Spencer, IA restaurant makes changes to help with "Blue Zone" de - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Spencer, IA restaurant makes menu changes to help with "Blue Zone" designation

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Salt shakers are located up front, not at tables to prevent  people from impulsively adding salt to their meals. Salt shakers are located up front, not at tables to prevent people from impulsively adding salt to their meals.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

For the state of Iowa, the road to becoming the healthiest state in the nation will be paved with "Blue Zone" communities.

It's part of a public health initiative designed to help Iowans live longer, happier lives. Northwest Iowa is home to 3 communities, Spencer, Spirit Lake and Sioux City, that have been identified as demonstration sites.

Each is in the process of becoming a certified community. And officials in Spencer say they not only want to be the first in Iowa but, in the world.

"That's what we want for our community, but we also want to make sure everyone knows we want healthier things in Iowa, we want all communities on board and to get involved," Erin Pingel, Spencer Blue Zones Engagement Leader said.

In order to become certified a city has to meet set requirements in six categories to increase health and well being.

Those are getting schools, restaurants, work sites, and grocery stores signed on to the standards, passing community policy to promote health and getting the people of their community engaged in the effort.

In Spencer, they've already met the requirements for grocery stores.

And Friday, the community took another big step in their quest to become certified.

One of the local restaurants officially met the new Blue Zone standards.

It's called The Bear Coffeehouse and Winebar, and you'll everything from sandwiches to coffee, and even wine. What you can't see is that it's a designated blue zone restaurant.

"Getting our sandwiches to the standards of the blue zone was kind of a journey," Elice Brunnette, The Bear, Restaurant Manager said.

"There are some pretty specific qualifications as far as offering menu items that have certain nutritional aspects," Brunnette said.

The Bear received the designation after completing a pledge that includes offering three healthy dishes, two healthy children's meals, offering half sized entrees, serve entrees on 10 inch plates, and promoting to go boxes.

To get people to think about how much salt they're adding to their meals, you'll noticed when you sit down at the Bear, there are no salt or pepper shakers at the tables.

While that may seem like something that would turn people away, Elice Brunnette says being a Blue Zone Restaurant has actually increased traffic.

"Well the Blue Zone ladies do bring their events to us sometimes so when they're out having wine after 5 they come to us and, it's a really great opportunity to bring people in," Elice Brunette said.

"It's really exciting because I think we're the first and it's really meaningful to our business that we be healthy for the community and for the individual," Brunnette.

Spencer still has 3 restaurants left before they meet the restaurant requirement for the Blue Zone project.

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