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My Smart Choice Healthier Food and Beverage Choices

The My Smart Choice symbol


The My Smart Choice symbol means the food you are eating meets nutritional criteria set by UW Health experts.

UW Health has an obligation to the community to model healthy living practices that incorporate nutritious eating in everyday life. The food and beverage choices offered to patients, employees and visitors should set a standard for high-quality, affordable nutrition.


The My Smart Choice guiding principles were created for people who are interested in making healthy food and beverage choices.


The My Smart Choice Symbol


The My Smart Choice symbol will be used in all of UW Hospital and Clinics food venues, including Four Lakes Café, Mendota Market, Java Coast, Farmers' Market Cafe, and all sponsored vending, catering and patient meal services. This initiative is a collaborative effort between UW Hospital and Clinics Culinary Services and Clinical Nutrition, and UW Health Wellness Options at Work.


When you see the My Smart Choice Symbol you know:

  • Entrées have 450 or fewer calories, five grams or less of saturated fat and zero grams of trans fat
  • Vegetable sides have 100 or fewer calories, one gram or less of saturated fat and zero grams of trans fat
  • Starch sides or soups have 150 or fewer calories, two grams or less of saturated fat and zero grams of trans fat 
  • Desserts and snacks have 200 or fewer calories, two grams or less of saturated fat, seven grams or fewer of added sugar and zero grams of trans fat 
  • Combination meals have 500 or fewer calories, six grams or less of saturated fat and zero grams of trans fat   
  • Beverages (per eight ounces)  have 120 or fewer calories, two grams or less of saturated fat, two grams or fewer of added sugar and zero grams of trans fat

Guiding Criteria for My Smart Choice


Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 (pdf)

  • Maintain calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight
  • Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages

Choose MyPlate

  • Balancing calories: Enjoy your food, but eat less; avoid oversized portions
  • Foods to increase: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, make at least half your grains whole grains, switch to fat-free or low fat (1 percent) milk
  • Foods to reduce: Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals and choose foods with lower numbers; drink water instead of sugary drinks 

Healthier Food and Beverages in Vending Machines


Good nutrition is a building block to your overall health and can help reduce the risk of developing many preventable diseases. Follow the Green, Yellow, Red concept when buying from vending machines: 

  • Green snacks meet all five of the My Smart Choice nutrition criteria. They are better-for-you choices and can be eaten daily.
  • Yellow snacks meet three or four of the criteria and can be eaten from time to time.
  • Red snacks have little or no nutritional value. They meet zero to two of the criteria, so stop and think before you drink or eat.

My Smart Choice snack criteria:

  1. 250 or fewer calories
  2. Less than seven grams of added sugar
  3. Less than two grams of saturated fat
  4. Zero trans fat
  5. 230 milligrams or less of sodium