Chefs Can Create Reduced-calorie Restaurant Foods

Restaurants could play an important role in helping to reduce the growing obesity epidemic by creating reduced-calorie meals, according to Penn State researchers.

The researchers surveyed chefs, restaurant owners, and culinary executives from across the country to assess their perceptions of serving healthy foods in restaurants.

In the survey, 72 percent of the 432 respondents said they could trim off 10 percent of the calories in meals without customers noticing differences in taste, and 21 percent said they could trim off at least 25 percent of the calories. This small change could lead to a major impact on the obesity epidemic.

When asked about the most effective method for reducing calories in meals, chefs favored reducing portion sizes over “reducing calories per bite” — reducing fat or adding fruits or vegetables. However, when asked to pick specific strategies for reducing calories for two popular meals — beef stew and apple pie a la mode, chefs most often chose methods of reducing fat.

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