Eat Fit NW Michigan Kicks Off in Lake County

By: Colleen Unsal, District Health Department #10

On Thursday, February 16, 2017, a little bit of the bayou arrived in Lake County!  We welcomed Molly Kimball, RD, CSSD, creator of the Oschner “Eat Fit NOLA” program, and Julie Nieto, RD to kick off our “Eat Fit NW Michigan” program.  Twenty people attended this fun training, including registered dieticians, health educators, food council members, restaurant owners, food bank coordinators, and more.  Fueled by “King Cake” flavored coffee that Molly and Julie shared, this high energy group was ready to jump right in.  

The Oschner “Eat Fit” program is where “nutritious meets delicious.” By working with grocery stores, restaurants, cafeterias, etc., Eat it NW Michigan is a healthy eating initiative that aims to promote and encourage healthier menu choices in the community, and is a free program for its partners.  Our team of dieticians and nutrition ambassadors have developed specific criteria for meals that are lower in calories, sodium, animal-based fats, and added sugars.  All Eat Fit menu and food items, as well as our partners, can be identified by our Eat Fit circle logo, for easy recognition.  The people in the room were full of ideas in our brainstorming sessions where possible community partners were identified, and ambassadors volunteered to contact the partners and initiate the program.  Our first participating restaurant is Marquette Trails Golf Course’s “The View” restaurant, and we have already started reviewing their menu and identifying Eat Fit choices.

Eating Healthy isn’t just lettuce and celery sticks.  It can be delicious, satisfying, and pleasing to the eye as well as the taste buds. As part of our chronic disease-prevention grant through the National WIC Association’s Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children (CPHMC) Project, we want to provide improved access to environments with healthy food and beverage choices.  Eat Fit NW Michigan highlights the better-for-you items right on the menu or grocery store shelf, making the healthy choice the easy choice!