Universal's U.S. theme parks to offer healthier food choices

Universal Parks & Resorts will add healthier side dishes to its food menus at its theme parks in the U.S. -- Universal Orlando's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios theme parks in Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles -- for both adults and children beginning Dec. 24.

The new adult food selections include salads and trans fat-free French fries, while the children's menus have fruits and or trans fat-free fries. Healthier beverage choices also will be added to the menus.

In addition in 2007, the three parks will also begin cooking and frying with 100% trans fat-free oil throughout most of their facilities, the park operator said, and by the end of the year, the parks intend to be trans fat-free in all facilities.

Furthermore, Universal said it will work to make nutritional information about its food options available to guests.

"Providing our guests healthier options and trans fat-free cooking is the right thing to do," said Universal Parks & Resorts executive chef Steven Jayson. "We want our guests to feel good about the food they eat when they visit our theme parks. And we know choice is important to them. That's why our program is about choices rather than absolutes."

Universal is the latest major hospitality company to announce plans to remove trans fats from its foods.

Earlier this month, Loews Hotels said it would no longer serve foods prepared with the artificial trans fat at its 18 properties across the U.S. and Canada and plans to eliminate the fats by June 2007.

Trans fat can be found in shortening and margarine and also are ingredients in such foods as doughnuts, cookies, most pastries, other processed foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils. Some trans fat is found naturally in small amounts in various meats and dairy products.

There are indications that trans fat raises low density lipoprotein (or "bad") cholesterol levels which can cause clogged arteries, heart disease and stroke.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to Michael Milligan at [email protected].

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