Recent studies indicate that as many as one-third of all North American adults are obese. And while healthier diets provide an obvious antidote to their fattier counterparts, there is an obvious reason Americans tend to choose foods in the latter category — they taste awesome.
So, if the challenge is to marry great taste with healthier intake, and the nation’s well-being hinges on the result, health mavens couldn’t do much better than to look toward today’s more innovative restaurant chains.
For example, recently chosen for the top spot on “Health” magazine’s America’s Healthiest Chain Restaurants list, UNO has found a way to offer a menu filled with healthy choices, and to have its customers embrace these choices enthusiastically.
“We start by rejecting the notion that healthy food must sacrifice taste,” said Frank Guidara, CEO of UNO Chicago Grill. “That simply isn’t true. Granted, to achieve both, you will require the highest level of culinary talent. But we have plenty of that at UNO, and that’s why we knew we could create menu offerings that would be both healthy and delicious.”
A chef of great talent knows that for every unhealthy item added to enhance taste, a healthy alternative can be found or concocted. At UNO, that means diners can enjoy a roasted eggplant, spinach & feta flatbread pizza on multigrain crust without guilt or worry, since it has only 280 calories and six grams of fiber per serving. Diners can choose the multigrain crust option for any flatbread pizza. Another great option for a delicious entree is the lemon basil salmon, which has just 240 calories per serving.
And when it comes to carbohydrates, UNO teamed with Barilla to offer whole grain penne as an option to any pasta — helping to add more fiber and whole grains to your diet without sacrificing taste.
Just as important as healthy choices is good, easy-to-access information. That’s why UNO offers nutrition information through its Web site and on display in restaurant lobby kiosks, with categories that show diners which items are under 500 calories, which are vegetarian and which are created to serve those with food allergies. What’s more, UNO’s site offers tips for eating healthy in restaurants, including ways to lessen fat content and caloric intake without sacrificing flavor.
Healthy eating will become mainstream when everyone figures out how to combine good health with great taste, and in that pursuit, UNO is leading the way.