What’s in the Food, When You Eat Out?

hugs-foothills-mops.jpgI recently had lunch with my daughter. We ate at the Souper Salad restaurant near her office. The salad and soup (and now potato) bar approach is family-friendly, because it’s usually not expensive, each person chooses what they like to eat, and the best part is it’s all you can eat.

It’d been a while since I last ate at a salad and soup restaurant. The choices are numerous and you can eat as much as you like. My mom was a picky eater and loved soup and salad restaurants, because she could choose whatever she wanted to try and if she didn’t like it, she could go back for something else.

Grace and Elijah are happy to hear
some restaurants are trans fat free.

I stopped eating at salad and soup restaurants, when I read the information on the additives, especially trans fat, that were found in their food items. I was surprised when I saw trans fats were in more than bakery products. They were in things you wouldn’t normally expect, like creamed soups. So, I was happy to see that Souper Salad posted signs stating they were “trans fat free.”

Later, I checked out the Souper Salad website and contacted their “food scientist” (I wasn’t sure what a food scientist is, so I checked it out online. A food scientist works in research and development of food processing companies. They analyze food content.), just to be sure. This is the reply I received from Karen Schroeder, their food scientist:

“Regarding fats:
Gingerbread uses palm oil—0 trans fat
Blueberry bread uses palm oil—0 trans fat
Bread-sticks uses soybean oil—0 trans fat
Cornbread uses partially hydrogenated corn and cottonseed oil—0.11 grams / square. (This is a trans fat.)

The government allows us to claim 0 trans fat if a serving size has 0.5 grams per serving or less. Some items contain naturally occurring trans fat so it would be impossible to claim 0 trans fat for everything without this government disclaimer.”

While I was at it, I asked about MSG. This answer was also encouraging:

“There is one product at Souper Salad that contains MSG. It is in trace amounts in our Jalapeno Cheese Sauce that is found near the baked potato section of our bar.”

Then I asked about one of the worst sweeteners, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). I am happy to say that there weren’t a lot of items on this list. As you might expect, HFCS is in some of their desserts. This is the list of products containing HFCS:

“Caramel Topping
Oreo Cookies
Crushed Pineapple Topping
Chocolate Pudding
Fruit Smoothies
Chocolate Syrup

Our breads do not contain high fructose corn syrup.”

The only way you’ll ever know what you’re eating, is to check out your favorite restaurant yourself. Obviously, if you or a family member is sensitive to other food additives, eating out is more of a challenge. Today, most restaurants have websites offering nutritional information. Understand, that you probably will have to email their “food scientist” from their web page to get the information you really need.

Learn more about trans fat, CLICK HERE.
Learn more about High Fructose Corn Syrup, CLICK HERE.

3 thoughts on “What’s in the Food, When You Eat Out?

  1. Nonna Joann says:

    Good news. I went online to check out the trans fat in the food at Sweet Tomatoes. It’s been a couple of years since we went to their restaurant. Looks like they have improved their food. They have changed their ingredients. I couldn’t find a press release stating so, but most of the trans fat is gone. You will have to email them to find out if they use MSG and HFCS. They used to have a small booklet available at their restaurants with the nutrition info. You might ask for one the next time you go to the Souplantation (according to their site the food is the same at both restaurants). Although, I don’t believe that MSG and HFCS are listed.
    A big Nonna hug,

  2. Jen Sexton says:

    Hi Joann!
    Do you have this same information from Sweet Tomatoes? We eat at The Souplantation here in CA; it and Sweet Tomatoes are the same company. I’d be interested to know how they measure up.


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