Healthy Restaurant

Campaign to make the Healthy Choice, the Easy Choice!

The Active Living Coalition (ALC) of Monroe County partnered with the Bloomington Independent Restaurant Association (BIRA) to promote healthy eating in Monroe County! The ALC worked with the 34+ member BIRA restaurants to implement a Healthy Restaurant Bloomington campaign to mirror the Healthy Business Bloomington campaign sponsored by the Bloomington Chamber of Commerce.

The campaign was funded by a $3,000 mini grant from the Bloomington/Monroe County Action Communities for Health, Innovation, and Environmental Change (ACHIEVE). The mini grants were given to community and business organizations dedicated to supporting policy or system changes that expanded access to healthy and active lifestyles.

There were two phases to the Healthy Restaurant Bloomington Initiative:

  1. Healthy Restaurant Bloomington

    • Restaurants were individually assessed on their environmental and community efforts to support health and wellness. Restaurants were interviewed and scored based on 32 criteria for how well they promote activity, healthy food/portions, community support, family friendliness, and employee wellness. If a restaurant met over half of the criteria (18+ points), they were designated as a “Healthy Restaurant Bloomington” and awarded a door-cling for their premises and recognized in the local media. All restaurants were provided a summary report and a list of recommendations for criteria that were not met to improve their score.

      Healthy Restaurant Bloomington Criteria

      Promote Activity (2)

      • Bike Rack: Available within one block
      • Sponsor a local sports team

      Healthy Food/Portions (13)

      • Uses trans fat free oil in fryer or no fryer
      • Able to substitute healthier items at no charge
      • Offers to box ½ of meal on order
      • Offers more than one healthy appetizers or starter choices
      • Serving size of appetizer listed in menu
      • No charge to split a meal
      • Offers Vegetarian options
      • Calorie amounts noted on menu
      • Mini desserts
      • Fruit or low fat dessert options
      • Low-fat dairy options
      • Sugar Free Options
      • Healthy items highlighted- AHA, Gluten Free, Lighter fare

      Community Support (4)

      • Purchase local food and supplies
      • Donations to Community Kitchen and food bank (Food Share)
      • Supports non -profit fundraisers
      • Supports local events

      Family Friendly (5)

      • Kids menu has milk instead of soft drink with no extra charge
      • Kid’s meal contain a vegetable
      • Breast Feeding Friendly
      • Activities for kids offered
      • No TV’s for family seating

      Employer/Employee Wellness (8)

      • Support employee sports league (non-fantasy league)
      • Education about foods to staff then passed on to patrons
      • Subsidize fitness memberships for staff
      • At least one staff member CPR Certified available at all times
      • Stocked First Aid kit
      • Tobacco cessation resources
      • Tobacco policy for staff
      • Safety plans for fire, tornado, etc.
  2. Smart Meal

    • Phase 2, Smart Meal, was based off the Smart Meal Colorado campaign. This was a pilot program selecting 3 restaurants that participated in phase 1, Healthy Restaurant Bloomington. Restaurants worked closely with a Registered Dietitian to identify10 menu items and submitted the recipes for a computerized nutrition analysis, using Nutritionist Pro software. The nutrition analysis results were reviewed with the restaurants to compare to the following criteria:
      • Two or more servings of beans, whole grains, fruits or vegetables—one of which may be substituted with a serving of fat free or low-fat milk or equivalent product.
      • No more than 700 calories
      • No more than 30 percent of total calories from fat or 23 grams of total fat
      • No more than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat or 8 grams of saturated fat
      • No more than 0.5 grams of trans fat (no added or artificial trans fat)
      • No more than 1500 milligrams of sodium (650 mg for a side dish)

      Menu items that met the criteria were identified as BIRA Smart Meals. If items didn’t meet the criteria, restaurants had the option to modify the recipes to bring the numbers within the criterion.

      All BIRA Smart Meals were identified in the menu with a small icon. At the bottom of the menu, the icon explains the Smart Meal criteria, so Bloomington diners can easily identify the healthiest choice. The restaurants were also asked to reflect upon their Healthy Restaurant Bloomington assessment from phase 1 to make additional modifications to their menu, if needed. The restaurants were provided funding for their menu redesign and reprinting costs.

The Healthy Restaurant Bloomington campaign has received national attention from other communities in CO, FL, IL, and OR. We are excited about helping other communities move forward with their local initiatives. Please contact Samantha Schaefer if you have questions.

Congratulations to the following restaurants being named a “Healthy Restaurant Bloomington.”

  • Bloomingfoods Market and Deli (East, West, Downtown)
  • FARMbloomington
  • Kilroy’s Bar n’ Grill
  • Kilroy’s Sports Bar
  • KRC Banquets and Catering
  • Laughing Planet
  • Lennie’s
  • Oliver Winery
  • Short Stop Food Mart & Barbeque Train
  • Smokin’ Jack’s Rib Shack
  • Soma Coffee House and Juice Bar
  • Talons Restaurant at Eagle Pointe
  • The Village Deli
  • Upland Brewing Company
  • Yogi’s Grill and Bar

Are You Active?

Active Living means incorporating physical activity into your daily life. An Active Living lifestyle incorporates non-traditional opportunities for activity, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, gardening, or playing with children as well as participating in more traditional forms of physical activity, such as walking, exercise classes and sports.

County Health Rankings

  • Brown County - Health Outcomes: 5/92
  • Monroe County - Health Outcomes: 8/92
  • Owen County - Health Outcomes: 51/92
  • Morgan County - Health Outcomes: 40/92
  • Greene County - Health Outcomes: 74/92

Data from