'Eat Smart' Healthy Meeting Guide Released

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As part of ongoing efforts to improve the health of North Carolinians by helping them to achieve a healthy weight, the N.C. Division of Public Health (DPH) and WakeMed today formally released a new publication, Eat Smart North Carolina: Guidelines for Healthy Foods and Beverages at Meetings, Gatherings and Events, during a presentation to the Association Executives of North Carolina (AENC).

The Eat Smart Healthy Meeting Guide aims to increase opportunities for healthy eating by providing practical guidelines for anyone who is in charge of food served at events, helping them choose lower-fat and lower-calorie foods and drinks. The guide can be used in working with sales staff and chefs to plan delicious, nutritious meals and breaks for event attendees. It was written by DPH staff and sponsored by WakeMed.

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"From the choices set around the table at office lunch meetings to the food options at a large hotel conference, it is important for the people in charge of the food that is served to realize the role they can play by offering more opportunities for people to make healthy eating decisions," said presenter Sheree Vodicka as she introduced the guide to AENC meeting participants. Vodicka is a registered, licensed dietitian with Public Health's Physical Activity and Nutrition Branch.

"The attendees today who take this guide back for their organizations to adopt are helping in the fight against obesity and are modeling behavior we would like more businesses to adopt," Vodicka said.

AENC includes not only hundreds of association professionals, but also representatives from various aspects of the hospitality and service industry. So, AENC is one of the many audiences that the guide is intended to influence. AENC Executive Director Jim Thompson wanted to provide the guide to his 540 members, who plan events and meetings for organizations all over the state.

"With more and more Americans trying to eat healthy, people are concerned about those situations where they have no control over what they are being served," said Thompson. "So employers, conference organizers, event planners, and everyone else in the hospitality industry

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