Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Nutrition at the Buffets

Well, I wrote a very extensive article on Nutrition at the Buffets last Friday night and thought that I had posted it successfully. Apparently not! It does not seem to be here. I shall try to recreate it now.

The large buffet chains are now posting their nutrition facts on their websites. Each has a different method of conveying these facts - with the easiest to use at the Golden Coral site with a simple pop up window when you click on a menu item. The other two place their menu items in categories and when you click on the category you get a web page with the results at the Ryan's site and a PDF plug in file at the Old Country Buffet site. This new addition to the websites may be the result of new Federal regulations requiring nutrition information for restaurant chains.

When you see some of these numbers for the various menu items it may make you think twice about eating at the restaurant, but I am certain that if you saw the nutrition information for any restaurant you might have second thoughts about eating out anywhere. So if you like going out to eat and you do not want to stay home and cook everything from scratch you might as well go out and eat.

The numbers can be scary and there are some menu items to steer clear of. At the OCB the worse offenders are the Beef Ribs, the Spinach Marie, and a killer of a soup - the New England Clam Chowder. The fat counts on these items are way over the top when it comes to health. Many of the other entrees are significantly lower, but still near ten grams of fat per serving. At Ryan's 16 oz of steak is very high in fat. Trimming the visible fat will lower this somewhat, but not a lot. Golden Coral and Ryan's have some better health choices in entrees than OCB.

It is possible to eat healthy at the buffets and OCB and Ryan's both have web pages that address how. The most significant thing to note, looking at the counts, is that the vegetables are the best choices. If you eat like a vegetarian at the buffets you will eat healthy (EXCEPT FOR THE SPINACH MARIE AT OCB). Tossed salads are always a good choice, but watch out for the salad dressings. The fat counts on those make eating the meat entrees an equal alternative. I was really blown away seeing the salad dressing counts at these restaurants.

The web sites for all three chains are at the side of the articles. I really wish the original article was not lost as I had so much more detail then. Ah well.

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