Eating right when you're eating out isn't always easy. But Subway customer Billy Linkous says he consciously makes the effort to look for healthy restaurant options.
"I used to eat most anything, now I'm trying to straighten up as I'm getting older," he said
Now, with nearly two thirds of McLennan County adults overweight or obese, the City of Waco hopes to make healthy choices easier to access.
"We want to provide the community with a tool to understand how to eat out in a healthy way," said Margo Shanks with the Waco Health Dept.
That tool is "Eat Well Waco." Restaurants awarded the seal have to meet certain requirements.
"It has to be trans fat-free, has to be smoke-free and they have to have nutritional information available to customers," Shanks said.
Five out of seven menu criteria must also be met, such as providing drink options other than soda, only serving complementary items (chips, bread) when asked, including fresh fruit and veggies as side options for kids meals and allowing for small or "half" portions.
Billy says the seal would encourage him to consider eating at the now five participating restaurants. They include: Subway, Newks, D's Mediterranean, Pho Cafe Saigon and Jimmy Johns.
"It would at least make me take a look at it," he said.
Now they're hoping to encourage even more restaurants to apply by moving part of the program to the Baylor campus.
"The restaurants, especially the smaller ones...they don't have people or funding to do nutrient analysis," said Baylor senior Gabby Saucedo.
That's where Baylor nutrition students come in. In the last month they began analyzing menus for interested restaurants. It's a meticulous, and usually expensive, process. And it's necessary to merit the seal.
"The spices if they make them themselves we have to analyze the whole spice mix," Gabby explained. The students offer their services free of charge.
And with obesity becoming such a large issue, "Eat Well Waco" allows restaurants to open their doors to new customers who want to eat in good health.
Reporter: Rebecca Schleicher/Photographer: Thuan Nguyen