New Numbers on Your Menus

Americans are eating out more than ever.  Many restaurants do not display the nutrition information of their foods so we often eat more calories, fat, and salt than we think we do.  In order to make healthy choices, we need to know what is in the food that we are eating!  It is hard to make healthy choices about our food if nutrition facts are not shown clearly when we are choosing what to order.  For example, would you guess that there are often more calories in a small milkshake than a hamburger?

For these reasons, many nutritionists and lawmakers asked that fast food and chain restaurants be required to post their nutrition facts.  They are hoping that this change will make it easier for Americans to be healthy. As a result, chain restaurants will not be required to tell you how many calories and fat are in each of their items. Don't be surprised if you start seeing these new numbers on menus and drive-thru boards.

Having nutrition information on display can help you make food choices that are best for you and your family.  It can make it easier for people to lose or manage their weight.  It can also help people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, safely eat out by knowing how many grams of sugar or salt they are consuming.

Most people needs about 2000 calories a day. A meal that has 1000 calories has 1/2 the calories you need.  You will have to eat foods with fewer calories the rest of the day in order to take in only 2000 calorie.  Eating extra calories can lead to weight gain.  You can use the information on menu labels to compare food choices and select items with fewer calories.  This can make it easier for you and your family to stay healthy while still eating at your favorite restaurants.

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© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall