7-Eleven offering healthier food options

LOS ANGELES

"Instead of getting the typical burgers and fries, you can come to 7-Eleven and get a fresh sandwich, get a fruit cup, get yogurt and feel good about the choices that you're making," said Jennifer Maise, a marketing manager at 7-Eleven.

The chain's customers were requesting options beyond the cheesy, greasy, fried temptations typically offered. Depending on the store's demographic, customers will find some decent choices like yogurt parfaits, bistro snacks and veggies with dip.

There's also the 7-Smart line, which offers items under 400 calories, such as the Bistro Deluxe with Black Forest Ham, salami, Swiss cheese and Dijon mustard on Asiago bread, as well as turkey and tomato on wheat, along with salad.

The Very Berry Chicken Salad contains almonds, strawberries, blueberries, grilled chicken and a spring mix with balsamic vinaigrette.

"Specialty coffees - the Starbucks, the Dunkin' Donuts - they are going after (quick-service restaurants), they definitely are trying to get that share," Maise said.

Juice joints and coffee shops now have oatmeal, while Starbucks stocks sophisticated bistro boxes. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf has breakfast burritos, even Tuna Nicoise.

No matter what mini-mart you go to, remember you're looking for good, hearty food, not the simple excess calories because there are plenty of those around to attract you. The first line of defense is both protein and produce.

Fruit is common, but now customers will find hard-boiled eggs, string cheese, salads and veggies with dip. Although not abundant, coconut water might be found, and even unsweetened ice tea in lieu of sugary beverages.

If you don't see what you want, ask. These markets want your food dollars.

"Our client is everybody," said another 7-Eleven marketing manager, Lori Primavera. "This is their neighborhood store, so everybody is our client."

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