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Healthier Kids’ Menu at Pico de Gallo

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Kathy Shields, Chronic Disease Manager, SA Metropolitan Health District

By Chris Dunn
Special to SavorSA

Pico de Gallo, 111 S. Leona St., has announced its commitment to improving the health of the children of San Antonio by introducing a new children’s menu that focuses on “lighter, healthier, and appropriately-sized options.”

Supporters in attendance at Thursday’s unveiling included Dr. Fernando Guerra, director of Health at Metro Health; San Antonio Restaurant Association president Lita Salazar; Dion Turner, president of the San Antonio Dietetic Association; San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro; Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson; and State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, District 26.

Pico de Gallo’s owners and staff worked for the past six months with the Healthy Restaurants Coalition, led by Metro Health in partnership with SARA, local dietitians, health educators, and other interested participants, to develop a menu that features 20 healthy items, including entrées, side dishes, desserts, and drinks that have less than 5 grams of fat and no more than 10 grams of added sugar.

“I am proud to be on the forefront of this effort and look to my industry peers to join us,” said Ruben Cortez, whose family owns Pico de Gallo.

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Sen. Van de Putte, the Mayor, and Ruben Cortez

On the menu, a cartoon rooster, Little Pequín, points children to the healthy choices. Items include entrées, such as Grilled Chicken Tenders and Beef or Chicken Soft Tacos, side items, such as Spanish rice and carrots or green beans, and desserts, such as fruit cup and apple sauce.

Van de Putte emphasized the importance and urgency of this initiative:  “An entire generation will be burdened by chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure before they even reach 18 unless we take action now.”

Adkisson noted that the incidence of diabetes in San Antonio is twice the national average and, in addition to individual pain and suffering, costs the county $100 million a year.

Castro pointed out the potential benefits that can come from this kind of cooperative effort. “When entities are willing to work together for the greater good, tremendous things happen,” he said.

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