Whether you eat out as a necessity or eat out as a treat, eating out at fast food restaurants is part of our culture. Many restaurant meals have more calories than what you would fix at home. Until recently, it's been challenging to figure out how many calories those meals actually have. In some parts of New York State, fast food and chain restaurants are now required to list the calories for each item on menu boards and on printed menus. Other restaurants are voluntarily providing this information to their customers. As calorie posting becomes the norm in fast food restaurants, mothers across the state are choosing meals based on calorie information posted on menu boards. They are choosing to eat less and are setting healthier eating examples for their kids.
Looking for calorie postings in fast food restaurants and choosing fast food meals under 600 calories can help you lose or maintain your weight and help you to stay healthy by reducing your risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
Keep in mind that even meals under 600 calories at fast food restaurants are not necessarily healthy. They are better choices than higher calorie options, but they are generally still high in sodium (salt) and low in whole grains and healthy fruits and vegetables (French fries have so much fat that they don't really count as a healthy vegetable choice). The best way to stay healthy is to eat less fast food, have more healthy meals at home and get some physical activity every day.
The next time you eat out at a fast food restaurant, what will you choose?
Information for Action Report
The Department of Health's iChoose600® media campaign was associated with increased recognition and use of posted calorie labels in chain restaurants in four counties in New York State.
- IFA # 2012-3: iChoose600 Media Campaign Report® (PDF, 102KB)
For permission to reprint any of the iChoose® materials, or for more information about the iChoose® campaign, please contact:
NYS Department of Health
Bureau of Marketing and Creative Communications
ESP Corning Tower, Rm. 2812
Albany, New York 12237