Americans Are Ordering Healthier Foods, While Guilt-Ridden New Yorkers Are Eating a Ton of Salad

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Atone.

Last week's gluttony notwithstanding, it seems that Americans have spent the past year making more health-conscious choices at restaurants.

According to Nation's Restaurant News, a study by a market research firm has found that restaurant consumers have been ordering fewer soft drinks, hot dogs, french fries, and fried chicken, and more milk, breakfast cereals, fruit, yogurt, grilled chicken, and grilled chicken sandwiches.

Compared with December 2001, the last time the researchers examined what Americans deposited in their pieholes, fried chicken orders fell by 477 million, soda by 2.8 billion, and french fries by 1.6 billion. Possible causes for the change in numbers are compulsory menu nutritional labeling and healthier options, despite the efforts of establishments like KFC and Dunkin' Donuts.

Apparently, we in New York illustrate another possible cause: guilt. As Crain's reports, restaurants reported on Monday a huge jump in salad orders, thanks, it seems, to post-Thanksgiving remorse. Salad chain Chop't saw an 18.2 percent increase in lunch sales, while one outpost of Energy Kitchen (where nothing is over 500 calories) reported a 30 percent jump.

Of course, we know that this is but a momentary retreat in the face of the impending dietary onslaught posed by Hanukkah donuts and untold numbers of office Christmas parties, but, however the rest of the year's caloric intake unfolds, the ad accompanying NRN's story deftly illustrates the rather conflicted messages our nation receives about healthful eating:

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Have a tip or restaurant-related news? Send it to fork@villagevoice.com.


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