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Friday, September 30, 2011

Eating out and eating healthy

I often write about shopping in supermarket produce departments because that’s where most of us buy our fresh produce.

But I am fully aware that about 50% of average American meals are consumed outside the home … That is, when we go out to eat.

Whether it’s picking up coffee at Starbucks or McDonald’s on our way to work, grabbing a salad for lunch at a restaurant (because we were too busy to pack a lunch), or going out to dinner with our family or friends, most of us eat quite a few of our meals outside our homes.

If you are not a part of the produce or restaurant industry, you may not be aware of what’s going on.

There is actually a movement that has been brewing for about 10 years. It’s a movement for restaurants and fast food places to consistently offer healthier eating options on their menus. And I’m not just talking about more salads.

Whether it is First Lady Michelle Obama working to get Salad Bars in Every School to encourage children to have healthy choices at lunchtime, or the produce industry working with the restaurant industry to double the amount of fresh produce consumed in restaurants by 2020 -- a groundswell is happening almost everywhere.

That means, when you go to McDonald’s with your kids, they will get some apple slices instead of all French fries. It means at Subway, you have baby carrots and sliced apples as options (instead of chips). And when you go to an Applebee’s, Denny’s, Mimi’s, Panera, California Pizza Kitchen, Starbucks, Jason’s Deli or any of the chain restaurants that seem to be in every city, you will have significantly improved healthy choices when you order.

It may not be obvious to you until now. So, next time you go out to eat, whether it is an elegant dining experience, or a quick “meal on the go,” I encourage you to check out the fresh vegetable and fruit choices when you order. If each of us makes healthier choices when we dine out, we will be contributing to a healthier lifestyle and setting a great example for the next generation.

Are you in?



  1. This is great progress towards helping Americans take control of their health, Karen.
    Selection of these menu items from customers is ultimatley what will keep the choices available.
    It's great that they are on the menu, and when customers acutally order them, that ensures they will stay there for years to come.

  2. Thank you for posting this. I always have the issue of eating out, and not being able to find healthy options on the menu. I immediately assume eating out = junk food.

  3. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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