You can eat guilt free on Cinco de Mayo


Heather Hardyman



The Scioto County Health Coalition’s (SCHC) Better Plate Initiative is at it again providing you with healthy, tasty menu items at local restaurants. The Better Plate initiative is a plan to help our community become healthier with guidance in choosing the best option when eating out. Our picks are based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines and MyPlate recommendations. Small logos will be placed next to items that meet the SCHC’s approval, as well as a decal in the window of each establishment that has had their menu evaluated.

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, you are invited to enjoy guilt free some delicious Mexican food. Upon the entry of Sonora’s Mexican Grill, you are greeted with vibrant warm colors; eager, inviting staff and fast service; and the aroma of tasty Mexican cuisine. Sonora’s Mexican Grill is located on Grandview Avenue in Portsmouth. The menu offers many options, including beef, chicken, pork, seafood, fajitas, soups and salads, vegetarian dishes, tacos, enchiladas, chimichangas, molcajete, burritos, quesadillas, special egg dishes, sandwiches, combination dinners, desserts and a just-for-kids section. I chose to try the chicken primavera. This dish is loaded with grilled vegetables such as carrots, squash, zucchini, mushrooms and broccoli. Mouthwatering, tender grilled chicken strips add a healthy dose of protein to this dish. It is traditionally served with queso dip, beans and rice. Queso dip can be ordered on the side, and beans and rice can be swapped for mixed vegetables to reduce calories. This dish is a good example of a balanced meal. It contains vegetables, protein and carbohydrates. Perhaps you could get some guacamole on the side to add a healthy fat to the meal.

Sonora’s Mexican Grill has many smarter choices on its menu, and there are a variety of modifications that can be made. When placing your order, you have the choice to customize however you like. The food can be cooked without oils to reduce fat, you can swap beans and rice for mixed vegetables, and you can order things like queso dip and guacamole on the side, so you can choose to eat as little, or as much, as you like. Other menu options that stand out as a better choice are the Debbie Salad with romaine lettuce, rice, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado, corn and your choice of protein; the chicken fajitas, grilled chicken, sautéed onions, bell peppers and tomatoes, served with salad, pico de gallo, guacamole, beans and rice, and tortillas; and the Caldo De Camaron soup, Mexican-style shrimp soup with carrots, squash, zucchini, mushrooms and broccoli. Various menu items are loaded with color from romaine, carrots, broccoli, onions and other vegetables. The possibilities are endless and delicious.

The SCHC Better Plate Initiative reminds you that considering your health when eating out doesn’t have to be so difficult. Keep an eye out for the Better Plate Initiative at Market Street Café, Belini Cucina, Sonora Mexican Grill and more restaurants coming soon.

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Heather Hardyman

Heather Hardyman is a member of the Scioto County Health Coalition’s (SCHC) Better Plate Initiative Nutrition Committee. She is a Marshall University graduate dietetics student, and manager for the KDMC Ohio Farmers Market.

Heather Hardyman is a member of the Scioto County Health Coalition’s (SCHC) Better Plate Initiative Nutrition Committee. She is a Marshall University graduate dietetics student, and manager for the KDMC Ohio Farmers Market.