are or are not doing things differently for the Super Bowl.

One major rumor is that restaurants are jacking up prices to gouge out of towners this weekend, but Monon Food Company in Broad Ripple and Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company/Scotty’s Brewhouse assured me that they are not. The Scratch Truck food truck may have to cover additional expenses during the week leading up to the Super Bowl because they will be hiring additional staff and renting out extra space for all the food preparation that they need to do, which they anticipate being up to six times what they do during a normal week. While they may not be increasing prices, all the restaurants I spoke to assured me that they will be bringing in additional staff to ensure the best service possible.

Since Indianapolis is host to the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – the Indianapolis 500 – every year, which sells three times the tickets that the Super Bowl will, as well as other major racing events that bring in fans from around the world, we are no stranger to crowd management. However, all of the restaurant representatives agreed that the Super Bowl is different. Tim of the Monon Food Company explained that the “press experience around [Super Bowl XLVI] far exceeds other events, so there is more excitement and more spectators who are coming to town just to party,” even if they are not going to the big game on Sunday. (more…)