Eating out doesn't mean blowing your diet, after several restaurants in Tyler launched healthy menus Tuesday as part of a citywide initiative to make East Texas healthier.

Those restaurants include McDonalds, Fazoli’s, Denny’s, Clear Springs Restaurant, Jumbo’s Seafood and Jason’s Deli.

Breann Rodgers, manager of Jason’s Deli in Tyler, said the added options are part of creating a healthier lifestyle.

"What tends to give you success is truly changing how you eat," Rodgers said. “It’s not a quick fix.”

NET Health spokesperson Terrence Ates said the program has been in the works for several years, and started to develop after receive a grant of nearly $10,000.

His goal is to combat what he said is a reality in society today.

"It's more convenient for a person to go to a restaurant to eat as opposed to eating at home," Ates said.

He said UT Tyler nursing students helped in sifting through the 457 restaurants in Tyler. Over the past three years, students assessed more than 300 restaurants, looking at the quality of food options – including fresh produce, whole grains and the ability to make substitutions.

Ates said the program is all about practicing moderation, in hopes of creating a healthier East Texas over time.

"We still have a fairly high rate of diabetes, with roughly one in eight diagnosed,” Ates said.

Just like one heavy meal won't break the scale, one healthy meal won't shed the pounds. Rodgers says finding a balance that works for you is key.

"I still have ice cream every now and again, but I don't have ice cream every night of the week, or cookies ever night of the week like I used to,” Rodgers said. “You still have to let yourself have what you're craving, but you have to limit it. Sometimes you have to tell yourself no."

Any restaurant is eligible to take part in the “Fit Bite” program. Reach out to NET Health at 903-535-0020 or send an email to Ates at