Ordering Healthy Office Meals: Use Google’s New Nutrition Comparison for Quick Dining

Posted by on Monday, March 31st, 2014 with Comments Off on Ordering Healthy Office Meals: Use Google’s New Nutrition Comparison for Quick Dining Comments

Is it better to get chicken or pork in my green curry from the Thai place?

I’m trying to cut back on salt — should I order coleslaw or baked beans from the barbecue joint?

When you want to order healthier office meals, these are the kinds of burning questions that you want answered… but comparing menus and nutrition facts isn’t always possible, and rarely convenient! Luckily, late last year, Google quietly rolled out a new nutrition comparison search tool that makes life a lot simpler for health-conscious office workers. For example, simply type in “compare baked beans and coleslaw”, and a handy side-by-side nutrition chart pops up. (It turns out that while both sides are roughly equal in terms of calories, baked beans contain more than twice as much sodium.)

Screenshot of Google nutrition comparison

It’s easy to choose a healthier lunch option with Google’s new nutrition comparison tool.
Image source: Sara Gates

How useful — and accurate — is the tool? Fairly, on both counts. NPR’s food news blog, The Salt, first reported on the comparison tool after Reddit users started discussing it in a forum; NPR’s reporting reveals that Google uses the USDA’s National Nutrient Database for its info. This means that most of the comparable items are simple, whole foods (like apples and oranges, for instance), but we found quite a few “composed dishes”, like the barbecue sides above.

Obviously, one restaurant’s coleslaw may be loaded with more mayo or salt than another, but it’s a decent guideline for busy, diet-conscious employees who want to order healthier takeout at work… without spending half an hour scouring menus for nutrition details. While you may not be able to quickly compare many staples of office meals (a BLT versus a turkey club, for instance, doesn’t work), you can immediately determine that ordering feta cheese on your salad instead of gorgonzola will cut your calorie intake by 25%.

nutrition fact sheet

Many health-conscious workers don’t have time to scour lengthy nutrition data sheets.
Image source: Chilis.com

So why did Google introduce this handy little tool? As the company’s spokeswoman told NPR, “We noticed that people were doing a lot of food and nutrition searches — multi-step searches on one food and another food. These things are often compared to one another, so we thought, why don’t we make it easy?”

And it is easy! Here are just a few office-friendly fun facts we found from using Google’s new tool:

Brown rice vs white rice

One cup of brown rice gives you 14% of your daily fiber, while white only has 2% — meaning you’ll feel fuller for a longer period of time if you choose the whole grain.

bagels and croissants

The bagel is the better breakfast choice.
Image source: Flickr user Thomas van de Weerd

Bagels vs crossiants

Heading to a carb-heavy breakfast meeting? Go for the bagel — that buttery croissant has nearly ten times the fat, and half the protein and fiber.

Spinach vs kale

Go for a kale salad instead of spinach if you’re trying to fight off a cold: 1 cup of kale has 134% of your daily dose of immunity-boosting vitamin C, while spinach only has 14%.

half pepperoni and half Hawaiian pizza

Google’s nutrition tool says to go for the Hawaiian slice!
Image source: Flickr user John Mueller

Pepperoni vs ham

Pitching in to the pizza delivery? Go for a slice of Hawaiian: diced ham has half the saturated fat and considerably less sodium than classic pepperoni.

Now that you have access to a helpful tool to pick the healthiest choices for your office meals, choose the most convenient way to get them to the break room! Waiter.com offers fast food delivery, easy online ordering, and recurring catering through our Virtual Cafeteria Service.

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — Waiter.com is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & deliveryWaiter.com offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

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