Healthy U, UCM partners with restaurants to ID healthier menu choices

April 24, 2012

in Local

There is now a way to make healthier choices and still enjoy eating out at local establishments.

Healthy U has partnered with the University of Central Missouri Student Dietetic Association and many Sedalia restaurants to identify menu items that are 500 calories or less.

“We know that people who are trying to live healthier often find it challenging to identify better choices when eating out,” said Sarah Nail, chairwoman of the Healthy Living Action Group, which is responsible for Healthy U. “This takes the guesswork out of making healthy choices at local, non-franchise restaurants that otherwise wouldn’t have their nutritional information readily available to the public.”

Members of UCM’s Student Dietetic Association volunteered to work with the participating establishments to identify, and sometimes modify, existing menu items that meet the 500-calorie threshold.

“As future dietitians, we wanted to start changing things now. Volunteering to help with Healthy U was not only an honor but a fantastic way for us to help the community,” said Jessica Burgess, public relations officer for the Student Dietetic Association. “We strongly believe in portion control, healthy eating and watching your caloric intake. We know that the Healthy U menu options will help with that when people would like to eat out.”

Participating restaurants include Patricia’s Mexican and More, Kehde’s Barbecue, McGrath’s, End Zone, Mighty Melt, Brick Front Grill, Fitter’s Fifth Street Pub and LeMaire’s Cajun Catfish and Seafood House. El Tapatio will soon join the restaurants already participating.

Customers can find dishes that are less than 500 calories where they see menu items marked by a Healthy U “under 500 calories” sticker. They should ask for the Healthy U version as some items will have to be modified.

Patrons of the participating Healthy U establishments can enter to win a $25 gift certificate to one of the restaurants. Take a creative photo eating a Healthy U menu item and post it to the Healthy U Facebook page,, to enter. The photos that receive the most “likes” by May 31 will win.

Other establishments are welcome to participate in the project.

“We are grateful to the owners of the establishments that are participating and would love to add more,” Nail said.

Healthy U, a community health initiative, started in January with the selection of 12 people chosen through an application process to be paired with nutrition and fitness coaches. In exchange, the dozen Healthy U students are sharing their healthy lifestyle changes with the public. Other Healthy U projects include Moving 101, a walkers/joggers group that meets at 9 a.m. every Saturday at the Katy Trailhead on Clarendon Road.

The Healthy Living Action Group includes Bothwell Regional Health Center, Katy Trail Community Health, Pettis County Health Center, Boys and Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri, Pettis County Community Partnership, University of Missouri Extension and Early Head Start.

Healthy U sponsors include HLAG agencies and Total Fitness Gym, Backbone of Health, Woods Supermarket, Bodyworks Day Spa, Blue Ribbon Steering Committee, Fig Leaf and Third National Bank.

The project also received a United Way venture grant.

For more information, contact Sarah Nail at (660) 827-9138 or




Previous post:

Next post: