Friday, August 18, 2006

The Best Soy Latte You Ever Had And Me


It's all part of a new city effort to reduce waistlines in a town that has celebrated the cream in chowder, the batter on cod, and the frank in Fenway. Mayor Thomas M. Menino is prodding each of the city's restaurants to offer at least one healthy menu option, vetted by nutritionists, and is planning a citywide campaign advertising the virtues of a healthy diet.

``Drink healthy, eat healthy, have a healthier life -- that's what our goal is," said Menino, a mayor who has been known for disciplined dieting, as well as weaknesses for some sinful foods. ``When you feel good, you look good. You eat healthy, you are much more alive, and you have more vitality. If you eat that junk food that we all eat, it doesn't do anything for your body."

The mayor is planning to unveil the program this morning at the Haley House Bakery Cafe in Dudley Square in Roxbury, where zucchini olive oil bread and parsley scallion scones will be served.

Under the program, called Boston BestBites, restaurants will submit recipes they think meet the city's criteria for being healthy (restaurants would be guaranteed that their secret recipes would remain secret). The items would be evaluated by nutritionists at Brigham and Women's Hospital to determine whether they qualify, having less than 150 calories for an appetizer, less than 650 calories for an entree, and less than 200 calories for dessert. All items also have to be low on sodium and saturated fats, and have no trans fats.

I am all for healthy eating. Thanks to MsManda, my diet is somewhat healthier and I lost weight. However, I don't want restaurants like Bob's Southern Bistro or Redbones trying to sell me low-calorie cornbread. If I'm going to spend $50 on dinner and drinks, it's a special occasion and I know I am indulging. I don't make it a regular habit, so I want the full-fat, delicious corn fritters...

Damn. Now I'm hungry.

Anyway. I think the money spent on this program would be better spent in schools teaching kids about healthy eating at a young age. I didn't figure out how many calories are in a "healthy" fruit smoothie until I was old enough to drink calorie-rich alcohol. Dude. That smoothie alone has enough calories to count as my lunch. Maybe a flier or classes at community centers for parents to learn about proper nutrition for their kids would be more effective. I don't think some advertisements and stickers on a restaurant window is going to solve obesity in Boston. We need to educate kids and parents about nutrition so they can make responsible choices throughout their whole lives, not just when they go out to eat.

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