I saw a sign at Panera that say, "Only [xxx] calories for the entire meal."
What an odd phrasing, I thought. I wrote it down.
I recently saw the exact same formulation in another food ad recently. Don't remember where.
It's how we normally talk about money, e.g. "Only $4 for the entire meal." The "for" indicates an exchange, that you must give up something in order to get and eat the food. And that's why it's weird.
You lose money when you buy something to eat. But do you lose calories when you eat it? Of course not. You get calories when you eat something. Calories are not the cost of eating; calories are the core benefit of eating. The calories are what you're paying for.
There were a couple times at college where I was concerned about money. That was a new thing for middle-class white USian, mostly-supported-by-her-parents me. And a revelatory experience for my relationship with food.
I remember walking through the grocery store, laughing at the 100-calorie packs — no thanks, I'd prefer a snack that doesn't leave my stomach growling — and declining to go to the gym, because spare calories are a luxury, and calories are a gift with enjoy a few more hours of life! written on them, and because calories are awesome and I'm grateful for them.
I would like to do an inventory of a supermarket. Measure the cost/calorie of each item, and then compare the marketing across different cost/calorie levels.
Those of us with the means to be well-fed act as though "post-calories" comes along with "post-industrial." But calories are energy. We'll never be post-calories. Not even the diet industry's best successes at creating anti-fat panic can change that. Humans need a given amount of calories, no matter how fat they are or how passionately they would like to be thinner. A low-calorie lunch means you'll need a higher-calorie snack or dinner, and exercising doesn't mean you "get" more calories to "spend" later; it means you need more calories.
The next time someone or something tries to shame you for eating something sweet or fatty or higher-calorie, let yourself be puzzled, because it is puzzling.
The human body knows how to find find equilibrium over the course of a few meals or a few days, so that you get just the right amount of calories for you. Do they not understand that? Or do they think that shame can lower a human's basal metabolic rate?
The next time you eat something sweet and fatty, remember why it tastes so delicious. It tastes delicious because it is the assurance that you will continue getting to be alive. And that is something for your body to be happy about.