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February 19, 2011


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Great post. I don't want cal count on menus either. When I eat out it's a treat, I want to enjoy my food.


I agree, sensible eating and a balanced diet is not about calorie counting, and it's so easy to become obsessed with that. Great post Rosie.


When I read the title of this blog, I was nodding in agreement as thought you were talking about restaurants as in sitting down and ordering of a menu - that would be a VERY sad day if that ever happened.

However, I have to say that sandwich chains such as Pret and of course fast food outlets DO need to let us know the nutritional value of what we are eating. It's no different to picking up a bar of chocolate in a newsagents or a sandwich in a supermarket is it?

Pretty much everything we buy (with the exception of eating out) has nutritional data anyway so sandwich shops etc no different (or am I missing the point?! Quite likely as shattered!)

Rosie Scribble

I can understand sandwich chains including nutritional information on their products, although personally I found the calories listed next to the price tag very off-putting, so went elsewhere.

It has been reported today that calorie labelling could become standard across the restaurant industry - so that would include sitting down and ordering from a menu. I think that would take the fun out of eating out. There's been talk of it for years. I'm hoping it doesn't happen.


I don't think I agree with you, Rosie, but then I'm writing from the US Midwest, where obesity is simply an epidemic, and eating out is very common. A lot of families reckon to eat out a couple of times a week. It's not a treat, like it is in Britain.

Obviously calorie counting isn't the whole story - it's what you eat as well as how much. But I think it's a good step to give people information. Then they can make informed choices. If you don't want to read the label, you don't have to.

Another advantage I can see is that it will make cafes and restaurants more careful about what they put into their food. I like the idea of them not being able to hide. Sometimes they call something a 'healthy option', and I have only their word for that.

It might be one of those things that seem like a big deal at first, but once we're all used to it, we'll hardly register it - like the food content labeling on food products. You can choose to read what's in your breakfast cereal every morning if you want to, but you probably don't notice it on the side of the packet any more. Just part of life.

Rosie Scribble

Thanks Iota, that's very very interesting. I can see the logic of putting calorie labelling on restaurant menus where families often eat out and where obesity is an epidemic. And maybe that is the way the UK is heading.

For me personally, I simply wouldn't eat in a restaurant that listed the calorific content in the menu but maybe that's just me. I counted calories for 20 years and it brings back bad memories. I'm certainly happier paying little attention to calories.

I definitely agree that it could make cafes and restaurants more careful about what they put in their food, and that has to be a good thing.

Maybe the main difference here is that eating out is still seen as an occasional treat, and calories on the menu would spoil that, for me at least. But as you say, we may just get used to it. There is also the fact that I know the damage obsessive calorie-counting can do and I want to make sure IJ never experiences that, but that's another blog post and a far more complex issue!

Rosie Scribble

I feel exactly the same way. I want to enjoy the meal when I go out. Calorie counts on the menu would put me off.

Rosie Scribble

Thanks nsm, calories tell us little about the fat and sugar content of food. I'd prefer to focus on educating IJ about a healhly balanced diet rather than the amount of energy a meal provides.

Scottish Mum

I agree with you. On the rare occasions I eat out, I don't want to know how many calories I am eating - I just want to enjoy it without feeling guilty.


Totally agree. I like to know what I am eating some days and not so bothered the others. My children know what calories are and I think they should know - after all its about energy and looking at our bodies like fires - they need fuel to run around etc. A cake or unhealthy snack is more appealing if there is no calorie reminder on it.


Rosie, I know this is a complex issue for you, and I thought carefully before posting my comment. I decided you'd prefer an honest, open debate, to no dissenting comments at all, and your reply bears that out. Thanks.

Have a great time in the north!

Rosie Scribble

Iota, absolutely! An honest, open debate it what's it all about. It's always interesting to hear different perspectives and experiences. It really adds to the post and comments that make me think are very much welcomed, which is why I am always, always, always happy to hear from you. x

Metropolitan Mum

Yes and no. I see that the government wants to take active steps in battling the whole obesity issue. However, I don't think that labelling food with calorie content helps. Has it helped in the US so far? As much as I know, the figure are still going up.
And who really did stop smoking only because there are health warnings on cigarette packets now? Isn't this the same?

Rosie Scribble

Yes, I can see the government wants to take active steps in battling the whole obesity issue and it is difficult to know what else they can do. I think it does make sense to include calorie labelling in fast food outlets, although I know McDonalds have been producing a leaflet detailing the calorie content of all their foods for years and I don't think it's made much difference.

Calorie labelling is more common practice in the US from what I can understand but they have even more of an epidemic over there, so you'd have to question the extent to which it has been successful. It may be a relatively new initiative. I'd be interested to see how effective it proves to be. if that's the case.

You are absolutely right about this seeming similar to the stop smoking warnings on cigarettes. I hadn't thought of that. In that case, I'd say it wouldn't work. Maybe we'd be shocked at first, but then we'd simply get used to the warnings. Interesting.

Helen@Baby Shoes

I eat sensibly at home so, when I go out I allow myself to eat whatever I fancy. It's a treat. No amount of labeling will change that!

Rosie Scribble

I'm exactly the same. I know when I eat out I'll be consuming a lot of calories but it's a rare treat and not very often. And I want to enjoy it!


Sometimes you just want to eat out because you fancy/deserve a treat, often that includes a chef cooking up something special that you wouldn't/couldn't do at home because you don't have the time any more or even the specialised skills to attempt it - you know it's bound to be a bit heavy on the calories but it's a treat and your drooling at the thought of it until bam you see the calories listed on the new styled menus and your chosen favourite is high up on the list :-( No, I don't want to see that - I'd much rather savour the moment and enjoy my yummy, tasty meal without any torcherous dilemma spoiling it! And then take a recent event, Valentine's Day - would going out for a special meal on the night have the same vibe if you sat deliberating over which calories you could afford :-( - or if someone was hiding a ring for an impromptu proposal to have to say to the waiter 'sorry, can you get the ring out of the champagne glass and put it in a tumbler of water instead, we've just realised we're maxed out on our calories already!'.
It's better to be aware of foods, practice healthy eating and enjoy a treat in moderation:-) And tread carefully where children are concerned - it can be dangerous to make them too calorie aware. When this came up at school, my daughter started to over worry about what she could eat and thought maybe she should stop eating instead! I had to have a chat with her about it so that she realised it's ok to have treats now and again without getting stressed and thinking you should starve yourself.
That said, I'm off out for a 'treat' tonight and I'm glad I can enjoy it still without having to read the list of calories ;-)


Oh my gosh, that was weird... just back from my meal out tonight, catching up with old friends and what did we see - the restaurant had a new menu which included a section covering meal choices of 500 calories and under!!! and also a similar drinks section too. Hope this doesn't catch on everywhere. Couldn't believe it, and after only reading about it on your blog this week, never heard of it before!? Needless to say, we all ignored those pages and went straight for what we fancied :-)

Panna Cotta

I believe that sensible eating and a balanced diet is not about calorie based one and it's so easy to become obsessed with that..Very Informative Post,Keep up the good work Rosie!!!! www.vivamagonline.com Hope u Have a great time ....

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