Health eating options with Independent Health
Western New Yorkers love their food, and with great local restaurants here in Amherst and beyond, it's easy to find your favorite spot for pizza, wings, beef on weck and fish fries. Of course, we all know we can't eat out like that all the time if we want to be healthy. Moderation is certainly the key, but it's easier said than done with all of the wonderful options. Thankfully, Independent Health has worked with community partners to offer and promote a number of ways to support healthy dietary choices and encourage healthy eating.
For the past decade, the Independent Health Foundation has been helping the Western New York community make wise decisions when dining out and cooking at home through its Healthy Options program.
More than 100 local restaurants currently participate in the Healthy Options program by offering heart-healthy food options for their customers. The program also offers monthly cooking classes and a website that features a list of participating restaurants, weekly blog posts, healthy recipes and much more.
This summer, with the help of the Healthy Options program, all food trucks participating in Food Truck Tuesdays at Larkin Square have to offer a healthy options menu item. Every food truck will use Healthy Options stickers to identify their healthy menu item. Food Truck Tuesdays run from 5 to 8 p.m. now through October at Larkin Square, where people can also enjoy live music and fun outdoor activities. For more information, visit larkinsquare.com.
Serving Up Success: Get your fill of tasty dishes for a great cause
Another way to check out Healthy Options will be at the Independent Health's Foundation's Third Annual "Serving Up Success" food and wine tasting event, which will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on September 25 at the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts.
This year's event will feature award-winning dishes from area Healthy Options restaurants, including Firefly Cupcakes, Kabab and Curry, Rust Belt, and Sweet Melody's. The evening will also include samplings from local wineries and breweries, live music by Kevin McCarthy, a silent auction and giveaways. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Independent Health Foundation's efforts to combat childhood obesity, including programs like the Fitness for Kids Challenge and Soccer for Success, and events like Kids Run.
Tickets for "Serving Up Success" are now on sale for $35 each and can be purchased on the Healthy Options website or at any D'Avolio Olive Oil and Vinegars location.
Independent Health's Nutrition Benefit
As part of Independent Health's efforts to engage members in their health, we introduced our nutrition benefit earlier this year. The nutrition benefit, which is available as an option in most small group and individual plans and as a rider or large group plans, encourages members to make healthy choices when shopping. For every two dollars a member spends on fresh fruits and vegetables at Tops, the member earns $1 back in rewards, which are paid out in the form of an in-store rewards card. Members can earn up to $1,000 on their food purchases each year on a family plan and up to $500 on a single plan, with the benefit rewards tracked through the Tops BonusPlus program.
This benefit has proven to be extremely popular among our members, and already has had an impact on some of our members' nutritional choices. Here's just one example from a recent Buffalo News article on how the nutrition benefit has spurred one of our members to make different selections at the supermarket: http://bit.ly/1pk3Izi