A healthy taco

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Can the restaurant that serves the Doritos Locos taco and the uber-cheesy Quesalupa be an option for the health-conscious?

Yes it can.

With offerings including a low-calorie “Fresco” menu, a high-protein “Cantina” menu and a vegetarian menu certified by the American Vegetarian Association, Taco Bell is on the road to become one of the healthiest fast-food chains. There are even vegan-friendly selections available on the Taco Bell menu.

The Irvine, Calif.-based chain hired dietician and product developer Missy Nelson almost five years ago. Since then she has worked to reduce artificial ingredients, removed antibiotics from the chicken, switched to cage-free eggs and eliminated the largest cup option for the soda fountain — among other changes. Across the menu, the amount of sodium has been reduced by 15 percent.

Taco Bell doesn’t call out healthy menu options in its marketing; the brand is building awareness of its nutrition strategy around choice. Using a mobile app, customers can customize their orders to suit their dietary choices and can clearly see nutritional information, too.

Subtle, transparent and customizable … three words that reverberate with Taco Bell’s key demographic. Seems like a healthy strategy.

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