MHRA launches program promoting locally grown produce

JACKSON — The Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association has unveiled a statewide initiative called “Eat Healthy Mississippi” that aims in helping Mississippi remove its status as the “fattest state in the nation.”

“Eat Healthy Mississippi” is designed to promote locally grown produce in the preparation of dietitian-approved, Healthy Dining menu options at restaurants throughout Mississippi. All approved menu choices will be featured on HealthyDiningFinder.com along with resources to educate restaurants and consumers about nutrition and eating and living well. Additionally, the healthy eating initiative establishes a mutually beneficial relationship between local growers and restaurants that not only will promote healthy lifestyles but also stimulate the local economy.

Through MHRA’s strategic partnership with HealthyDiningFinder.com, participating “Eat Healthy Mississippi” restaurants will have access to Healthy Dining’s expert nutrition services, including consultation on finding menu items that meet Healthy Dining’s nutrition criteria. The online, nutrition resource’s team of registered dietitians has analyzed thousands of menu items from restaurants nationwide — fast food to fine dining — to ensure consumers are armed with accurate nutrition information to make more informed dietary choices when dining out. Restaurants that join the “Eat Healthy Mississippi” program will have the benefit of having several menu items analyzed and approved by Healthy Dining’s dietitians, and their restaurant and healthier choices will be featured on HealthyDiningFinder.com.

“Eat Healthy Mississippi” restaurant participants may also qualify to participate in the Kids LiveWell program, a National Restaurant Association initiative developed in collaboration with Healthy Dining that provides parents and children with a growing selection of restaurants providing healthful children’s menu options that focus on fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low-fat dairy, with limited amounts of unhealthy fats, sugars and sodium.

The “Eat Healthy Mississippi” campaign has been made possible by a grant of more than $83,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as partnerships with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture & Commerce, Mississippi Division of Tourism, Mississippi Department of Health, local farmers and growers, and other local and national support. The multi‐phase initiative will include various programs to educate and bring awareness to local growers and farmers, restaurants and consumers to expand their knowledge of the benefits of “Eat Healthy Mississippi” and living a balanced and healthy lifestyle.

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