The USDA regularly publishes appropriate serving sizes for all foods including pasta, meat, dairy and bread. It also advises on how many portions of each you should have, how many calories your diet should contain, and what you should and shouldn’t be eating. The information is available with the click of a button. Anyone can move from nutritiously ignorant to healthily aware in a matter of moments. You would think that people who cook for others, chefs, would be most conscious of this, not wanting to send their customers to an early grave as it might ruin business. However, they seem to be the ones most in the dark.
In a survey of 300 chefs, half believed that an acceptable amount of pasta was six to eight times that of the advised one-ounce serving. They thought that a 12-ounce steak was the norm for a meal when it is actually more than twice the recommended amount of daily meat. They viewed their frighteningly large dishes as perfectly proportional, asking “Isn’t this the size people serve at home?” They proved themselves to be largely ignorant of legitimate health information, and largely to blame for the growing waistlines in America’s restaurants.
But we can’t put it all on them. We are the ones going out to dinner. We are the ones paying the bill, and we are the ones ordering and eating the calorie-laden meals. If it weren’t for us, the chefs wouldn’t have the opportunity to serve what they do. Therefore, it’s up to you to bring intelligence to the restaurant. Order with care. Know which foods are better for you – a marinara sauce instead of an alfredo, a piece of French bread instead of a croissant – and be conscious of the calories. Sit down at the table knowing that your chef is delusional, and you won’t stand up having packed on the pounds.