Healthier options for customers at Sioux City's Irish pub - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Healthier options for customers at Sioux City's Irish pub

McCarthy's & Bailey's in Sioux City make healthier changes to its menu. McCarthy's & Bailey's in Sioux City make healthier changes to its menu.

Eating out at restaurants is enjoyable and relaxing, but depending on what you order, it can be gut busting.  But a new project is aimed at getting restaurants to offer healthier choices and getting customers to order them.

The fish and chips and the patty melts are served piping hot to hungry customers at McCcarthy's and Bailey's in downtown Sioux City.  If the fatty, fried Irish pub staples aren't your thing, your in luck.  The restaurant's now offering up choices for a little lighter fare.

"We didn't change that much stuff," says Nicholas Gunn, the executive chef at McCarthy's & Bailey's.  "We just highlighted some things and put some other choices in there."

Those choices include things like whole wheat bread, fat free dressings, and grilled fish and chicken.  The healthy menu makeover is part of a larger project.  Chef Nick has been working with the Siouxland District Health Department and a dietician from the June E. Nylen Cancer Center to get restaurants and customers thinking healthier by making low fat and low calorie food and drink options more available.

"Americans are eating out 100 times a year now so it's just a good thing to have the healthier choice be the easier choice," says Cindy Gates, a dietician with the June E. Nylen Cancer Center. "It's nice the restaurants are willing to work with us to help us make those healthier choices for those of us who want to eat healthier when we go out."

The project is funded through the Iowa Transformation Grant from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Iowa Department of Public Health. The goal is improve the overall health of communities.

"What better way to do that than to work with individuals in our community to try to increase the availability of healthy foods and beverages," says Angela Drent with the Siouxland District Health Department.  "If those facilities don't provide those healthier options, then the consumer can't make that healthy choice and so it's really about making the healthy choice the easy choice."

The pub is the guinea pig for the project.

"Who would have thought the Irish pub out of all places would have been the first place to go through it," says Gunn.  "We're the first ones and we are trying to make a difference."

"It is a great opportunity for anyone in our community to come out and support a locally owned restaurant while making healthy choices to not only to live better, but to eat better and drink healthier beverages," says Drent.

Drent hopes the healthy trend started at McCarthy's and Bailey's will catch on at other restaurants.  She says the health department wants to work with other Siouxland restaurants in making their menus healthier.  They are also working with concession stands and work sites to make some of those menu items healthier.

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