Restaurant Chefs Can Make Healthier Meals!

Lighter upscale restaurant meals could help battle obesity.

Restaurant Chefs Can Make Healthier Meals!

Lighter upscale restaurant meals could help battle obesity.

-Jane Farrell

A chef doing a taste test

The battle against obesity has usually focused on fast-food combos, but meals in pricier restaurants also play a role in helping our waistlines grow and our health decline.

Researchers at Penn State University surveyed 432 chefs, restaurant owners and culinary experts across the U.S. to see whether the respondents could make their meals healthier—without sacrificing taste. Seventy-two percent said they could trim 10 percent of the calories without customers noticing a difference, while 21 percent said they could eliminate at least 25 percent of the calories.

Read Dietitians Separate Good Food From Bad

At the same time, though, many chefs will probably have to learn first exactly how many calories their meals have. Seven percent of the respondents said they weren’t at all familiar with the calorie count, while 49 percent said they were somewhat familiar with it.

“If a large number of chefs don’t know the calorie content of their food, they will be limited in their ability to modify what they serve to guests,” said study coauthor Linda Roe, according to the website LiveScience. Because chefs were unwilling to alter their signature dishes, which may be high in fat and calories, they were likelier to want to create new, healthier dishes, according to LiveScience.

Chefs’ traditional reluctance to serve “healthy” food is motivated by the fear of losing customers, the cost of training employees and the higher cost of items like fresh fruit.

But the other coauthor of the study, Barbara Rolls, says chefs can best help the battle against obesity by not telling customers their meals are now good for them. “Silent change goes on all the time in the food industry,” she said. (livescience)

Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.


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