Thanks to the efforts of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District's program, Por Vida!, 12 local restaurants now offer healthy menu items that meet the criteria set forth by certified nutritionists who work with the SAMHD.
The requirements for certification in the Por Vida! program are not easy to meet, but with the willingness of the restaurant owners to offer low-calorie/nutrient dense menu items, and help from the program's nutritionists, each participating restaurant gets a new item on their menu (or items) that will please the calorie-conscious customers and encourage those looking to enjoy dining out while still keeping food choices healthy.
According to an article in the San Antonio Express News written by contributor Jordan Gass-Poore, Por Vida! is an initiative begun by the Healthy Restaurant Coalition; an organization "established in January 2009 by the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, San Antonio Restaurant Association, and the San Antonio Dietetic Association to build positive relationships between public health entities and the restaurant industry." Their goal is to identify, for use by the public, restaurant menu items that meet their requirements for nutritional health.
Who knew? Now you do!
The standards set forth by the program for a healthy menu item are as follows:
- ≤700 Total Calories
- ≤ 23 g Total Fat
- ≤ 8 g Saturated Fat
- ≤ 0.5 g Trans-fat
- ≤750 mg Sodium
- No Fried Food
These guidelines are based on a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grain, low-fat dairy, and lean protein.
Which restaurants participate in Por Vida!, and where can you find these healthier menu items? (click link to view menu item) Delicious Tamales, Jim's Restaurant, McDonald's, Pico de Gallo, Carino's, The Egg & I, Catalyst Catering, Guadalupe Street Coffee House, Zedric's, The R K Group, Lifecare Hospital San Antonio, Luby's, Fruit FusionZ, and Security Service Credit Union (surprising!). (Those unlinked did not have a link available)
Don't see your favorite restaurant on the list? Encourage them to participate and direct the manager/owner here. Dining out is fun and it allows us to socialize with friends and family in the age-old way, around a dinner table. With the help of Por Vida, and public demand, it can now be healthy, too.
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M. Gwynn has authored two books, Harvest and The Cat Who Wanted to be a Reindeer on Amazon.com . Ms. Gwynn also writes for National Animal Rights and San Antonio Sex & Relationships for Examiner.com. She contributes to Open Salon on Salon.com and FE Magazine NY.
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