– by Dean Simmons & Andrea Godfreyson
Living in the Information Age, we have become accustomed to having access to information when we need it. Information can give us the power to make informed choices.
Until recently it has required a special effort to be informed about the nutrients in the foods we eat and beverages we drink at restaurants and coffee shops. While you may be in the habit of reviewing the Nutrition Facts table when comparing packaged foods in a grocery store, this type of comparison hasn’t been possible at most restaurants. This is changing.
In BC, Informed Dining (the first of its kind in Canada) is bringing the same nutrition information that is available on packaged foods to the nutrition menus of participating restaurants. Informed Dining is the result of a partnership between the BC Government, the restaurant industry, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and BC Health Authorities.
In May, you will begin seeing the distinctive logo at nearly 300 participating restaurant outlets in BC . These restaurants will have in-store nutrition information, in the form of a menu, brochure or poster, detailing the nutrient content of each standard menu item and non-alcoholic beverage.
The Informed Dining program doesn’t tell you what to eat, but it does give you the power to make more informed choices when ordering your meal. Are you looking for lower sodium choices? It’s impossible to accurately guess how much sodium is in a meal because higher sodium foods don’t necessarily taste salty. The nutrition menu for the Informed Dining program highlights how much sodium is in the portion that’s regularly served. Similarly, if you’re looking for lower calorie menu options, simply ask for the Informed Dining nutrition menu which highlights the number of calories in each menu item.
The information is at your fingertips. The question is how will you use it?