FOODIE FINDS – ’Smart Choices’ offers lower-calorie options


Many consumers may not be aware, but fast food places and other restaurants frequently offer meals with more than 700 calories. Doesn’t sound like a lot? The recommended daily intake of calories is about 2,000 for women and 2,500 for men. That means a 700-calorie meal is right around a third of what you’re supposed to eat in a day.
Burgers such as the Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese at McDonald’s or the Baconator at Wendy’s weigh in at 740 and 830 calories, respectively. Add fries (or even a salad!) and a drink, and you’re looking at approximately 1,300 calories.

That might not be a huge deal if you have fast food one time and eat light for the rest of the day, but not everyone takes that route. Some people go to fast food restaurants multiple times a day.

On top of that, restaurant employees are trained to upsell (“Would you like large fries for 35 cents more?”), increasing your spending as well as caloric intake. In February, the Healthy Pima organization launched its “Smart Choices for Healthy Dining” program to encourage healthier eating practices at local restaurants.

Local eateries can participate in the program by meeting certain criteria that restrict high-calorie, fat and sodium counts, making it easier to get reasonably portioned food onto people’s plates.

Many Tucson restaurants participate in the Smart Choices program, including Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea, El Charro Café, Café a la C’Art, Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails, Frankie’s South Philly Cheesesteaks and Hoagies, Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria and Sparkroot. For more information, visit

Photo by Miki Jennings


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *