After managing to get out the door each morning to get my boys to school by 8 am, (and having recently made said feat even more difficult by adding a spoon-fed breakfast to Maddie’s morning routine), I treat myself with a Grande Decaf at the Starbucks near the school before walking home. I can always count on a group of regulars like me, other moms from their school, to sit and chat with for a few minutes. I never get out at night, so I figure I might as well get my social drinking done before those with actual social lives have even gotten out of bed. And if I’m in the mood, or a little bit pregmint, I often treat myself to a morning slice of Pumpkin Bread, or a Cranberry Bliss Bar. They’re not even that good, honestly, but it’s fun to have a nibble with the gals. And hey, I’m walking home! 20 blocks! So it’s not a problem right?
Not so fast, Mrs. Johnson. New York City has recently passed an ordinance requiring any restaurant with more than fifteen locations nationwide, i.e. a chain, to prominently post calorie count and other relevant information for all their offerings, and not just in some pamphlet they keep behind the register. The regulation was just upheld by a federal judge, according to today’s New York Times, and while chains like McDonald’s are vowing to continue the fight against posting this information, Starbucks has decided to play nice and is already in compliance.
And so, when I walked into my local Starbucks this morning and glanced over the baked goods case, this is what I saw:
Chocolate Chip Muffin 480 calories
No-Sugar-Added Cinnamon Scone 410 calories
Iced Lemon Loaf 500 calories
I almost purged retrospectively, right there. The lemon loaf has 500 calories?? I would order that when I was being “good,” and skip the chocolate, and here I was ordering the worst thing in the place! No wonder I gained 40 pounds when I was pregnant. I’m lucky it wasn’t more! Plus they’re probably rounding DOWN! Even the sesame bagel has like 310 calories, and that’s totally lame. The mind reels.
The calorie counts are meant to fight the growing tide of obesity in New York City, and I’m pretty sure they’re going to work. I used to find Starbucks’ sweet treats benign and delicious. Now I find them horrifying, and my willpower is suddenly excellent. I want calorie counts on everything: my sons’ half-finished plates of mac and cheese, my 3 pm handfuls of Pirate Booty, my sneaked pieces of candy from their long-forgotten Easter baskets. If I could see in front of me the caloric ramifications of everything I was eating, I might just waste away to nothing. Or maybe I’d just start going to the non-chain bakery a block away. The one that doesn’t kill your buzz by letting you know you’re eating 19,000 grams of fat in that Magic Bar.
(photo from joelens.blogspot.com. she made those muffins herself, apparently. No actual calorie count, but I’m sure they’re delicious)