Preferred Nutrition Participates in Regency Center’s Health Fair

Alexia Lewis and Lindsey Arnett crossed the ditch on March 13 to participate in the Regency Center’s employee health fair in downtown Jacksonville. Regency Center estimated approximately 180 people would attend the fair and we made the effort to talk to everyone who came by our table. 

Since our audience was the traditional full-time professional, we decided to focus on lunch options. We displayed a more healthy versus a less healthy lunch using our fun food models. One plate had a hamburger, fries, and a slice of apple pie; the other had a turkey, cheese, and vegetable sandwich, fruit, and yogurt. Guess which one was the more healthy option… true, it is an easy one to guess; but we took time to explain that a balanced meal includes all of the food groups: protein, grains, vegetables, fruit, and the often forgotten dairy.

Our table also had a plate of food models of snacks to show portion sizes and we had a container of different types of grains because there is so much more than rice and pasta! In addition, we gave out business-card-sized lists of the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen. Our pièce de résistance was our business-card sized “Lighter Lunches” card that we designed specifically for this health fair keeping in mind that our audience was most likely the hurried, downtown professional who wishes to lose a few pounds or make heart-healthy choices. The cards were a big hit! By the afternoon, people were coming by asking if we were the ones with the lunch options cards. Our tips included:

Burrito Gallery (or any Mexican restaurant)

  • Choose a small amount of guacamole instead of sour cream for healthy unsaturated fats
  • Limit the salsa to keep the sodium under control
  • Sneak in extra veggies instead of limiting yourself to meat and cheese - the hummus and veggie wrap looks great
  • Choose beans for extra fiber, vitamins, and iron

Firehouse Subs (or any sandwich shop) 

  • Stick with the basics, chicken, turkey, or ham and load up with vegetables
  • Swiss cheese is the lowest sodium of the cheeses
  • Ask for mustard or vinegar (hold the oil) instead of mayonnaise to save calories
  • If you choose a salad, balsamic vinaigrette is the healthiest option for a dressing

Chicago Pizza (or any pizza place)

  • Choose thin crust pizza and load up with vegetables
  • Instead of a second slice, add some variety with minestrone soup or a house salad
  • Sneak in a serving of fruit with a pineapple topping (goes well with mushrooms or ham)
  • Stick with one bread – either pizza, a sandwich, or the appetizer bread
  • With entrees, go for marinara sauce instead of cream-based sauces and include a protein

We also gave away raisins, mini Snickers bars, and homemade granola (oats, dried cherries, dark chocolate, almonds, yum!); but we had very few takers. We think they must have thought it was a test and they did not want the dietitians to judge them – if they only knew how much we love our chocolate and that we believe there are no off-limits foods. Oh well, more for us!

We love doing health fairs and talking to people that we usually do not get a chance to interact with about their health and nutrition concerns. Preferred Nutrition is available to participate in your health fair too; please contact us for information.

Before we go, here is one more picture because we just have to show off our balloons!

 Yours in good health,

Alexia Lewis, MS, RD, LD/NCheck out those cool balloons!