When it comes to food, North Americans are sending a mixed message to restaurants: We talk skinny, but eat fat!

That’s the conclusion of a new survey we read about which found that even though half of North Americans say they want restaurants to offer healthier food items, a whopping 77 percent of us are still ordering unhealthy meals! For example:

This summer The Cheesecake Factory introduced a new “Skinnylicious” menu, with a variety of low-cal entrees and low-carb cheesecakes. But the new menu hasn’t affected sales of the chain’s regular cheesecakes, which are way up - not down.

Also: IHOP offers a “Simple & Fit menu” that includes yogurt and fruit bowls. Yet, those items make up barely 1 percent of the chain’s overall sales.  Their biggest seller is the 1200 calorie breakfast platter - with eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, hash browns, and pancakes!

So, why aren’t we buying healthy stuff, even though we say we want it? Some experts say it’s because we’re already eating healthier at home.  So, when we go out to eat, we want to treat ourselves.  Others say it has to do with peer pressure.

Because if you go out to lunch with the guys, and everyone else wants to order a pizza, you’re going to hear about it if you’re the only one ordering a salad.  And it should go without saying, cost is also a factor. Because for now, healthier foods tend to be among the most expensive items on the menu.