You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

What’s a healthy menu to you?

Remember when restaurant menus listed lower calorie dishes in the “light” section or marked healthy choices with a tiny heart-shaped icon?

Today, nutrition labeling on menus is the law. Some states and cities require restaurants to provide nutrition information. It will be a nationwide law regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for chain restaurants starting in May 2017.

Popular menu terms such as “natural,” “fresh” and “local” are not regulated, by the way. The all-natural macaroni and cheese or locally produced bacon isn’t magically lower in calories or higher in nutrients — but it sounds healthier, doesn’t it?

What’s healthy?

Increasingly, healthy means a focus on special diets, such as vegan, vegetarian, lactose-free and, of course, gluten-free. That’s more difficult, because it often requires specialized food-service training.

“There are still restaurants advertising gluten-free pizza made with shared ingredients and cooked on the same surface with wheat,” said Jennifer Harris of Atlanta, founder of the Gluten Free Go To Guide. “Some places still don’t understand that cross contact applies to fryers. If I hear one more time that the high temperatures ‘burn off’ gluten, I think I might scream. Gluten isn’t a bacteria.”

Food allergies are taken seriously at most restaurants. But, what about personal food beliefs?

College food service providers are dealing with increasing demand for the so-called FLOSN (fresh, local, organic, seasonal and non-genetically modified organism) diet. “The challenge is beginning to become extreme,” said registered dietitian Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis.

Good for people, the planet

Others say eateries should be making an effort to follow earth-friendly practices.

The renovated InterContinental Barclay Hotel in New York City, built in 1926, is moving into the future of environmentally conscious food offerings. The kitchen’s food waste management program includes one of the city’s few EnviroPure food digester machines.

“It takes everything from vegetable peels to bones,” Executive Chef Willis Loughhead said.

The hotel’s breakfast buffet includes a toaster dedicated to only gluten-free breads.

Cheers to a healthy attitude on the menu.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Living

A garden for special-needs kids grows — and kids mature, too
A garden for special-needs kids grows — and kids mature, too

DAVIE, Fla. — The banana peels come from the pie shop. The carrot pulp comes from the juice bar. Food remnants at Bob Roth’s New River Groves in Davie do not go in the garbage. They head for compost containers out back, 5-gallon paint buckets where scraps are turned into gardening gold by students with autism and other developmental disabilities...
How to be a good neighbor in urban agriculture
How to be a good neighbor in urban agriculture

With the retirement of buggy horses in the city a century ago, the mess, smell and flies suddenly declined. Eventually ordinances were drafted to gradually purge the urban world of farm animals, solving a multitude of problems they caused in high density areas. Today these old ways of thinking are challenged by urban agriculture aficionados who are...
10 tips for affordable nursery design
10 tips for affordable nursery design

Nursery design doesn’t have to break the bank. There are a number of cost-saving and creative ideas to create a nursery that is inviting, warm and friendly. When it comes to creating a nursery on a budget, here are some top Design Recipes tips. 1. Paint. Painting remains one of the most affordable ways to decorate a space. From strips to stencils...
Where can I find it?
Where can I find it?

Readers have been asking about an omelet recipe making the rounds in which the eggs are cooked in plastic bags. They’re not sure what kinds of plastic bags they should buy that are safe to use in cooking. I found some answers that should get them experimenting with the bagged omelet without worries. Of course, if you had a FoodSaver, you could...
The top 5 hotel décor trends and how to bring them back home
The top 5 hotel décor trends and how to bring them back home

Thanks to social media, we’re now able to travel the world with a few scrolls through an Instagram feed — vicariously, of course. And when it comes to styling, luxury resorts and eclectic boutique accommodations have become more than just a place to stay but more of an aspirational lifestyle as a whole. To help incorporate the luxurious...
More Stories