Are you ready to order?

Did you know a new federal law went into effect on March 23, 2010, which requires chain restaurants to make nutritional information available for all the food they serve?

That’s right. When you dine out at a restaurant chain (with more than 20 locations), you should be able to find out how much fat, carbohydrates, calories, protein, etc., are contained in every dish on the menu.

Occasionally, we go to our local California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) or Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and I have noticed that both of these chains have had nutritional information available for quite a while. That sure makes it easier to decide what dish to order (or not order) or what dish should be split.

Actually, the laws are part of the health care bill that passed in March, and it’s definitely a good “first step” to help us help ourselves.

In case you hadn’t noticed, our country has been getting fatter at a faster rate. If you want to see something really eye-opening, click here to see the progression over the last 20 years on a state-by-state basis. This state-by-state progression has been presented at many industry conferences I have attended over the last five years, and continues to be a wake-up call.

What can you do about this? How can you help fight obesity?

This is what I do:

1. I buy as much good tasting fresh produce as I can. I shop several times a week, so the produce doesn’t go into my “rotting drawer” in the refrigerator. (We all have a rotting drawer. It’s where we put our produce with good intentions.)

2. I pack at least three servings of fruits and veggies in my lunch and my daughter’s lunch each and every day.

3. When I go out to eat, I make sure veggies are part of every meal. I prefer raw, but lightly cooked (with no fat) is my second choice.

4. When I order a salad, I always ask for the dressing on the side. Then I dip my fork in the dressing to minimize my fat consumption.

5. I NEVER eat everything I get at a restaurant. I usually eat half, and pack up the other half to have as another meal.

6. I always ask the restaurant for the menu’s nutritional information, and I use this to make my selection.

I encourage you to make your own checklist of things you can do to fight obesity. Want to know why it is so important? Because our children’s generation is the first who will most likely have a shorter lifespan that ours. And that’s because of the poor food and exercise choices we have taught them to make.

Make a difference!