Alyson Mar, RD's Blog (66)

Cutting Calories in Artisan Sandwiches

Fresh baked bread, imported meats, house-made spreads...what’s not to love about an artisan sandwich?  Well, the calorie count may be an issue to some people.  With New Years and Resolutions just around the corner it’s not a bad idea to start thinking about ways to cut calories for those diners on a weight loss mission.  Sandwiches provide an easy platform to make simple changes that will lower their fat and calorie contents.  Here are some ideas to help get started:

 

Wrap…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on December 14, 2011 at 1:36pm — 1 Comment

Happy Holiday Season!

Today marks the start of December, and the countdown to Christmas.  To get us into the holiday spirit I have compiled a list of some of our favorite holiday treats and of course their calorie counts. 

 

  

Eggnog, a sweetened dairy-based holiday drink made with cream, eggs,…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on December 1, 2011 at 7:18am — 5 Comments

Different Diners, Different Dietary Needs

No two diners are the same, but like any groups, different styles of diners may have similar nutrition needs during dining.  Here are some of the groups and trends that I have observed: 

 

The Business Lunch Crowd: 

 

  • Who they are:  If you operate in a metro area you know them well.  Smartly dressed, they either come in to grab a quick desk meal, or come in and sit down for a business lunch/meeting.  Whether in a group or on their own, one thing is…
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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on November 17, 2011 at 7:07am — 1 Comment

Nutrition on Hotel Menus

A few years ago the National Restaurant Association reported that48% of the average American household food budget is spent dining out.  That’s pretty high for an average, but some of us eat out far more than the average person, in particular those of us on the road.  Those of you who I see around the restaurant trade show circuit know what I am talking about; eating three meals a day (at least, sometimes there are happy hours and parties) either in…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on November 2, 2011 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Evaluating America’s Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants

I recently stumbled upon this article from Health magazine: America’s Top 10 Healthiest Fast Food Restaurants.  As a secret lover of fast food (a treat that I only enjoy on road trips) I was intrigued. Surprisingly, there were more restaurants listed that I haven’t I have never even heard of, much less visited.

 

Time to investigate.

 

Jason’s…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on October 19, 2011 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Serving Diners with Special Dietary Needs

I have been reading a lot of articles and blogs about the great responsibility that a restaurant assumes when serving a diner with special dietary needs.  I remember a time a when it was quite rare to encounter someone with a food allergy, especially a life threatening one; nowadays we serve tons of people with specific food intolerances and sensitivities, or just intense preferences.  It’s kind of a lot for the restaurant/hospitality industry to handle; not all servers and line cooks have a…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on October 5, 2011 at 2:47pm — 1 Comment

American Barbecue: Delicious AND Nutritious?



 

It doesn’t take a nutrition analysis expert to discern that most barbecue fare is not traditionally seen as the picture of health.  Creamy coleslaw, buttery cornbread, cheesy macaroni, and fatty meats come to mind when most diners picture this beloved culinary treasure.

 

Don’t get me…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on September 21, 2011 at 2:33pm — No Comments

Why I Love Chain Restaurants (Really!)

Today's post is written by my colleague, Lara Baldwin, with whom I always find myself in conversations about the types of restaurants we enjoy most.  I love quaint, little known h***-in-the-walls.  Lara has an affinity for large chains.  I asked her to articulate her argument and let you guys be the judge.  Let me know if you feel the same way...perhaps I'll write my side of the story next time ;)

 

Let’s face it: chain restaurants don’t exactly have a glamorous…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on September 8, 2011 at 6:30am — 2 Comments

College students: "Give us healthier food."

Back to school time is here, and for a few thousand college freshmen the dreaded Freshman 15 is looming.  I remember college when a burrito with salsa qualified as a good wholesome meal with a serving of vegetables, and in the on campus dining halls the meal choices were typically covered in cheese or deep fried.  But the new generation of college students are a much more concerned with their health and wellness. 

