BLUE ZONES PROJECT OSKALOOSA ANNOUNCES DESIGNATED BLUE ZONES RESTAURANT

Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner address attendees to the Oskaloosa Blue Zone kick-off event.

Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner address attendees to the Oskaloosa Blue Zone kick-off event.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – June 23, 2014 – Today,Blue Zones Project® Oskaloosa announced Hunters Gifts & Coffee Café, as a Blue Zones Restaurant®. Hunters, located downtown off of High Avenue, achieved designation after completing the necessary items in the Blue Zones Restaurant pledge. The public is invited to join in celebrating their designation at Hunters on Thursday, June 26, at 11:30 a.m.

Hunters fulfilled the pledge by offering freshly cut fruit as the default side with meals, serving meals on 10-inch plates and promoting healthier sandwich selections to its menu, among other things. Hunters also does not have a fryer in the kitchen, and serves patrons a glass of water upon arrival.

The Blue Zones Restaurant pledge contains evidence and theory-based practices to make healthy choices easier while offering tools and tips to improve customers’ health. . Many of the simple changes suggested are based on research from Cornell University’s Dr. Brian Wansink, author of the book “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.”

“These simple changeshelp guests make healthier choices and eat fewer calories, without cutting into the bottom-line.” said the Blue Zones Project Community Initiative Organizer, Hannah DeGeest.

Starting in May 2014, Lea Rice, Blue Zones Project Healthy Foods Committee co-chair and registered dietitian at Mahaska Health Partnership, worked closely with Hunters in assessing a current nutritional analysis of their menu. Rice and DeGeest spent time with Shirley Hunter, the owner of Hunters Gifts & Coffee Café, to understand the vision she has for her restaurant and her community.

“Hunters is pleased to be a part of the Blue Zones Project movement. Having read the Dan Buettner book Thrive two years ago, we are happy it has inspired communities to get healthy,” Hunter said. “Paying attention to good ingredients, such as natural and organic, has been important to us. We look forward to working with this Project locally. Having good food is what it is all about.”

The chalkboard menu designed by the Hunters’ staff is a great example of how to offer healthy menu choices. It is full of options that include whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables—so you can’t go wrong. Stop in and enjoy the new menu available at Hunters and thank them for their commitment to making healthy choices easy choices in Oskaloosa.

Brought to Iowa through an innovative sponsorship by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, in collaboration with Healthways and Blue Zones®, Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to environment, policy, and social networks.

For more information about how to become a Blue Zones Worksite, contact the Blue Zones Project staff at 641-424-7181 or visit www.bluezonesproject.com.

Oskaloosa is one of 15 Blue Zones Project demonstration sites in Iowa. Oskaloosa and the other demonstration communities are receiving assistance from experts to develop and implement a Blueprint for making permanent environmental, social and policy changes that transition people into healthier behaviors that can lead to longer, happier lives.

The Blue Zones Project is based on Blue Zones® principles developed by Dan Buettner and is the centerpiece of the Healthiest State Initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016 as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. residents’ health and well-being. Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better lives by taking a systematic, environmental approach to well-being, which focuses on optimizing policy, social networks and the built environments where people spend their time.

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