ENGLEWOOD — Farlow’s on the Water became the first restaurant in Englewood to unveil the YMCA Fit Pick selections on the menu when it debuted Thursday. The Fit Pick program is designed for health-conscious individuals monitoring their calorie intake.
“It’s really an exciting program,” said Mischa Kirby, director of marketing at the South County Family YMCA. “It’s starting in Englewood because there are a lot of local restaurants. Sometimes you go to these larger chains (and) they serve these meals that are identified as meeting (a) certain calorie count or that they’re heart-healthy. So we figured part of our mission is to make the whole community healthier, not just the people who walk through the doors of the YMCA.”
Kirby partnered with registered dietician Megan Witt of Englewood, who runs MegaNutrition Works, to create the criteria for qualifying entrees for the program.
“Our numbers are based on 600 calories, 600 (mg) of sodium and less than 5 grams of saturated fat,” Witt said. “We started with restaurants we knew that would be excited to jump on board, then we just kind of went through the restaurants we knew about in town we thought would be appropriate and have some healthier options on their menu to kind of start with.”
Witt primarily focused on entrees, since focusing on other areas like appetizers or desserts would not be conducive to a caloriebased dietary need.
“We went through the menu and I would send my list of potential entrees that might work to the owner of the restaurant,” Witt said. “From there I would say, ‘send me percentages of these recipes.’ I would need the exact recipe, portion size — like how many teaspoons of salt, sugar, down to the little minutia, because that can affect the overall calories and saturated fat. Some of the menu items came really close, but didn’t cut it with our numbers that we developed.”
Reception is favorable, so far, at Farlow’s.
“(Customers) think it’s phenomenal,” owner Keith Farlow said. “(When it comes to participating in the program), we just didn’t want to go right to our salads and do a fat-free dressing and say, ‘Here you go.’ Every one of my salads meets the Y Fit Picks. We really were going after entrees for lunch and dinner that people can go in. I love salads, but if I’m going in for dinner, I’m probably not going for a salad.”
He said he looks to further develop new entrees with Witt to expand the Fit Pick selections.