While dining out you may notice something new on restaurant menus – calories. As of January 1st, 2017 all food-service chains with 20 or more locations in Ontario must post the number of calories in the food and drinks on their menus. Food and drink items that are exempt from calorie labelling include seasonal, market test and special order items and condiments. You will see calories on the menus of a variety of food-service locations within our community such as:
- Fast-food restaurants
- Coffee shops
- Grocery and convenience stores
You may be wondering what are calories and why do I need to know about them?
Calories are how we measure energy. We get energy from the foods we eat and what we drink. We need to consume calories every day to provide our body with the fuel it needs for basic body functions like keeping our heart beating and being physically active.
Knowing how many calories are in our food and drinks is part of getting the right amount of energy we need every day. In addition to posting calories, each business must post the following statement to help provide context on the average daily calorie needs:
Adults and youth, ages 13 and older need an average of 2,000 calories a day, and children, ages four to 12 need an average of 1,500 calories a day. However, individual needs vary.
The amount of calories you need every day depends on many things like your age, gender and activity level. Health Canada can help you find out how many calories you and your family members need each day.
The health unit is responsible for monitoring to ensure food service establishments comply with the Act.
The Healthy Menu Choices Act 2015, Calories On Menus will provide you with more information.