WINNER: GUNDERSEN LUTHERAN MEDICAL CENTER
ENTRY: 500 CLUB
THE BIG IDEA: The 500 Club is a healthy eating program developed by dietitians and doctors at Gundersen that helps consumers identify healthier choices lower in calories and fat. It was extended into the community in 2010 through a partnership with the Kwik Trip c-store chain, which has more than 350 locations in the Midwest.
Gundersen works with Kwik Trip's offerings to design healthy combinations rather than simply changing the menu. For example, the chain's Southwest Chicken Tornado sandwich lacked the necessary nutrients and protein to qualify by itself for 500 Club certification, but combining it with a banana and skim milk resulted in a meal that does qualify.
As the c-store chain adds new items, it seeks 500 Club input and makes alterations as necessary. In all, Kwik Trip has more than three dozen items on the 500 Club menu, not counting fresh fruit and vegetable selections. The 500 Club items are clearly marked with the program's seal of approval for easy customer identification. Since becoming a 500 Club member, Kwik Trip says it has seen sales of their healthier items increase.
The 500 Club also includes other area food providers, such as restaurants, grocery stores, vending companies, schools and universities. The more than 40 members even include some McDonald's units. Members report 500 Club selections account for up to 15 percent of their sales.
PROJECT TEAM MEMBERS:
Jennifer Larson, RD, CD
Administrative Director of Nutrition Therapy
Jenny Wood, RD, CD
500 Club Specialist