Hear it from the Experts

My North Florida restaurant reviews show there are great healthy restaurants and local hidden gems for residents and tourists alike to enjoy. I sat down with Shane Irving from McAlister's Deli to hear what he had to say about healthy alternative dining choices for family and friends.

Interview with Shane Irving

Shane was worked at McAlister's Deli in Gainesville, Fla., since 1994 and is the Director of Operations, managing restaurants in the North Central Florida region.

What significant health changes in the food industry have you witnessed during your career?

Over the years, there has been a higher awareness of food born illnesses and the ways we can prevent these issues in our establishments. Calorie content is also a more prominent quality to guests.

McAlister's tea

Has McAlister's faced challenges in order provide healthy food for customers?

Not really. We always work to supply healthy options for our guests. Ultimately it is up to our guests to decide what they choose and how healthy it is.

How does McAlister's provide healthy options to customers that differs from other restaurants?

Our menu is designed three ways. First, everything we serve is made to order. Our guests may choose to remove higher calorie items from their diet. Second, we offer a build-your-own menu to make healthy options attainable and finally, we offer menu items that are under 500 calories, which is helpful for our guests.

What is the most rewarding experience about serving healthy food to families?

When the regular guest comes back daily, I know our restaurant isn't poisoning them with fatty high calorie foods that contributes to the statistics of unhealthy Americans.

What recommendations do you have for restaurant-goes looking to make healthy choices in a quick-service restaurant?

Now is the time to choose wisely. The government at the end of 2011 will mandate that calorie content be posted on all menu items.