Press-Republican

Health

November 13, 2012

County Health Department promoting healthy choices at restaurants

PLATTSBURGH – A popular North Country eatery has agreed to pilot a new initiative from the Clinton County Health Department that promotes healthier food choices.

Guma’s Restaurant in West Chazy has adopted the Health Department’s Healthy Plates Project by identifying health-conscious meals on the its menu.

Those items, including several grilled-chicken, pork-chop and seafood entrees and salads, were carefully chosen using a variety of nutritional values, such as calories, fat content and protein.

“It’s not a relatively new concept,” said Mandy Snay, supervising nutritionist for the Health Department. “Communities across the country have tried this kind of program, including larger cities and even statewide programs.

“Their success has given smaller communities the confidence to try as well.”

3-PRONGED ATTACK

The Clinton County Health Department has been working on a community-wide health initiative that focuses on three broad areas: nutrition, physical activity and tobacco use. The Healthy Plates Program fits nicely into the first of those three initiatives, Snay said.

“More people are eating out today than in the past, and restaurant choices tend to be less healthy than foods prepared in the home” she said. “We are fighting an obesity epidemic, and this program engages a new partner in the community.”

MENU ANALYZED

Kayleigh Raville, co-owner of Guma’s and the granddaughter of Carolyn “Guma” Deno, who founded the restaurant 16 years ago, interned in Nutritional Services for the Health Department during the summer and played a major role in bringing Guma’s on board.

“We didn’t have to add anything different to the menu,” Raville said of the restaurant’s process to identify healthier meal choices. “We did alter some of the side dishes and vegetables, and we did add skim milk to the menu.”

Raville spent a lot of time analyzing every selection on the menu, using an online nutritional calculator to determine calorie and fat content, as well as other important nutrients that increase a food’s healthy benefits.

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