The state Department of Health and the Louisiana Restaurant Association have teamed up to encourage dining establishments to offer more healthy options on their menus. It's part of the state's ongoing Well-Ahead initiative.

Well-Ahead Louisiana director Melissa Martin says they've developed a set of health and wellness benchmarks for restaurants.
"We encourage up to three healthy menu options, and we make recommendations for calorie, fat grams and sodium content," said Martin.
Establishments who meet the benchmarks will become a designated Well-Ahead WellSpot. Martin says in a time when Americans are eating out more than ever, this partnership with LRA is an opportunity to help residents make smarter food choices.
She says they also encourage restaurant owners to have healthier children's menus.
"Such as simple changes like making water or low fat milk the default option instead of soda, or grilled meat option instead of only fried meats available," said Martin.
To become a designated WellSpot, or to find out what establishments meet these healthy standards, visit Martin says other wellness benchmarks they recommend for restaurants is to accommodate certain dietary restrictions, and prohibit smoking in outdoor sitting areas.
She says Louisiana is known for its great food, but just because a dish is healthy doesn't mean you have to sacrifice flavor.
"We just want to challenge our restaurant owners to make our food that we all love taste just as great, but save us out on some of those calories," said Martin.