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National health care legislation will require restaurant chains of 20 locations or more to post calorie counts on all menu items beginning this year

The Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) is working to bring more nutritional information and healthier options to diners.

National health care legislation will require restaurant chains of 20 locations or more to post calorie counts on all menu items beginning this year. TRA, however, is encouraging establishments that fall outside this mandate to post information about healthy options on their menus.

According to TRA, non-chain restaurants make up 60 percent of the state total and nearly half of its restaurant revenue.

Increased demand for nutritional transparency has prompted TRA to work with FoodCALC, a company that conducts nutritional analysis on restaurant menu items, to develop case studies with Garrido’s and Jorge’s, both Austin-based Mexican restaurants. Their menu items were analyzed in December 2010 for calories and other nutritional information. Depending on the results, the restaurants may change the recipes to include lower-calorie ingredients. While there’s always going to be queso on the menu, healthier options would be prominently featured with calorie counts to help diners make a more informed choice.

When completed later this year, these case studies will be highlighted in TRA’s magazine and website.

For more information, visit the Texas Restaurant Association.

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