BEST WELLNESS INITIATIVE

BEST WELLNESS INITIATIVE

One Nutrition Lesson Taught Multiple Ways

WINNER: FAIRFAX COUNTY (VA) SCHOOLS
Entry: Nutrition Integrity in the Energy Zone
The Big Idea: Teaching a nutrition and wellness lesson to a small, homogenous group of kids is tough enough. Teaching that lesson to children in one of the country's largest and most diverse school districts seems almost impossible. Yet, the program developed by Penny McConnell's wellness task force at Fairfax County Schools has succeeded to a remarkable extent in doing just that. A balance of age-appropriate, creative and varied initiatives ranging from games and educational activities (including hands-on cooking) to cafe signage and special menu promotions, Nutrition Integrity in the Energy Zone is a national model of a comprehensive, multi-department wellness program that targets not just students but adults. The nutrition education and fitness activities embedded in the program have not only promoted wellness messages throughout the entire school community, but also made what can be a tiresome message for youngsters into something they associate with fun activities.

Project Team: Penny McConnell, RD, SNS (Director); Pat Avery, Jan Girard, SNS, Teresa Hinds, RD, Chuck Keefer, Paul LaMay, Walt Leppin, SNS, Betty Maceda, SNS, Maria Perrone, RD, Larry Sitney, SNS (Specialists); Amy Hubal, SNS, Ruth Matoto, DTR, Greg Rupert (Coordinators); Wes Speer, SNS (Special Functions Coordinator); Fatima Calcuttawalla (Administrative Assistant); Helena O'Neil (Graphic Artist)

Balancing Not Just Choices, But Impacts

WINNER: EASTMAN CHEMICAL CO., KINGSPORT, TN
Entry: Healthy Eating @ Eastman
The Big Idea: The challenge for the in-house foodservice department at Eastman Chemical was to align its program with the company's wellness program. The solution: a comprehensive wellness initiative focused on highlighting and emphasizing the healthier options of each station on the menu boards with the familiar apple logo, the dissemination of educational materials to employees and a kickoff frequent buyer incentive program to encourage employees to try healthier menu choices. Among other results, the program prompted a 40-percent increase in the healthy options available to diners.

Project Team: Jean Petke (Senior Employee Services Representative); David Sensibaugh, Lloyd Herlong and Lynn Hipp of Eastman Integrated Health; Tim Peters, Trevor Barrett, Lisa Gilreath and Sandra Reese of Eastman Health & Wellness; Jamie Rutherford of Eastman Medical; Mike Thomas of Site Support Services; Kelly Jones of Arby's; Jeff McArdle of 6th Street Cafe; Jim McAdam and Lori Jones of James Michael's Catering; Opal Spears of HoneyBaked Ham; Darlene Sampson and Mike Bellamy of Southern Food Service; John and Scott Franklin of Subway; Frances Shoemaker of Chickfil-A; Gary Biggs of Five Star Food Service.

An All-You-Can-Eat Alternative

WINNER: THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS, DENTON
Entry: Mean Greens
The Big Idea: In the tussle between the forces of "Give Them What They Want" and "Give Them What They Need," UNT has found a Solomonic Third Way: Give Them a Choice! Rather than simply reopening a renovated cafeteria as yet another all-you-care-to-eat venue, UNT Dining Services transformed it into a unique health stop and nutrition classroom. Mean Greens is an all-healthy-all-the-time dining option where entree portions are controlled (no seconds) but the vegetable and whole grain sides are unlimited. It gives students who want to eat healthy balanced meals a place where there are no temptations.

Those wishing to eat more traditionally have the five other campus dining halls to choose from. Some Mean Greens selections are portion-controlled versions of what is served in the other dining halls, but the emphasis is on grilled meats, sushi, tofu, seafood and organic produce selections. The selection at Mean Greens also serves an educational purpose by showing students what reasonable portions of entrees look like and what foods are safe and healthy to consume in more quantity (primarily fresh fruits and vegetables). It also extends the range of food choices available on campus to vegetarian and ethnic selections not usually featured before.

Project Team: Chuck Fuller (Associate VP-Business Services), Regenia Phillips (Director of Dining Services), Shohreh Sparks (Associate Director), Kathy Butler (Dietitian), Peter Balabuch (Culinary Trainer), Anita Adefope (Manager IV, Kerr Cafeteria)