I used to order the Chicken Crispers meal at Chili’s on a regular basis.
Before we had children, my husband and I would eat out frequently. Chili’s was a favorite of ours, and given that my eating habits were once more like that of a five-year-old than the 20-something I was before I started running and eating more healthfully, chicken fingers were always a draw.
In case you’re not familiar with this “entree” at Chili’s, allow me to describe it for you: questionable chicken parts are liberally coated with bread crumbs and then deep-fried in hot oil and placed atop a heaping helping of seasoned French fries. Half an ear of corn accompanies the dish, but blech, corn is a vegetable, so I never touched it.
I stopped eating Chicken Crispers over seven years ago, but I’d like to think I wouldn’t have eaten them at all had I known exactly how many calories, how much fat, and how many carbs were in the meal. A few year’s back, while doing research for an article on unhealthy restaurant meals, I came across this article in Men’s Health, which listed the Chicken Crispers meal as one of the “20 Worst Foods in America.”
99 grams of fat
240 grams of carbs
(Incidentally, Men’s Health also named Chili’s “Pepper Pals Country-Fried Chicken Crispers with Ranch Dressing and Homestyle Fries” as their Worst Kids Meal of 2009: 1,110 calories, 82 grams of fat, and 56 grams of carbohydrates. To give you an idea of just how nutritionally unsound this meal is, the average preschooler needs between 1,200 and 1,600 calories a day. )
If I hadn’t been doing research, however, I never would have known exactly how unhealthy a meal I was actually eating. Of course, I had no delusions that my Chicken Crispers meal equated to an organic red leaf lettuce salad with sliced free-range, grass-fed chicken, but I can honestly say that if I had seen the nutritional information printed beside the meal on the Chili’s menu, I would have chosen something else.
And now, thanks to the new health reform law, it seems that we’ll actually have this information available to us when we dine out.
According to this article, chain restaurants with more than 20 outlets must print calorie counts on their menus, along with the recommended number of calories a person should take in each day. Vending machines will have calorie counts posted too.
Research done in test cities (New York and Seattle) has shown that menu labeling works in helping people make smarter choices when eating in restaurants. And that’s a good thing, considering the growing obesity problem we have in this country.
What do you think about menu labeling? Would it make you think twice before ordering a high-calorie meal, or do you think that any attempt to change health-related behavior in the U.S. is an impossibility?
This dinosaur of the MP3 age is my iPod Shuffle, circa 2005. It lacks a display. It requires frequent charging. And I haven’t replaced the ear-bud covers I lost years ago.
But it was my first (and only) digital music player, and it gets me through my runs like no amount of positive thinking, grit, or determination does.
Of course, that’s because I have several power songs on my playlist. These songs infuse me with bursts of energy when the last mile of a long training run is threatening to drag me down. They kick-start my speed intervals, which help me run faster for longer stretches of time. And they push me to run a mile or two farther than I did the week before.
My general tastes in music are definitely in the alternative vein, but some of my power songs are not. Here’s my list:
Okay, so I was 9 when this song came out, but I’ve long held a penchant for 80s-era British rock bands. The meaning of the lyrics is somewhat of a mystery. Some say it’s about social isolation. Others insist that it’s about a man in love with a “lady of the evening.” But I love playing this song during the last half mile of my runs. It’s my “the finish line is near” power song.
The first minute of this song builds up to a great switch-up in the beat, and once the song reaches that point, I start running a speed interval. Running intervals within the first two miles of a run is relatively easy for me. Running them six or seven miles in is not. So, I try and have this song queued up just before I start.
The 2009 re-mixed version of this song gets me in my sneakers and out the door on cold, rainy mornings, it helps me power up hills, and it makes me want to go dancing in the tinfoil paradise known as Vertex in downtown Rochester, a place where I spent a great deal of time in the early 90s.
I realize Eminem doesn’t exactly fit the genre to which my other power songs belong, but I can’t help it. I love this tune. It helps me push through to the end of my run, when one mile back I thought I didn’t have anything left in me. The lyrics make me think of crossing the finish line at my half-marathon in September, of achieving this goal of mine that I’ve held on to for so long.
(Oh, and sometimes I do a little above-the-head fist-pumping while this song plays. Don’t tell anyone, or you’ll ruin my street cred.)
Think you know everything there is to know about Midtown? Whether you’ve belonged to the club for years, or you’re enjoying your first month as a member, I think at least one thing on this list will surprise you.
I asked Midtown managers and staff about the services, amenities, classes, and general features of the club that they feel are under-utilized simply because members might not know about them.
Here’s what they had to say.
Secret: You CAN Find a Quiet Reading Spot
If you’re like many Midtowners, you choose your spot on the pool deck based on where the sun is shining (or isn’t shining) and where the crowds are (or are not). However, that much-sought-after quiet spot to read or catch a cat-nap is sometimes elusive.
However, what many don’t know is that the club uses Sonos, a highly advanced music system that divides the pool deck into zones. Members in each zone can hear different music played at different noise levels. According to Tim Auerhahn, Aquatics Director, those in search of a serene place to read should head to the East deck (near the apartments) or the South deck (near the tennis courts). The music in these zones is generally much quieter.
