calories on menu items
On my recent trip to New York City, I passed over some very delectable treats. Loving food as much as I do, you are probably wondering how this would happen. New York City Health Code Section 81.50 requires covered food service establishments that hold New York City Health Department permits to post calorie information prominently on menu boards and menus.
Fast forward two months and a trip with the kids to Target. Sure enough, in their food court, the calories are posted on their menu items. The California menu labeling bill (SB 1420) applies to fast food and other chain restaurants having 20 or more outlets in California and took effect on 1/1/2011. All standard menu items must now have their calories disclosed directly on the menu next to the item. For restaurants who use indoor menu boards, like Target, calories must be disclosed on the menu board next to the item. For see the requirements, go to http://www.calrest.org .
While examining the menu board at Target, I was amazed to learn that the kid’s chicken nuggets had less calories than the macaroni and cheese. Some of the combinations (not on the kid’s menu) had up to 1,800 calories! My kids and I discussed their food choices based on the calorie content of the food they wanted. It was great!
I know that calorie content of a particular food is only one piece of the nutritional picture. Fat grams, fiber, carbohydrate, sugar and the ingredient list is all important information that one should use in making good eating decisions. However, knowing just this one nugget of information is VERY helpful and I believe will make a huge difference in the eating habits of Californians.
I hope that this bill ultimately forces even single location food establishments to divulge this information on their menus.
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Chef Dawn Walker is owner of Dawn’s Dinners, SCV’s best kept dinner secret. This week’s menu of dinner’s that can be ordered for your family, can be found on Chef Dawn’s website: www.ChefDawn.com. When you purchase meals from Chef Dawn, you get more than wholesome food…you get to relax and spend quality time with your family around the dinner table! Click here to order or to find out more informaton.