Feb 17, 2012 12:02 AM
TUCSON - For a year, Pima County has been working with local restaurants to change the way Tucsonans dine out.
They've come up with the "Smart Choices" restaurant guide to help you find healthier options.
Around 25 local restaurants are participating.
"The choice is yours, but we have the choices you can make," said El Charro and Sir Vezas Chef and Owner Carlotta Flores.
A choice that is up to the restaurants too. Their participation is voluntary.
"Eating healthy and cooking good food and giving people good options is what being a chef is all about. So this is just an extension of what we've been doing naturally all along," said Janos, J Bar, and DOWNTOWN Kitchen and Cocktails Owner Janos Wilder.
In order to be included restaurants must have at least three menu items that have 700 calories or less, 30% or less of calories from fat, 8 grams of saturated fat or less, no artificial trans fats, and 1,000 milligrams of sodium or less.
"Each one of those menu items will be evaluated independently to meet the criteria that we have, so people can feel confident that it's not just a make believe identification," said Pima County District 5 Board of Director Richard Elias.
"I probably will go to a restaurant where there is more information," said Tucsonan Cynthia Harrington.
"It's not going to control what I order, but I guess it's just helpful to have additional information," said Tucsonan Sabine Harrington.
Not only will the nutrition values be available but special dietary needs as well.
"I submitted recipes and honestly I thought that some of them were healthier then some that were chosen. So I too learned along with it," said Flores.
In about a month it will be even easier to eat healthy when a new app is rolled out for smart phones.