Wichita County Restaurants Get Healthier with "Por Vida" Program

Restaurants in Wichita County want to play an active role in the health of our community.   It’s through a program called “Por Vida”, Spanish for “For Life”.  
Newschannel 6 reached out to one of the six participating restaurants within the “Por Vida” Program, as well as members of the Health Coalition of Wichita County, who want you and your family to make healthy food choices when eating out.
Familia Gutierrez has been in Wichita Falls for about 20 years. The restaurant is apart of “Por Vida”, which means they serve food that meets healthy, nutritional guidelines with labeled calories, sodium and fat restrictions.
“We started off already started serving today and so we're ready for people to come and try it out.  It could help our customers make some healthy choices as well as eating greater Mexican food,” said manager of Familia Gutierrez, Rosa Villegas.
The family owned restaurant will offer three “Por Vida” meals.  The Nopale Tacos is 490 calories, the Veggie Burrito is 450 calories and the Chicken Salad is 340 calories.
“We already have these dishes on our main menus, but we didn't have it divided in the portions where you can get the calories added to it,” said Villegas.
“Por Vida” is a task group within the Obesity Sub-Committee of the Health Coalition of Wichita County.
“We're trying to get people in town to choose “Por Vida” when they're looking for healthier options,” said Quincy Christian, Program Coordinator of Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children with the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District and member of Heath Coalition of Wichita County and the Obesity Sub-Committee.
Christian said eating out is such a big part of our culture.  She also said it’s fun, it’s social and it can be healthy.
“We want people to know that eating out isn't bad, it is just making the right choices when you eat out,” said Christian.
Nutrition Services Director for the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank, member of the Health Coalition of Wichita County and Co-Chair with the Obesity Sub-Committee, Jessica Bachman feels the same.
“As a consumer myself, I always look for options that would be healthier, but a lot times, items are misleading and nutrition guidelines could be all “mumbo jumbo”, but this allows an easy way for consumers to see what item would be the best option,” said Bachman.
For Rosa and others with Familia Gutierrez, they believe “Por Vida” will only help their business.
“Por Vida” comes to Wichita County from from San Antonio.
As an employee for the Wichita Falls- Wichita County Public Health District, one of Christian’s objectives was to bring a health menu labeling program to the county. “Por Vida” brings together Christian’s program, Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children along with the National WIC Program.
“Por Vida” was implemented this week in Wichita County.   The six restaurants include Luby’s Cafeteria, Gypsy Kit, Golden Chick, McDonald’s, Market Street and Familia Gutierrez.
Taylor Barnes, Newschannel 6