We're kicking off the year right with our wellness program, ForLife, focusing on the "Mediterranean Lifestyle" theme!
The Mediterranean diet has been shown through decades of research to be an eating pattern that supports long-term health and reduces the risk of developing chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and age-related cognitive effects. Throughout this quarter, we will be featuring dishes in our cafes that represent this eating pattern.
Enjoy some of our educational content this quarter, including:
• Sustainable and trendy foods to look for this year and the health benefits they provide in honor of National Nutrition Month
• Arctic char which is a more sustainable option than salmon, when raised in an aquaculture environment!
• The benefits of strength training and a 30-day strength training challenge, in honor of American Heart Month in February
• Suggestions for improving sleep quality, in observation of Sleep Awareness Week in March
• Better for you recipes
Be sure to follow us on Instagram for our Wellness Wednesdays and more from our Mediterranean Diet
Our new and holistic wellbeing platform, ForLife, is launching! ForLife was designed by our team of Registered Dietitians empowering our guests and associates to make informed decisions for personal and environmental health while cultivating wellbeing practices for life.
ForLife activates four pillars of our wellbeing journey:
As our accounts begin to reopen, they will be implemented this platform. In the meantime, the great material, recipes, handouts, and more are being shared with our teams, and here on the wellness page of our website, including previous posts below.
Sustainable eating continues to gain more and more attention as individuals, communities, and companies begin to invest in personal health as well as planetary health.
One way to measure the environmental impact of our food choices is through our carbon footprint, or amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, like food production. Our food supply alone accounts for about 20% of total U.S. GHG emissions, which is a result of manufacturing, travel, farming practices, etc. To make matters worse, about 45% of all harvested produce is discarded, and
roughly 33% of all food produced is wasted annually. Wasted food is the largest contributor to landfills. Luckily, we can make conscious changes in our daily dietary habits that will help.
Eat More Plants and Less Animal Protein
Adopting a plant-forward diet is better for your body and the environment in the long run. Plant-forward does not mean strictly vegetarian or vegan; it means putting plants at the center of your plate, with animal products, if desired, as accompaniments.
Substantial evidence supports the health benefits of a plant-forward diet. For example, substituting fish, beans, nuts, and legumes in place of red meat has been shown to reduce heart disease risk. Although fish are not plants, they contribute health benefits to a plant-forward diet. While red meat is a great source of iron and protein, its saturated fat content can raise LDL cholesterol, increasing heart disease risk. This is not to say we should avoid eating red meat forever; just rethink the proportions of red meat in your diet. In addition to protein sources, make sure fruits and vegetables fill half of your plate with each meal—these are some of the most nutrientdense foods we have access to.
Foods with the greatest carbon footprint are red meats, like beef and lamb, because their production uses more resources like water, land, and feed, creating more pollution. Of course, there are many more parts to this equation. Foods with some of the smallest carbon footprints are produce, grains, legumes, and nuts.
The smaller the distance your foods need to travel, the less pollution is created. Produce is picked at peak ripeness, so you're getting an ideal product in terms of taste and nutrition. Buying local also supports small business in your community.
Restaurant Associates guests want to eat better and feel better. At RA, our job is to make it easy for them. We created the RADISH program with the goal of enhancing the health and wellness of our guests through increased variety and visibility of better-for-you options.
Taking inspiration from Menus of Change, we sought to integrate wellness and sustainability under the emblem of RADISH: Delicious, Innovative, Sustainable and Healthy food.
We believe first and foremost that our food must be delicious. Innovation for the RADISH program comes not only in the form of culinary innovation, but also technology and integration with other wellness programs. Sustainability comes through in how we formulate our recipes and menus, and this is interwoven with the healthy food component.
We take very seriously the idea of deciding for others what is healthy and sustainable. We knew that we needed to start with nutrition criteria, emphasizing calorie balance, sodium, fat and sugar. Next, we wanted to build culinary themes, and we were heavily influenced by Menus of Change.
In order to promote wellness and sustainability, RADISH emphasizes:
1. More vegetable-forward cooking.
2. Less emphasis on animal products.
3. Appropriate portion sizes.
4. Healthier cooking methods.
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