Americans are requesting healthy options more often than they were two years ago, and one-third of adults are seeking nutrition information online, according to a recent survey by the National Restaurant Association.
Personally, I have found online nutrition information to be much more user-friendly than just a few years ago when I needed a magnifying glass to read the nutrient content. I like that I can see what happens as I adjust ingredients. It’s amazing what you can do with tacos at Chipotle. Click between the different protein options and check out the difference in sodium content depending on which salsa you choose. For example, the tomatillo-green chili salsa has half the sodium of the fresh tomato salsa.
I am always looking for healthy options at restaurants and how the average person can find out about them. Recently I ran across Healthy Dining Finder.The concept of the Healthy Dining Finder is that you can go anywhere in the United States, plug in the city or Zip Code, and find recommended healthy options at restaurants. The criteria is 750 calories or less and 25 grams of fat or less for an entree. This program does not include a limit on sodium content but sodium is included for the menu items identified as healthy options. ”Sodium Saavy” options containing 750 milligrams or less of sodium are identified online. The site also provides “sodium saavy” tips.
If you use websites like Healthy Dining Finder, I encourage you to read all of the nutrition information before ordering an item. For example, on Taco John’s menu the Taco Salad with Beef is included as a healthy option, but only if you skip the crispy tortilla bowl, dressing and sour cream. The lesson from perusing the healthy choices from Noodles & Company is to choose the small portion.
I was disappointed to see only a few Lawrence restaurants listed, so I would recommend checking out our list of participating LiveWell EatWell restaurants on Wellcommons. They offer healthy options, but sometimes those options are not clearly marked online or on the menu. So, don’t hesitate to ask your server for help.