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HOUMA, La. (AP) — Restaurants in Houma and Thibodaux are joining the cause of Ochsner’s Eat Fit program, creating new menu items to suit dietary needs and requirements for a healthy lifestyle.

The Eat Fit Bayou is the newest addition to the program, which began in 2013.

Ochsner Fitness Center created the Eat Fit program to find healthy ways to eat out in Louisiana without risking taste or flavor.

The program aims to add nutritious, yet delicious meals to menus across south Louisiana so that health-minded residents can still enjoy a night out without sacrificing their diet.

It’s targeted to those watching their weight or managing diabetes, blood pressure or cholesterol.

Whether you’re in Houma, Thibodaux or spending the weekend in New Orleans, Baton Rouge or on the Northshore, anyone can download the Eat Fit NOLA app and find a restaurant that suits everyone’s needs.

“One of my priorities is gaining more partners out there to really put our toe in the water and make a big splash,” said Lauren Hulin, Eat Fit ambassador for the NOLA, North Shore and Bayou regions.

Participating restaurants in the Houma-Thibodaux area include: Carrot Patch, Thibodaux; Ground Pat’i, Houma; PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans, Houma; Root 2 Rise, Houma; and Spahr’s Seafood, Cut Off.

The program, developed by Molly Kimball, a registered dietitian at the Ochsner Fitness Center, has strict nutritional criteria for every menu item labeled as “Eat Fit” worthy.

The criteria includes calorie limits for each part of a meal: less than 300 calories for appetizers, less than 600 calories for entrees and less than 175 calories for desserts and sides. It also instructs chefs on how much fats, sugars, proteins, fibers, whole grains and sodium should be in each course.

Generally, most meals should have a lean protein and a salad or non-starch vegetable, according to the Eat Fit guidelines.

“As dietitian, I think it’s important to have this kind of program not only in Louisiana but all over the county just to give anyone in a community a place to enjoy socially, but also have a great meal that’s not full of fat and calories,” Hulin said.

The program also creates recipes with the same guidelines for cooking at home.

For information about the program and how to download the app or become a participating restaurant, visit