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DALLAS -- New Year's resolutions will be easier to keep for 7-Eleven customers who are watching their waistlines, as the chain is adding three healthy snack options to its stores, the company stated.
"We want to offer healthier choices that are appealing to both men and women," Alan Beach, 7-Eleven vice president of merchandising, said in a statement. "A man might choose a protein bar, banana and G2, the new low-calorie Gatorade, while a woman might opt for a cup of cutup fruit, Kashi oatmeal and green tea. 7-Eleven stores even carry burritos made with all-organic ingredients."
Beginning this month, participating 7-Eleven stores will add two flavors -- lemon and chocolate -- of individually wrapped twin-pack snack cakes from Weight Watchers, the company stated. Blueberry and double chocolate muffins are also available in single packages. The snacks have no trans-fat, less calories and fat per serving than traditional snacks, according to the company. The suggested retail price for each item is $1.29.
"We think the Weight Watchers cakes will be popular with our male and female customers," Tony Sparks, category manager for bakery and bread for 7-Eleven, said in a statement. "Even adding a sugar-free Crystal Light Slurpee drink will still allow you to stay on track."
Another healthy new product to hit 7-Eleven shelves are LARABARS -- raw food bars made with unsweetened fruit, nuts and spices, the company stated. Each variety of bar is certified kosher and vegan, contains no more than six ingredients, is unprocessed and uncooked. The bars also have no added sugar and is gluten-, dairy- and soy-free, according to the company. The suggested retail price for a 1.8-ounce bar is $1.69.
LARABARS will be primarily located in greater New York; Los Angeles; Washington; Norfolk, Va.; Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas; Denver/Colorado Springs, Colo.; Chicago; Philadelphia; Orlando; Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla.; Miami; San Diego; Baltimore; Salt Lake City; Seattle/Tacoma, Wash.; Detroit; San Francisco/San Jose, Calif.; Las Vegas; and Richmond, Va.
In addition, 7-Eleven will introduce its own proprietary healthy snack in March, featuring an all-natural, triple-layer protein bar. The 70 percent organic bars will feature the brand All Natural MEGA Protein Bar, and will contain 30 grams of protein. The bars will be available in two flavors -- Caramel Chocolate Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, the company stated.
Other healthy options that are available year-round include fresh fruits and vegetables, salads, lower-calorie sandwiches, portion-control snacks, energy and protein bars, dark chocolate candy, sugar-free Slurpee drinks, vitamin-enhanced waters, yogurt and meal-replacement shakes, according to the company.
"While many people start diets as part of their New Year's resolutions, most people need to make long-term lifestyle changes instead of looking to short fixes," Beach said. "Balance is what it's all about, and 7-Eleven offers healthier choices for those who want them."
Other products for healthy conscious customers at 7-Eleven stores include:
-- Oh Boy! Oberto Turkey Jerky
-- Fresh-brewed black and green tea
-- Mango Bango Totally Wild Tea Slurpee
-- Chicken Margherita Cafe Steamers or Chicken Basil Panini frozen meals from Healthy Choice
-- Kashi Heart to Heart Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
-- Gatorade's G2
-- Naked 100% Juice fruit smoothies
-- V-8 vegetable and fruit juices
-- Propel Invigorating Water
In other healthy product news, eight Boston area convenience stores located near middle schools have partnered with city school and health officials to steer students away from soda and toward healthier drinks, the Boston Globe reported.
"If we're going to make a significant dent in the childhood obesity epidemic, we're going to have to make changes in the environment," Vivien Morris, community initiatives director at Boston Medical Center's Nutrition and Fitness for Life program, told the Boston Globe.
Under the program, which began earlier this week, the Boston Public Health Commission posted advertising flyers in the stores that encourage schoolchildren to trade soft drinks for 100 percent fruit juice, low-fat milk and plain water. In addition, the stores agreed to prominently display healthier beverages and sell smaller, 50 cent healthy drinks, the report stated.
In recent years, Boston public schools have removed junk food and soft drinks in school vending machines and hired chefs to improve the quality and nutritional content of school meals, according to the report.
"We're working on many fronts to try and influence children's eating behaviors," Anne McHugh, director of the Boston Public Health Commission's Boston Steps program, told the paper. "Sugary drinks are just empty calories without any nutritional value, and it's an area where we think we can have influence."
The initiative will also track children's beverage choices over the next months to determine if students are developing healthier habits, the Globe reported.
"We knew they were getting healthy food in school, but what about to and from school?" Morris said. "A fruit drink and bag of chips for 75 cents, that continues to be the norm."
A Tedeschi Food Shop in Hyde Park, Mass., sees local students visit the store for breakfast and afternoon snacks -- usually candy, fruit drinks and chips, store owner Mir Karim told the paper, adding he is happy to offer a healthier alternative, but it may prove a tough sell.
"They like the junk food," he told the Globe. "It will take time, I think, but maybe it will work. The kids, sometimes they are hard to convince."