I have an interview over breakfast tomorrow morning. The source chose the spot, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery. In many ways, Perkins was a great choice. It’s close to my office. They’re known for their breakfasts. They serve coffee in your personal pot. I rarely drink coffee anymore, but with a sit-down breakfast (and a full day ahead) I will probably order my own little coffee pot.

But for the healthful eater, Perkins isn’t the greatest choice. I’ve read several times that it’s a good idea to peruse the menu and nutrition facts before you get to a place so your mind is made up before you get there.

That’s not really an option when the restaurant doesn’t offer nutrition facts. I ran into this last week, when some coworkers who wanted to go out to eat chose Outback Steakhouse. Outback’s Web site will give you options for low-carb and heart healthy diets, but there is not a calorie count to be found.

This is not acceptable. Even McDonald‘s lists nutrition facts online, and they’ll give you a placemat with nutrition facts if you ask at the drive-thru.

I don’t think listing nutrition facts or trans fat counts on menus is going to end America’s obesity crisis. But for those of who really want to know, who need to know and are willing to look it up, nutrition facts are crucial information.

CalorieKing.com is telling me that a side order of hash browns has 100 calories and a short-stack of pancakes has 423 and that there is a low-cal syrup option. CalorieKing seems pretty reliable, based on the way they say they compute their nutrition data — I know that using the USDA data base is a good start. They only list 54 menu items, though, and Perkins’ menus do vary by location. My plan is to choose wisely, enjoy the interview and skip my morning snack.

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