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Getting in the habit of calorie-counting

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by Jessica Wong, CBCNews.ca

After having missed the boat for a couple of weeks, I managed to visit the farmer's market that recently reopened across the street from work. And my first stop was the apple stand: purveyors of delicious fruit but perhaps better known for their mouth-watering apple cider doughnuts. I bought a dozen as the market opened at 8 a.m.

I wasn't alone: another co-worker told me she also picked some up early that morning after hearing stories about the irresistible treats being sold out by 9:30 a.m.

Though I virtually inhaled the first delectable beignet, my hand pulled back from a second one after someone asked about the fat and calorie count of each tasty morsel. Somehow, my craving for another doughnut evaporated.

Lately, I've got calorie-counting on my mind (sort of).

More healthful eating is something that's been weighing down my thoughts for awhile now, especially when greeted with headlines that scream " TV viewing, computer use linked to obesity: StatsCan" (making this computer-dependent, TV lover anxious indeed).

Though I have started reading food labels for ingredient lists and countries of origin, I've tended to skim over calorie, cholesterol, fat and sodium information, which have usually been mystifying to me.

However, when a belly-busting calorie count stares back at me, I do usually find myself choosing something else, albeit reluctantly.

Last fall, CBC-TV's Marketplace examined how innocuous-looking meals at several well-known, casual-dining restaurants could actually contain more calories than an average person should consume in one day — a definite shock to people confronted with the news on camera.

Many who subsequently commented on the show's website echoed the program's call for more nutritional info on restaurant menus, something that certain Canadian fast-food chains provide.

Lack of posted or easily available nutritional info is an issue that could also lead to restaurant fines in New York City, considered one of the top food capitals of the world.

How much attention do you pay to nutritional information like sodium, fat or calorie counts? How does this affect your food habits?

P.S. This week, strolling past the farmer's market at 8 a.m., I bypassed the doughnuts and, instead, picked up a pint of fresh sugar snap peas to snack on. It's a baby step, I guess.

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