CHICAGO – A growing number of US restaurant chains are offering menu items with 550 or fewer calories to satisfy consumer demand for such items. Not coincidentally, pending legislation will require any brand operating 20 or more units to display nutritional information for all permanent menu items, according to Technomic.

Restaurants have become more adept at positioning these menu items to consumers, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president. “If you can menu these lighter items in a way that does not make consumers feel as though they are sacrificing flavor or satisfaction, they will be more likely to order them,” he added. “You can tout them as savory and delicious, as well as better for you, rather than picking just one aspect over another.”

New menu items containing less than 550 calories include Friendly’s Half Turkey Club SuperMelt Sandwich and Garden Salad, 420 calories; Logan’s Roadhouse’s 6 oz Filet Mignon, under 550 calories; Carl’s Jr.’s Charbroiled Guacamole Turkey Burger, 490 calories; and Z’Tejas’ Turkey Jalapeño Wrap, under 550 calories, just to mention a few.