 …

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on August 24, 2011 at 3:33pm — 2 Comments

Counting Calories with a Twist

 

There once was a time when people on diets reduced their calorie intake by eliminating eating out and excluding alcohol.  Nowadays, one can dine out at many fine establishments and not only find low calorie menu options, but even low calorie cocktails, all without breaking the caloric…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on August 10, 2011 at 3:17pm — 2 Comments

Look Who Else Jumped on the Low Calorie Band Wagon

Applebee’s was one of the first chain restaurants to start offering low calorie options with their Under 550 Calorie Menu, since them we have seen low calorie menu sections pop on various menus across the country.  Here are a couple of the latest low cal players:

 

Carl’s Jr,’s Turkey Burger

 …

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on July 27, 2011 at 2:29pm — No Comments

My Dining Out Meal Plan Under 1,700 Calories

Who says that eating out can’t be low cal?  I say as long as you have the information available, you can make healthier decisions at any eatery.  Working the San Francisco Financial District (or as we locals call it the FiDi) I have a lot of dining options at my fingertips.  Here is an example full day of restaurant-purchased meals complete with calorie counts in my healthy eating range:

 

BREAKFAST: 

 …

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on July 13, 2011 at 6:30pm — 1 Comment

Guest Post: School meals and childhood obesity: is the connection as strong as we think?

Earlier this week during an in-office conversation about America’s obesity epidemic (these conversations happen a lot at FoodCALC) I was reminded of a Time Magazine article from a few years ago that really struck me.  I handed the article off to my colleague Lara Baldwin who also had some of my similar thoughts on the matter I thought I’d share them with you:

 

Childhood obesity is a hot topic these days, and it seems that…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on June 29, 2011 at 4:01pm — 2 Comments

Going Green and Lean with Nutrition

We hear about “going green” everywhere these days—from the liquid we use to wash dishes down to the compostable cutlery served at quick service restaurants.  As a nutritionist and a full-fledged “foodie,” the first thing I think of when I’m asked about the best way to start your “going green” journey is obvious: food!  Food that is nutritionally dense is also the same food that is the most sustainable for our environment.

 

In theory, we are forced to think about food a minimum…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on June 15, 2011 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Putting Restaurant Nutrition Facts to the Test

Link to video:  http://www.myfoxal.com/category/195956/video-landing-page?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=5887033

 

A few years ago a local news station released an exposé on a few major chain restaurants revealing that the nutrition facts that they had been disclosing to the public about some of their healthier meal offerings…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on June 1, 2011 at 5:00pm — No Comments

From menu to label: Restaurant foods begin hitting grocery shelves

Stroll the aisles at your local supermarket and you may find yourself wondering if you just entered a grocery store or a popular restaurant chain’s dining room.  TGI Friday’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Taco Bell, and PF Chang’s are just a few restaurants who have licensed retail versions of their menu items to…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on May 19, 2011 at 7:41am — No Comments

The Royal Wedding: A Celebration of Not so Nutritious British Foods

You may have heard about a certain royal wedding that took place last week in Great Britain (*insert sarcasm here*).

 

The buzz was awfully hard to avoid!  One of the girls in the FoodCALC office got especially into watching the coverage, and even went so far as to throw a “royal wedding viewing…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on May 4, 2011 at 10:33am — No Comments

Decoded: the National Menu Labeling Law

By now you have probably read headline after headline announcing the FDA’s release of proposed guidelines for calorie labeling in restaurants and vending machines.  But what does it all mean?  The document itself is 138 pages, but all you want are some answers to some very standard questions, right?  What rules have actually been enacted?  What types of establishments will be included?  When will this all be enforced?

These questions have flooded the FoodCALC office since the FDA’s…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on April 20, 2011 at 7:00pm — No Comments

Update: FDA's Proposed Menu Labeling Regulations

The FDA has published its proposed guidelines pertaining to the National Menu Labeling Law, affecting restaurants with 20 or more locations nationwide.



FoodCALC will be releasing a more detailed summary of the law and how this will affect the industry next week.  To receive a copy of the summary subscribe to the Monthly Bite: http://foodcalc.com/newsletters/subscribe.aspx.…
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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on April 1, 2011 at 4:42pm — No Comments

Special Update: FDA Guidelines on Menu Labeling DELAYED

I'm not sure how many of you out there are affected by menu labeling laws, or follow the news about them.  If you ever read my blog you know that keeping the industry up to date with the latest information in menu labeling is very important to me (sarcastic tone: wow, what a fascinating passion).  

 

For the past year we have been waiting on the FDA to release the final version of…

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Added by Alyson Mar, RD on March 24, 2011 at 8:00am — No Comments

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