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Healthy tips for busy people. Get the skinny. Start feeling better.

Just Ask!

Just Ask!

by Becca Brannan, RN - May 22, 2014

What do you think is the main goal of your favorite restaurant?

They may be a small mom & pop restaurant or a huge chain. They all probably started because someone loved cooking and developing new recipes. BUT, they still have something in common… they want your money!

They don’t want it to be a one-time purchase either. They want you to keep coming back and so they get more of your money! They are a business after all. What does this mean for you? It means they want to keep you happy, so you return and bring friends and family members with you. So, don’t be afraid to ask for healthier options!

Just because it isn’t on the menu, doesn’t mean they won’t try and whip up a healthier version for you, or substitute a leafy green salad for the onion rings. The more the demand for those nutritious options, the more likely they will gain a permanent place on the menu.

Start a movement in your community! This is what is going on in my local community of San Angelo, Texas. Shannon Medical Center and the San Angelo Restaurant Association have partnered together to develop the Healthier Choice Program.

The premise of the program is working together to live a healthy lifestyle. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows it isn’t easy. Even more difficult is trying to maintain the weight loss after you lose it! The more tasty, healthy options you have to choose from, and the more restaurants that participate in the program, the better chance you have of sustaining a long-term lifestyle change.

The Healthier Choice Program works with local restaurants to provide more options for those who want healthier choices when eating out. Here is the criteria the restaurants agree to follow to be a part of the program (they must meet at least three):

• Offer the ability to substitute ½ of the plate with non-starchy vegetables.
• Substitute a salad for a non-free item on their plate.
• Limit meat/protein portion on plate to 3 ounces (box additional portion for customer to take home).
• Serve meals on a plate with a 9 inch serving area.
• Provide a meal that includes at least one complex carbohydrate or one fruit serving.
• Meal that contains no fried foods.
• Allow the customer to substitute whole grain bread for white bread.
• Offer a low carbohydrate dessert.
• Provide a carbohydrate count for meals served.
• To qualify – must offer a plate with no more than 3-4 carbohydrate servings per plate.

The participating restaurants display the program seal in their place of business, so the diner knows there are healthy options and substitutions available. If you live in the San Angelo, Texas area or are coming here to visit, here is a list of participating restaurants.

Remember it never hurts to ask. And if you don’t ask, you will never know. You could be the person to get the ball rolling in your own community. Get together with your friends, family and co-workers and start talking to owners and managers of the restaurants around you. They may even name a dish after you!


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