Lani Telian, Department of Public Health
Today, families are eating more and more meals outside the home. Restaurant foods tend to be higher in fat and calories, and are often larger in portion size than meals we eat at home. These foods may be contributing to the problem of overweight and obesity in Massachusetts. As obesity rates continue to grow, many Massachusetts communities are taking action.
Healthy Dining programs are popping up in cities across the state. The Mass in Motion-funded City of New Bedford, with its high rates of diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, recently joined the club.
With its variety of popular ethnic and American restaurants in mind, New Bedford set out to create Healthy Dining New Bedford: a voluntary program which encourages restaurant owners and managers to offer healthy menu options. The Mass in Motion team did research in their community, and gathered advice from other communities with healthy dining programs of their own. New Bedford then set three goals for the program:
- Recognize restaurant owners for their efforts in creating healthier options.
- Provide healthy dining experiences for residents.
- Attract tourism and visitors to restaurants throughout the city.
In order to be considered for the Healthy Dining New Bedford program, restaurants owners must submit their adult and children's menus with healthy eating options, which should include some of the following:
- low fat or skim milk instead of whole milk
- a small side of vegetables in place of French fries
- real fruit juice or water in place of sugary beverages such as soda
- the “half meal-to-go” option, in which a customer eats only half and takes the remaining portion home
- some dishes in smaller portions
Accepted Healthy Dining restaurants will be promoted in local newspapers, newsletters, on cable access programs and social media channels such as New Bedford’s new Facebook page. Additionally, restaurants will also receive a decal (sticker) to put up on their restaurant windows recognizing their efforts.
More and more customers are looking for “lighter” options. When restaurant owners are on board, making the healthy choice becomes a whole lot easier. For more tips on healthy eating away from home, visit Mass in Motion.
Weekly Flu Report, December 2, 2016 posted on Dec 2
The latest weekly flu report shows that rates of flu-like illness rose slightly in the past seven days in Massachusetts. Still, it’s safe to say that flu season has yet to really kick in – which means there is still time to protect yourself and your family …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, December 2, 2016
Keeping the Balance During the Holiday Season! posted on Nov 29
By Tracey Munson and Meaghan Sutherland The holiday season is on our doorstep, accompanied by an endless supply of gravy, fudge, gingerbread, and figgy pudding (okay, maybe not that last one). While enjoying some of these foods is something we look forward to every year, …Continue Reading Keeping the Balance During the Holiday Season!
Protecting the Health of Home Care Aides posted on Nov 28
Do you or someone you love use the services of a home care aide? Nearly 50,000 people—mostly women—work in this growing occupation in Massachusetts. You may be surprised to learn that recent data show that home care aides are twice as likely to have asthma …Continue Reading Protecting the Health of Home Care Aides