If you’re looking for a way to mix up your daily workout, train for a triathlon, or swim more laps in less time, look no further than the Adult Fitness Swim program. Your coach will put you through a competitive-style practice in the pool. You’ll receive individualized attention because the group is small, and your coach will put together your entire week of water workouts. This year’s coach has a great pedigree in swimming. The session begins on June 2nd, and you can sign up at the front desk.
Secret: Pilates Reformer Training is All About Results
Want to strengthen your core and transform the way your body looks, feels and performs? Check out Pilates Reformer Training, which is gaining in popularity because of the results achieved by those who have taken it. Check out the information wall for the schedule, and then sign up at the front desk.
Secret: Start Your Weekend Off Right with Guided Meditation
Before you pitch the office printer into an open field or begin harassing your co-workers about your missing stapler, you might want to try a little meditation. Every Friday morning from 8:20 until 8:40, you can attend a guided meditation class. No experience is necessary, and you can either wear your workout gear or your professional clothes.
Category: Front Desk
Secret: Yet Another Use For Your Cell
Keep misplacing your membership keytag? Check into the front desk with your cell instead! Simply take a photo of the barcode on your membership card with your cell phone’s camera, and then use the image on your phone to check in at the front desk.
Category: Housekeeping and Facilities
Secret: Keepin’ It Clean and Orderly
If you’ve ever been crushed upon finding your favorite treadmill out of working order, you can help bring it back to life sooner simply by picking up the phone. Members can dial #264 from any public phone at the club to access the voicemail box of the Housekeeping and Facilities Hotline. Let staff members know of an area in need of housekeeping attention, a broken piece of equipment, or a rack that requires towels. Messages are checked three times a day.
Category: The Spa at Midtown[singlepic id=13 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Secret: Package Makes Perfect
It’s shower, wedding, and graduation season, and a gift of luxury and relaxation from The Spa at Midtown is sure to please. You can purchase a soothing massage, rejuvenating facial, or a stylish nail service, or package them together and save 10%. And don’t forget to stop in for a treatment for yourself. You’re worth it.
Secret: First Tri’s a Charm
Competition will be fierce among the triathletes competing in Midtown’s very first Mini-Triathlon. You’ll swim, spin, and run for 15 minutes each (kids ages 7-14 will compete in three 10-minute sections), and then you’ll get to see where you rank among the club’s tri-stars. Tim Auerhahn says this event will sell out, so sign up early.
Category: Business Office
Secret: My Kids Bought How Many Bagels?
Curious about the price of that cafe smoothie, or want to double-check your monthly Midtown expenses? Your up-to-the-minute club transactions are just a few clicks away. Head to midtown.com/rochester, and click on Member Login in the upper-right corner. Log in with your username and password (or create an account if you haven’t already), and you can not only check your daily purchases, but also your past statements as well.
Do you have a lesser-known aspect about the club you’d like to share with fellow members? Let’s hear it!
My three-year-old daughter received her first “big-girl” bike last week. Too big for her tricycle, she received a two-wheeler, complete with a backpack that attaches to the handlebars, a water bottle, and training wheels.
She is in love, and has wanted to do nothing but ride this bike constantly. And I’m glad, because the CDC recommends that in order to stay healthy, children should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
However, looking at their guidelines and the three types of physical activity the CDC recommends kids perform, I wonder how many kids are meeting this requirement. And perhaps more importantly, how easy it is for them to do so, given the largely sedentary environment in which so many children grow up and the myriad unhealthy temptations that exist everywhere they go.
One of the main reasons I chose my daughter’s preschool was because the children go outside to play on the school’s playground every single day (barring a rainstorm or other prohibitive weather). She’s enrolled in swimming lessons this summer at the club, and is attending her preschool’s outdoor summer camp (in addition to two others through my town’s recreation department). And eating healthfully is something she’s grown up with, so she’s completely unaware that kid-targeted fast-food restaurants even exist.
But she’s three. She doesn’t watch commercial television. We don’t have a video game console. Her computer time is limited to the preschool-level Clifford game at the library. And the Golden Arches are just a giant yellow letter “M” to her. I have no delusions that it will be this easy to keep her active and eating well in another year or two, when her world will open up and she’ll begin to beg for things to which she currently has no exposure.
And I’m scared.
But I’m also really lucky. And you are too.
We belong to a club that makes a healthy lifestyle easy for us, and for our kids as well. The hours accomodate virtually every schedule. Classes are tailored for a wide range of fitness levels and interests. And from Kidtown’s 4,000 square feet of wide open space to encourage movement to Camp Midtown, the club’s four-day Summer Sports Camp for kids, to Tennis and Yoga Camps, the club is focused on helping the entire family stay active.
The childhood obesity rate in this country is skyrocketing, so clearly encouraging our children to get up off the couch, away from the DS, and out from behind the computer is something we need to do. It’s heart-breaking to think of the results of this new study, which has proven something many of us know already: overweight kids are 63% more likely to be bullied in elementary school.
But how do we combat the mixed messages they receive when they’re out of our care?
If you have kids or work with kids, how do you help them stay active?