NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Eating out will soon get easier for calorie watchers.
The Federal Drug Administration has announced a certain compliance date for a menu-labeling requirement signed into law back in 2010.
In one year East Texans will have a better guide for making the best dietary choices.
By May 5, 2017 a law will require chain restaurants and most food service businesses to post calorie information for standard menu items. Also guests must be provided additional nutrition information upon request.
Award-winning Wing Stop and Newk's franchise owner Cassandra Stokes is an advocate for calorie watching consumers.
"We embrace it, and I truly do because I do it myself" Stokes said.
Some restaurants jumped ahead of a compliance date and are already providing nutritional information on menu boards, on lower calorie menus, and online.
"We're already seeing the effects of it because you've seen in the fast food industry, they're already making changes to their menus," Stokes said.
Whataburger has its longtime favorites, but a lighter-fare menu is also offered. Online nutritional information is available. Corporate is ready to help franchises offer it in restaurants.
"We want our diners to be informed," said Maci Herrington, the Dover marketing director for G.V.C.S./Whataburger. "We want them to know what they're getting. We don't want any secrets. We have plenty of really tasty options that are lower in calories."
"I prepare my own lunch as much as possible," said Claudann Jones, the family and consumer science county agent for Nacogdoches County.
Claudann Jones monitors calories, fat, and sodium in her own diet. As Family and Consumer Science county agent she believes the menu labeling will empower East Texans to make the best choices for healthy living.
"The federal government can give all of these guidelines, but at the end of the day, it's up to me and you," Jones said. "It's up to us to be our own health advocates"
Willpower is usually the most difficult component of lifestyle change toward healthier eating.
The FDA is offering webinars and menu-labeling workshops to help restaurants prepare to comply by May 5, 2017.