State agency requires healthy food at its events
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Food served at West Virginia Bureau of Public Health meetings and events will be healthier under new guidelines issued by the agency.
Half the food at agency meetings and events must be healthy. Fruit and vegetable choices should be increased and food should be baked, not fried. Condiments should include reduced-fat salad dressings and mayonnaise.
Water should be available and soft drinks containing sugar should not be served. But diet soda is acceptable.
According to published reports, Dr. Teresa Frazer, deputy state health officer, said the guidelines are part of a larger project by the Department of Health and Human Resources to create healthier workplaces.
Frazer said the guidelines are intended to offer healthier choices to employees, and not eliminate unhealthy foods from meetings and office parties. No one has to give up fried chicken.
"It's fine if you have fried chicken, but make sure you also have broiled chicken,'' she said.
Only foods at meetings or events that are purchased with state funds are affected by the requirements.
"If somebody comes to one of these events and stops by the break room and buys his own soda, nobody has any objections to that,'' Frazer said.
Sample lunch menus suggest turkey chili with crackers and fresh fruit, or a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with low-fat cheese, lettuce and tomato with a side of potato or pasta salad made in a light dressing.
A sample dinner menu could include spaghetti and meatballs, but with whole grain or low-carbohydrate pasta, tomato sauce and whole grain rolls.
"We're hardwired in many people to like fried chicken better than baked chicken. But we also know, when you're hungry, you will eat and it will taste good,'' Frazer said.