We are just starting to analyze the results from the Nutrition Environment and Measures Survey of downtown and LiveWell EatWell restaurants. Check out Bonnie Erickson's post from October for more information on what we were looking for during this survey.
Here are some of the basics:
- Is nutrition information posted or listed on the menu?
- Does the restaurant promote overeating or do they encourage healthy eating?
- Are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat milk available?
- How many healthy main dishes (low fat, lower calorie) are on the menu?
After reviewing menus and meeting with restaurant owners and managers for the past two years, I see some progress. Half or more of the restaurants offered 1 percent or skim milk and whole grains. Fifteen of 56 restaurants provided nutrition information online — not bad when you consider that many are locally-owned. Also, a number offer seasonal local foods with a menu that changes with the season.
Now we are going to take a closer look at the results and see where can we work together with restaurants to improve the choices when eating out. Is there an option for smaller portions? Are there healthy options on Kid's menus? Stay tuned and let me know what is on your wish list for healthier options when eating out.