Restaurants Pledge Healthier Menus

19 Sep

My apologies for my absence this past week, but I had company in from out of town. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

ABC News: Olive Garden, Red Lobster Pledge Healthier Menus

An article on ABC News announced that Darden Restaurants, Inc. is working with First Lady Michelle Obama and pledging to produce healthier menus over the next decade. The corporation owns restaurant chains Red Lobster, Olive Garden, The Capital Grille, Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze and Season 52. They are pledging to cut their calories and sodium by 20% over the next decade.

While it overall seems like a small amount over quite a long period of time, this is a step in the right direction. Right now at Olive Garden, the dinner portion of the lasagna is 850 calories and has 2830 mg of sodium. With this change, the entree will come down to 680 calories and 2264 mg of sodium. Is it still too high in sodium and calories? Yes, but it’s a start.

The company is also pledging to revamp their children’s menus by having vegetable side dishes and low-fat milk as the standard. McDonald’s and Burger King have also gotten on Mrs. Obama’s healthy bandwagon and are revamping their menus as well.

Whether you’re democrat or republican, one can safely say that Michelle Obama has worked hard to make a difference with our country’s obesity problem. While these are all small steps and are far from fixing the overall issues with the food’s calories and sodium, they are positive steps for change. If she gets the ball rolling, in the future, we can maybe see more dramatic changes.

Restaurants take the easy way out of enhancing their food with massive amounts of sodium. I never cook with salt, but I use other seasonings to make my food flavorful. If I can do it, then surely talented chefs can revamp restaurant menus to include very little salt. I make dishes using lots of healthy substitutions like Greek Yogurt instead of sour cream or heavy cream, and they taste the same. Again, this is something that seems like a no brainer for someone who went to culinary arts school.

Small steps make big changes, so hopefully this news will pave the way for the future of other restaurants following suit and revamping their menus.

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