November 22

Brussel sprouts at restaurants are a lie

Blog, Cooking, Featured


What’s the deal with Brussel sprouts these days?  We’ll look into how they can be tricking your kids and their taste buds. 

Liz and I were at a steakhouse in Marina Del Rey to celebrate her birthday and I had a game plan to enjoy the meal without going overboard on my diet.

I’m a big fan of ENJOYING life, while making sensible choices.    Going to a good restaurant with good company, is one of my favorite treats.  However I’ve learned ordering everything just makes me feel bloated and overstuffed after.  

The steakhouse goal was simple:  Split a steak (after all, it’s 16 oz!) but keep the sides on the lighter side: baked potato instead of potatoes gratin (loaded with cream and cheese), and lightly roasted vegetables rather than creamed spinach (also loaded with cream and butter). 

And of course, wine  (Zinfandel these days, preferably from Paso Robles)

I asked the waiter about the “Roasted Brussel Sprouts” which seemed like a sensible option..but was SHOCKED to see how many calories were in the dish. 

One, fairly small tray of Brussels sprouts had 520 calories.

An Inn-n-out double double with cheese ALSO has 520 calories 

2 cups of Brussel sprouts (raw) has 70 calories.

Where did the other 450 calories come from? 

Bacon, bacon fat, honey, oil and cheese.

I asked the waiter if I could get the Brussel sprouts without bacon, which I thought would lower the calorie bomb a bit, but he said he could not because they are pre-cooked with bacon fat and then they add freshly cooked bacon bits to the final product.

Now, we ended up eating the Brussel sprouts (with the bacon bits on the side) and enjoyed the meal, but I was a bit disturbed that a healthy vegetable had been converted into a vehicle for tons of extra fat, sugar and calories.

Yes, fat adds flavor, but it’s not good for KIDS to think of Brussel sprouts as wonderfully sweet (often from honey or sugar) or super crispy and creamy (from butter or bacon fat).

And this is a trend I’ve seen at MANY restaurants.  Brussel sprouts are roasted in lots of oil, then topped with pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and honey.  It’s that sweet, fatty, cheesy combo that makes it taste good!

But it’s WAY too many calories.   

If you’re a parent, and you order “Brussel sprouts” at most restaurants, your kids will grow up thinking that vegetables will always taste sweet and fatty

But then if you roast Brussel sprouts at home with a sensible amount of olive oil, a bit of garlic and herb and some salt and pepper, and they taste good by your standards, your kids might not like them.

It’s a lie for kids to think that Brussel sprouts are this incredible, tasty dish when they’re secretly doctored up with all those extras ingredients.

The answer? 

Don’t order Brussel sprouts out and about…and if you do tell your kids the truth about them.  Or just ask for very simply roasted Brussel sprouts. Save the calories for the entree, dessert or something worthy of them!

And at home, COOK with your kids. 

Have them cut the Brussel sprouts in half.

Bond with them as you dress the veg in a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Then roast them until they’re crispy.

Top with a squeeze of lemon and a BIT of grated Parmesan.

This along can TRANSFORM your child’s eating habits with the power of home cooking.

And I’ve got you covered on that front, because the Pre sale has begun for my Kids Can Cook Masterclass, which opens up Dec 12th.

It’s 50% off now, so jump in and when it’s open, you’ll experience a 6 week done-for-you system to get your kids to learn culinary fundamentals at home, with you while creating memories that last a lifetime. 

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Eric Horwitz

About LIFT

Eric founded LIFT Enrichment in 2010 because he wanted to help young kids develop their culinary skills so they could make healthy foods for friends and family for the rest of their lives.  He has worked with kids for over 15 years and enjoys their energy and enthusiasm for learning new things.  Eric studied abroad in Italy while at UCLA and discovered a passion for cooking.  

Eric Horwitz, Ceo of Lift

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