One of the things I most enjoy about going on a business trip or visiting family in California is that by law all restaurant menus must include calorie counts for everything served. Now this might not seem like a big deal but as someone who likes to know what I’m eating and how I’m balancing my caloric intake, it’s super helpful.
Tip: I’m down 35 pounds from my Jan 1, 2013 weight and don’t ever plan on being close to that heavy again.
I’m also a fan of BJ’s restaurant chain and find the food there delicious and the atmosphere fun for taking my kids out for a meal, meeting friends, family or even an occasional dinner date.
In Colorado, we don’t get calorie counts, so in Colorado I might have looked at the Piranha Cheeseburger shown above and contemplated getting it as a splurge. I mean, it looks delicious, right?
Check it out on the California version of their menu that includes calorie counts and you’ll find out the bad, no, shocking caloric news:
Can you see the calorie count? 2160-2280. For a burger.
Now keep in mind that the Department of Health recommends [PDF link] that a male, moderately active, in my age group needs no more than 2400 calories a day in overall foods and beverages. That’s per day and I personally think that’s high. I aim for closer to 1800 calories, day, truth be told. That delicious Piranha Pale Ale Chili Cheeseburger would blow that out of the water completely.
Now don’t read this as me being critical of BJ’s for having this on the menu. Quite the opposite: If someone wants to eat it, that’s fine with me. The issue is more that without the knowledge of calories associated with individual menu items, how can we make smart eating decisions and know, for example, that if we did want to splurge on the Piranha Burger, that we’d need to then hit the gym to compensate?
What I’d like to see is the California law that requires calorie counts be adopted nationally. It might not change what you choose to eat at a restaurant, but it would sure give you the chance to be more aware of how it added up and its impact on your waistline and overall health.
But what do you think? Are you pro-calorie count inclusion or against it?