- Published: 3/1/2018 1:02:40 AM
Going out with friends and family for a fancy dinner to celebrate special occasion or even going on a quick coffee and dessert date for some chit chat is the perfect way to bring everyone together. Nobody has to cook, everyone can order something different, and once it’s all done, someone else takes care of the clean up.
For those with dietary concerns, a night out can be a nightmare
But for individuals who are watching their weight, who have food intolerances, or who suffer from food allergies, going out can be challenging due to these dietary restrictions. For these folk, the question isn’t simply about where to go. It’s about where everyone okay with going. When dietary restrictions come into play, information about the nutritional content of menu items and a specific breakdown of food ingredients isn’t just a nice to have, it is critically important.
In January last year, Ontario passed legislation to ensure better transparency for food consumers. The Healthy Menu Choices Act requires restaurants with more than 20 locations to post caloric information on their menus. This legislation assists consumers in making healthier eating choices, and provides valuable, accurate information to those watching their weight, allowing them to move beyond “guesstimating.”
But what about the people with serious food intolerances and food allergies? Currently the Ontario legislation requires restaurants to post calorie content of foods and drink menu items. A good step in the right direction, but perhaps not enough for people with more serious dietary concerns.
Spotting the eight foods that cause of 90 percent of food allergies
According to the FDA, eight foods account for 90 percent of food allergic reactions. These are: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, soybeans. But that’s only the beginning of the list of foods people have trouble with. So, what’s the solution?
Luciano Schipano, an Italian-raised Canadian, and (self described) food’s number one fan, has been cooking since he was seven. His love for food quickly turned into a degree in culinary management and then another five years of studying food and nutrition. He believes in providing everyone with the nutrients their bodies need, even if it can be difficult because of their allergies and intolerances. As an ambassador for York Region’s cooking club, started by Jamie Oliver, Luciano works with the local school board to teach children the difference of nutrients between foods and that cooking healthy food at home is possible, even on a budget.
To display his homemade meals’ information, Luciano uses an online nutrition calculator called MenuSano, created by a Toronto based tech startup of the same name. Menusano helps Luciano go beyond calculating calories, to show a complete breakdown of those calories, including specific ingredient composition, fats, proteins, and nutrients. Luciano uses these food facts to provide complete transparency to his students, their parents, and his catering business clients.
Better information helps chefs prepare healthier options
“I’m very fascinated with the possibilities and opportunities that MenuSano provides. If I’m making something cholesterol-free, I can show the nutritional analysis with MenuSano. If I want to balance calories, I can swap out regular milk with coconut milk, and then add oatmeal. It’s great to be able to see what I’m creating and its benefits to the body,” says Luciano.
Beyond Luciano, MenuSano’s online nutrition calculator has helped countless bakeries, coffee shops, pizza places, and restaurants across Ontario and Canada meet legislative compliance. But beyond that, the information it provides, helps chefs and restaurant owner/operators unlock the potential for food for health-conscious consumers -- and provide the kind of transparency that keeps they (along with their friends and family) coming back for more.
Sonia Couto is founder and creator of MenuSano, a leading online nutritional calculator software that helps restaurants calculate and analyze nutritional values for their food. MenuSano provides users with nutritional analysis, recipe analysis, virtual experimentation, government-compliant labelling, and more. The software helps restauranteurs with Ontario's new Healthy Menu Act legislations and helps them provide customers with full menu transparency. For more information visit: www.menusano.com