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Hotels put Healthier Choices on their Menus

5:48 PM, Mar 27, 2011   |    comments
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Forget those late-night cheeseburgers ordered from room service. Hotels increasingly are filling menus with low-calorie, low-fat options so you can eat healthy on the road.

•Hilton will feature low-calorie, low-fat breakfast options at all its hotels by the end of April.

•Sofitel's De-Light menu launched in the U.S. in February and is available at its properties in New York, Chicago and several other North American cities. Guests can order a three-course meal that doesn't top 500 calories, and every item on the menu is cooked without oil, flour, butter or cream.

•Courtyard by Marriott began listing calories on menu boards posted in its new hotel bistros in June. Handouts are available for guests who want a more detailed breakdown of the food's content, from sodium to carbohydrates.

"The hotel companies need to always be on their toes to provide services and products that are attractive to the road warrior," says Jan Freitag of Smith Travel Research, who notes that hoteliers are responding. "(They're) saying, 'Hey, we understand that being on the road is tough, but it shouldn't necessarily impact your healthy lifestyle you have at home. So this is one way to make it easier for you.' "

Hotels are mirroring a focus on fitness and healthy eating that has led cities such as New York to require chain restaurants to prominently display calorie information and the national health care law to mandate that insurance plans offer wellness programs.

"Today's savvy and health-conscious diners and travelers demand options to eat as they do at home," says Beth Scott, vice president of food and beverage strategy and innovation at Hilton Worldwide.

Cheeseburgers are still the top seller, but fresh fruit, steel-cut oatmeal and Greek yogurt have become the most-requested breakfast items, she says: "Choice is key. If they want to indulge, it should be by choice, not necessity."

Brad Nelson, who oversees culinary strategy for Marriott International, says more consumers want information on menu boards about the food they eat.

Guests who want to know how many calories are in the Caesar salad "can look right up there and see it," he says.

USA Today

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