Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, Healthy Dining and restaurants partnering for healthier options

Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, Healthy Dining and restaurants partnering for healthier options

From left, top row: Shana Patterson, RD, Healthy Dining Colorado; Tessa Stamper, RD, Noodles and Company; Maren Stewart, JD, APR, LiveWell Colorado. Bottom Row: Khanh Nguyen, Colorado Health Foundation; James O. Hill, Ph.D., Anschutz Health and Wellness Center; Kevin Caulfield, Red Robin International; Anita Jones Mueller, MPH, Healthy Dining; Pete Meersman, Colorado Restaurant Association; Ellen Robinson, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office

The University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (AHWC) is teaming up with Healthy Dining to help Coloradans make healthier choices when they eat in restaurants.

The new program is called Healthy Dining in Colorado. More than 40 restaurant companies with 300 locations are already participating in Colorado. Restaurants will offer a selection of dietitian verified menu items for kids and adults emphasizing lean protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and unsaturated fats.

“Families are so busy. We recognize that they will eat out because it can be faster and more convenient. In fact, families eat an average of five restaurant meals per week,” says James O. Hill, Ph.D., executive director of AHWC. “The partnership with Healthy Dining provides healthy, good tasting restaurant options so families don’t sacrifice nutrition for convenience.”

Families can find restaurants, from fast food to upscale dining, by entering a ZIP code in the online search tool featured on or by downloading the free iPhone app, YumPower.

“ makes it easy to dine out as a part of a healthy lifestyle,” says Anita Jones Mueller, president of Healthy Dining. “It’s exciting to see so many restaurants offer nutritious choices. As more restaurants offer Healthy Dining choices there is a positive public health impact- one family at a time.”

Hill agrees: “Two out three adults and one out of three children in this country are considered overweight or obese and we need to reverse this trend. We can do this by helping people make small, sustainable healthier choices. With this partnership, we want to provide families with better meal choices – ones that are both healthier and good tasting.”

Healthy Dining in Colorado is the first statewide initiative of its kind and will serve as a model for other states to implement. There are 60,000 restaurant locations participating across the country.

“We are thrilled to launch this new program in Colorado building on Healthy Dining’s nationwide success,” Jones Mueller says. “We are hopeful our collaboration with AHWC, LiveWell Colorado and Colorado Health Foundation will help Colorado maintain its standing as one of the healthiest states in the nation.”

Healthy Dining in Colorado features restaurants committed to offering a selection of healthful choices such as Bistro Elaia at AHWC, the Summit Restaurant at the Broadmoor Hotel, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Mad Greens, Sweet Tomatoes, Red Robin, Noodles & Company, Boston Market and others.

“Boston Market provides a variety of delicious meals guests can customize and feel good about eating and serving,” says George Michel, Boston Market’s CEO. “It’s important for us to work with partners like Healthy Dining to assure our guests that they can enjoy nutritious meals without sacrificing taste. With more than 100 meal combinations containing 550 calories or less and a program in place to reduce sodium across our menu by 15 percent to 20 percent, we offer our guests a wide variety of proteins and sides that deliver on both taste and nutrition.”