This year, Ochsner Eat Fit celebrates its 10th anniversary as a leader in nutrition and wellness across the state. March is the perfect time to highlight the program’s decade of success as it is National Nutrition Month, a month dedicated to nutrition education and information.
In 2013, Ochsner Health registered dietitian Molly Kimball founded Eat Fit NOLA, collaborating with local chefs to identify and develop nutritious menu options for those looking to eat clean, watch their weight, and manage conditions like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Dishes and products that meet the nutritional standards are denoted on menus and marquees with the Eat Fit Seal of Approval.
“Our mission is to empower the community to live their strongest, healthiest lives possible by providing real-world education, inspiration and resources for wellness and nutrition,” says Eat Fit founder, registered dietitian and author Kimball. “With the creation of Eat Fit, we’ve helped to bridge the gap between getting out there and living our life, enjoying all that our restaurants and festivals have to offer, while also sustaining and supporting our own personal wellness journeys.”
In the decade since its inception, Eat Fit has grown through past partnerships with Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Louisiana into a statewide initiative that includes Eat Fit NOLA, Eat Fit Northshore, Eat Fit BR, Eat Fit Acadiana, Eat Fit Shreveport and Eat Fit Monroe. The program supports nutrition education for culinary teaching programs, junior chef cooking challenges, development of Eat Fit opportunities in under-served areas and nutrition-related events in schools, churches and grocery stores. The Eat Fit team has published two books: The Eat Fit Cookbook: Chef Inspired Recipes for the Home, and Craft: The Eat Fit Guide to Zero Proof Cocktails.
The Eat Fit team also hosts the annual Alcohol Free For 40 Challenge, encouraging participants to take on a self-experiment to see how going alcohol-free influences their health, inside and out. In February, nearly 500 people participated in the kickoff event to assess pre-challenge labs and physical metrics, with another 1.9K participating virtually via the #AlcoholFreeFor40 Facebook group.
Nearly 600 partners feature the Eat Fit seal on their menus. Last year alone, more than 1.4 million Eat Fit meals were served in restaurants across the state and nine schools now feature Eat Fit approved items in their school cafeterias. Peer-reviewed research has validated the success of the Eat Fit program, as well as the Alcohol Free For 40 Challenge.
“Food and drink are essential elements of our culture and Eat Fit makes it easier than ever to celebrate our rich and delicious traditions while making progress toward our wellness goals,” said Kimball. “I’m so proud of Eat Fit, our staff and partners, and I hope to continue our work for decades more.”
For individuals interested in living a healthier lifestyle, Eat Fit offers easy, digital access through its Eat Fit App, which provides a wealth of information from Eat Fit approved restaurants, fine dining and festivals, hundreds of Eat Fit recipes, downloadable shopping guides to help navigate grocery stores and much more.
For more information about Ochsner Eat Fit, please visit OchsnerEatFit.com.