Local News

Fayetteville Restaurants Serve Up Heart-Healthy Alternatives

Posted September 5, 2001

— When you go out to eat, there are plenty of things to choose from on the menu. But if you have a health problem like heart disease, your choices can be limiting. Several Fayetteville restaurants are offering more healthy items to customers.

Fayetteville businessman Lonnie Player has had three heart attacks. Shortly after his bypass surgery, the 65-year-old noticed something everytime he went out to eat.

"I was just tired of eating salads and grilled chicken three meals a day, seven days a week," he says.

Working with the Friends of the Heart Center of Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation, he cooked up a way to offer choices. Based on programs in Atlanta and Winston Salem, Operation Healthy Heart took on a beat in Fayetteville.

Twenty-five local restaurants have worked with a registered dietician at the hospital to come up with healthy items catered toward people with heart disease.

"You might not be able to do anything about the stress level in your job or your genetics, but you are the only one to put the food in your mouth, so you have the opportunity to make changes there," says registered dietician Patrick Mahaney.

The meals, which reduce fat and limit sodium, meet Amercian Heart Association Dining Out Guidelines. Dogwood Deli is one of the participants. You can tell by their certificate and hearts by their menu items.

Heart disease affects more than 60 million Americans. Amy Elliot does not have it, but two of her grandparents did. For that reason, she chooses to take part.

"When I have to eat out, I try to make healthier choices and I try to stick with restaurants that have better choices like that," she says.

Not all restaurants in Fayetteville have met the tough standards, but Mahaney still offers some advice if you eat at those restaurants. It is important to watch your portion size -- a lot of times it is not what you eat but how much.

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