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Through a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Health and the United States Healthful Food Council, Eat REAL Tennessee has announced the state's first foodservice establishments to achieve REAL Certification. Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership is a growing national program that helps combat diet-related disease by recognizing foodservice operators committed to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship, according to a company press release.
"We're pleased to recognize these leaders who are providing food that is not only good for business, but also good for Tennesseans," said Project Manager Kristen Korzenowski. "These operators are contributing to a culture where the healthy choice is the easy choice."
Tennessee's inaugural class of 12 REAL Certified foodservice establishments includes: 1808 Grille, The Barn and Main House at Blackberry Farm, Frothy Monkey, Joe Natural's Café, Juice Bar, My Veggie Chef, Sloco, Sunflower Café, The Wild Cow, Garden Brunch Café, Sky Blue Café and the new Music City Center in Nashville.
How it works
Utilizing the points-based REAL Index, independent registered dietitians conduct an assessment of menu offerings and overall nutrition and sustainability practices. Establishments are credited with points across a range of criteria such as the use of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy preparation methods, moderate portion sizes, unsweetened beverages, healthy children's options and sustainable sourcing. Those that satisfy the necessary requirements are awarded REAL Certification.
"With the increased consumption of food prepared away from home, it's critical that we help families find restaurants that serve healthier food and beverages," said Kristie Ryan, executive director of the Tennessee chapter of the American Diabetes Association. "We believe that Eat REAL positively impacts both consumers and foodservice operators in our state."
Eat REAL Tennessee is a statewide initiative supported through a grant from the Tennessee Health Department as part of an innovative approach to preventing diabetes and obesity across the state. The program also serves as a community outreach platform, engaging and educating the public on nutrition and healthy dietary choices.
"We're honored that so many establishments are embracing Eat REAL," said Lawrence Williams, CEO of the USHFC. "We look forward to recognizing more leaders in Tennessee and throughout the country."
All REAL Certified establishments are featured on eatREAL.org.