Last night was my family’s annual “State of the Family” dinner.
Once a year Michael and I take the kids out for a nice, leisurely dinner and we discuss how the family is operating. For example, we ask the kids what they like about the family, what issues they have with the way the family runs, and what rules needs to change. Every year the children surprise us with their insights and a perspective that is unique to their position in the family.
This year, Michael and I learned that all hell is breaking loose downstairs between 6:20 and 6:50 am, before we get up. The main instigator appears to be our 7-year-old daughter Janelle. She, unfortunately, takes after me in terms of morning temperament. She’s surly, argumentative, and crabby. To remedy the situation and save Janelle from certain death, Michael and I are now rising a bit earlier to handle the little sassy pot and play mediator.
Why is this important to you? Actually, it’s not, I went on a bit of a tangent there. What is pertinent to the wellness discussion, however, was our choice of restaurant for the “State of the Family” dinner.
Our tradition has been to go to a popular Italian eatery, which, for their sake, will remain nameless.
Knowing it was going to be difficult to find In8-friendly entrées for me, I tried to get the kids to pick a more nutritious restaurant, but they refused.
“We always go to that restaurant,” they whined.
“It’s our tradition,” they pleaded with me.
Fine, I thought, I’ll just do a little research beforehand and figure out what I can eat.
Not surprisingly, the calorie content of the restaurant’s food was not readily available. I eventually found it and after downloading the pages from the internet, it was clear why they would try and hide this information.
Glancing over the menu with the calories listed against each item, my mouth fell open. What are they doing in there? I thought, using olive oil as an air freshener? Sitting in the dining room and breathing will cost you 250 calories.
There are 99 items on the menu, not including dessert. 30% of those dishes have over 2000 calories in them. 2000+ calories in one entree! That’s more than I need in a single day.
And some of the dishes are a caloric extreme. For example, the Spaghetti & Meatballs with Meat Sauce has a whopping 5020 calories. If I eat that today, my body won’t need to refuel for another three-and-a-half days.
Granted, the portion sizes are ridiculous. One order could serve four people, but even split four ways the spaghetti is 1255 calories per serving.
Further complicating my night was the fact that there’s no “Light Menu” or “Healthy Choices” section. If you want a dish under 500 calories, you’ve only got ten choices and it’s either a soup or a salad.
As my husband and children started naming their favorite entrees, I looked at my cheat sheet, gasped, and called out the calorie and fat content of each dish. I nixed several options as either too fatty or too high in calories, even for them. My oldest daughter Amanda said, “This new, healthier you is really annoying.”
Yeah, I know, but I can’t help it. Now that I know what my body needs it’s hard to justify consuming those calories. Especially knowing that my body is going to store it as fat if I don’t burn it off. With cardio interval training only burning 500 calories an hour, I’d have to run for eight hours to work off the Fettuccine Alfredo. I’m sorry, but no dish is worth that.
In the end I settled for half of a Tomato Caprese appetizer and a serving of Chopped Salad. And of course, a glass of red wine. Okay, two. But I didn’t eat the pasta, or the bread. Which is still killing me.
Michael Phelps, with his 12,000-calories-a-day diet, is the only person who should eat here. Ever.