Local Restaurants Become “Healthy Restaurants”
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An IU Health Bloomington Release
Bloomington, Ind. - Sixteen local restaurants received the “Healthy Restaurant Bloomington” designation this month as part of a community effort to ensure healthy choices, are easy choices. The participating restaurants were evaluated based on 32 criteria for promoting a healthy environment and lifestyle.
The program was initiated by the Active Living Coalition (ALC) of Monroe County, a group of more than 25 different organizations, businesses, and community members that promotes physical activity and wellness.
“It’s likeminded people coming together to achieve important community goals in health and wellness, such as supporting a healthy dining scene,” says Samantha Schaefer, Registered Dietitian at IU Health Bloomington Hospital Community Health and member of the ALC.
Earlier this year, the ALC was awarded one of the seven Bloomington/Monroe County Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and Environmental Change (ACHIEVE) mini-grants to carry out the restaurant campaign. The mini-grants were given to community and business organizations dedicated to supporting policy or system changes that expanded access to healthy and active lifestyles.
With the grant, the ALC was able to team up with the Bloomington Independent Restaurant Association (BIRA) and encourage local restaurants to think about their environmental impact, how well they promote employee health and physical activity, in what ways they support the community, and ensuring they offer a variety of menu items that meet certain dietary criteria.
The point was to look for areas of improvement, says Schaefer. “We asked questions like, ‘Do you purchase local food and supplies?’ and ‘Do you have a bike rack?’ If the answer was no, we gave them the resources to accomplish those tasks.”
After the initial evaluation, the restaurants were given time to implement the ALC’s recommendations. The 16 that improved will receive “Healthy Restaurant Bloomington” clings by the end of November to display in their windows. Any local BIRA restaurant is encouraged to take advantage of this assessment opportunity, and contact the ALC if they are interested in participating. The ALC will continue to provide the evaluations to BIRA restaurants.
Now the ALC has moved into phase two of the Healthy Restaurant Bloomington campaign, Smart Meal, where IU Health Bloomington Hospital Registered Dietitians analyze up to 10 items on restaurant menus for appropriate levels of calories, sodium, total fat, trans fat and saturated fat based off of the Smart Meal Colorado criteria. FARMbloomington, Lennie’s and The Village Deli are currently going through the process. Once completed, the ALC will assist participating restaurants in reprinting their menus, placing Smart Meal logos next to the analyzed menu items that meet the criteria.
“The ALC is trying to focus on leaving a footprint in our community,” says Schaefer. “Future generations will benefit from this campaign.”
The following is the list of restaurants that received the “Healthy Restaurant Bloomington” designation:
- Talons Restaurant at Eagle Pointe
- KRC Banquets and Catering
- Oliver Winery
- The Village Deli
- Laughing Planet
- Soma Coffee House and Juice Bar
- Upland Brewing Company
- Bloomingfoods Market and Deli (East)
- Bloomingfoods Market and Deli (West)
- Bloomingfoods Market and Deli (Downtown)
- Yogi’s Grill and Bar
- Kilroy’s Sports Bar
- Kilroy’s Bar n’ Grill
- Smokin' Jack's Rib Shack
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