HRBlogoHealthy eating just got a little easier in Bloomington, thanks to the ongoing work of the Healthy Restaurant Bloomington (HRB) initiative.

HRB has now designated 16 establishments in the Bloomington Independent Restaurant Association as “Healthy Restaurants” for their efforts to offer nutritious food, welcome diners with children, encourage physical activity, look after the health of employees, and support the local community. Two of these restaurants—The Village Deli and Lennie’s—have also conducted nutritional analyses and recipe revisions to identify a range of offerings that qualify as “Smart Meals.”

Each Healthy Restaurant received a window cling (pictured above) indicating its successful participation in the program.

Samantha Schaefer, coordinator of Monroe County’s Active Living Coalition (ALC), which sponsors the campaign, says she was pleasantly surprised by how enthusiastically restaurants embraced the HRB process. “They were very open to our recommendations, whether it was offering low-fat milk on the menu or providing employees with resources for tobacco cessation,” she says.

For the more intensive nutritional-analysis portion of the program, HRB worked with The Village Deli and Lennie’s to identify up to ten menu items that could potentially meet Smart Meal criteria. After a thorough review of the nutritional profile of every ingredient, Schaefer helped the restaurants identify any needed changes to ensure the dishes included at least two servings of whole grains, beans, or produce (or one serving plus a serving of low-fat dairy) and stayed below designated thresholds for calories, fat, and sodium.

“I think people are going to be surprised by what they can order that qualifies as a Smart Meal and is still really tasty,” says Liz Sanders, project manager for The Village Deli. Lennie’s General Manager Michael Fox adds that even after cutting half the salt from their meatball recipe, “we sampled it and could not tell the difference.”

HRB has now completed the work that was funded through a federally supported grant from Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and Environmental Change, but Schaefer says ALC is still happy to meet with restaurants interested in earning the Healthy Restaurant cling. She also notes that the project has made a broad impact outside the area—organizations in Chicago, Oregon, Florida, and elsewhere have contacted ALC for advice in implementing similar programs. “The emails and phone calls keep rolling in,” she says. “It’s exciting to not only be helping Bloomington but to be an example for other communities.”

“Healthy Restaurant” Establishments

Bloomingfoods Market and Deli
Kilroy’s on Kirkwood
Kilroy’s Sports Bar
KRC Banquets and Catering
Laughing Planet Café
Oliver Winery
Smokin’ Jack’s Rib Shack
Soma Coffee House & Juice Bar
Talons Restaurant at Eagle Pointe
Upland Brewing Company
The Village Deli
Yogi’s Grill and Bar

“Smart Meals” Menu Items

THE Village Deli
1. Homemade Granola
2. Granola, fruit, and yogurt
3. Cajun Grilled Chicken sandwich
4. Village Veggie Delight sandwich
5. The Village Special
6. Breakfast on a Bage
7. Jammin’ Jamaican sandwich (boneless chicken breast)
8. Caribbean BBQ Chicken sandwich
9. Veggie Omelet
10. Fajita Pita
11. Sorry Charlie sandwich (tuna, cheddar, vegetables)

1. Chicken Quesadilla (half order, no sour cream)
2. Veggie Ciabatta
3. Red Chile Chicken sandwich
4. Voodoo Chili (local beef, no cheese)
5. Roasted Portobello sandwich
6. House Salad with Heartland dressing
7. Spaghetti & Meatballs
8. Veggie Stromboli (half order)
9. Virginia Slim pizza (half order mixed vegetables)