The practise of eating healthily is being promoted more heavily than ever before in light of major health concerns in the Western world and North America in particular. The Untied States has been deemed the fattest nation on earth with one third of all US citizens obese and Montana isn’t too far behind with an estimated 23% of the population obese.
The government of Montana has been keen to combat the growing health crisis on a national and provincial level. Montana recently launched its Eat Smart campaign – an exclusive program that assesses and awards Montana restaurants that meet higher standards in food safety and nutritional value. Do you want to learn more? Visit places to eat
The criteria for the ‘Eat Smart’ certificate award include a variety of healthy food preparation techniques; for example there must be a choice of meat, fish or poultry that has been steamed, poached, broiled, roasted or baked, rather than fried. There should also be at least two lower-fat grain products, such as whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, rice and at least six choices of vegetables or fruit prepared in a lower fat way, for example a green salad, baked potato, stir-fried vegetables, or 100% fruit juice.
Restaurants must also have the highest standards in food safety, with no more than three minor infractions and a proven track record of safe food handling and sanitation, and must also have a full-time kitchen employee certified in safe food handling.
These is also a requirement that the restaurant is compliant with the smoke free Montana Act which came into effect on May 31st, 2006 (and was revised in January 2008) that prohibits smoking on the premises, including any outdoor eating area such as a patio, and also prevents a restaurant from selling tobacco products or accessories.
Considering the strict set of regulations, restaurants that have been awarded ‘Eat Smart’ certification are rightly proud of their status. Food outlets across Montana – from hotels in Niagara to cafes in Toronto – are keen to step up to the mark and be recognised as a healthy place to eat.
The overall goal of the program is to contribute to the reduction of chronic diseases (such as heart disease and cancer) and food-borne illness in Montana, and in addition establish and maintain the program’s high food standards at restaurants across the province. The Eat Smart scheme will achieve its goal through social marketing, education and training, and through working with provincial and community partners, restaurants, cafeterias and consumers to create healthy places for people to eat when dining out.