Making healthy choices while eating out in Lenoir County just got easier. Three Lenoir County restaurants are working with the Heart Healthy Lenoir Project to promote healthy options on their menus. Chick-fil-A, Our Picnic Basket, and Queen Street Deli began offering information about healthy choices in September, and what qualifies as “healthy” might be surprising.
“I want to help people in the community, especially families with children, learn about healthy options when eating out,” said Ashleigh Shirley of Our Picnic Basket. Both John McPhaul of Chick-fil-A and Leraine Tolston of Queen Street Deli said they were pleased to being taking part in this project to promote healthful items on their menus.
“We know people look forward to eating out,” said Dr. Thomas Keyserling, a Professor of Medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill, and director of the Heart Health Lenoir lifestyle study. “There are many healthy options at most restaurants and we hope this program will help Lenoir county residents choose healthful menu items that they will enjoy when they eat out. Likewise, we hope this program will help local restaurant promote their healthy offerings.”
The goal of the Heart Healthy Lenoir project (www.hearthealthylenoir.com) is to reduce heart attack and stroke in Lenoir County, where the rates of heart disease are higher than most of the country. Research suggests that a healthy diet can reduce heart disease and stroke risk by 30%, but the definition of “healthy” has changed. Experts used to recommend “low-fat” diets, but now evidence suggests that eating modest amounts of “good” fats, like those in nuts and vegetable oils, is a very important part of a healthy diet.
The Health Healthy Lenoir Project has developed 10 tips for healthy eating that are based on the latest nutritional research. These tips will be displayed on the tables at each of the participating restaurants, and a more detailed brochure will be available at the cash register. Anyone interested in learning more about diet and health can go to (http://hearthealthylenoir.com/healthylifestyletips)
- Choose nuts and nut butters often
- Eat foods made with vegetable oils daily
- Choose drinks with less sugar
- Choose whole grain products often
- Eat fruits and vegetables often
- Eat chicken, fish, and beans often, and limit red meat to once a day
- Consume low or full fat milk or dairy products such as yogurt or cheese
- Eating 1-2 eggs a day is fine
- Make healthy choices when dining out
- Make good dessert choices
The Heart Healthy Lenoir project, a partnership between Lenoir County agencies, UNC-Chapel Hill, and East Carolina University and is funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The partnership with Lenoir County restaurants is made possible by a grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation to the Lenoir County Cooperative Extension Service.