When dining away from home, we make healthy choices easier.
Dining Smart Community is a part of UPMC Health Plan’s Dining Smart program. Developed by UPMC Health Plan doctors and dietitians, UPMC facilities follow this proven worksite nutrition plan to support a culture of healthy eating in the workplace. Now, we are pleased to help several community organizations to do the same for their staff and the people they serve.
We work with our community partners to:
- Support healthy dining, catering, and vending options.
- Offer menu items that meet Dining Smart guidelines.
- Set goals and objectives for healthy dining to enhance wellness in the community.
- Offer food, beverages, and snacks that are easy to identify.
- Educate the community with practical tips for healthy dining anywhere.
In places where Dining Smart Community is available, look for our signature green logo as your guide to the healthiest foods. These items contain fewer calories, and less fat, sodium, and cholesterol. They are also rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Dining Smart Community at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh was the first organization to take part in Dining Smart Community. The museum’s Big Red Room Café offers a variety of healthy menu items, such as fresh salads made with locally-sourced produce, homemade vegetarian wraps, fresh fruit cups, and low-fat yogurt parfaits.
Tips for Eating Nutritiously
Planning a healthy meal is as simple as making sure each of the food groups are represented on your plate: a source of protein, a grain, fruits and vegetables, and a source of calcium. The following can help you remember how to balance your meals and snacks:
- Fill up on fruits and vegetables. Make at least half of your plate fruits and vegetables, fresh if possible, with little or no added fat, sugar, or salt. Getting a variety of colors (green, orange, and red) is an easy way to make sure you’re getting different nutrients. If you can only afford the canned variety, drain and rinse before using.
- Go lean with protein. One quarter of your plate should include low-fat beef, skinless poultry, fish, beans, or tofu. Eating seafood as your protein source twice a week can help increase your intake of heart-healthy fats like omega-3.
- One quarter of your plate should contain a grain or another carbohydrate-rich food. Choosing a whole grain option (something with “whole grain” as the first item on the list of ingredients) will provide you with more fiber and help you feel more satisfied than a refined grain product. Bored with brown rice? Try a new grain like quinoa, farro, or barley, or legumes like black beans and chickpeas.
- To meet your daily calcium needs, choose low-fat dairy products or fortified soy or almond milk alternatives. Non-dairy sources of calcium include spinach, collard greens, and almonds.
When it comes to lunchtime, do you feel like your family is in a peanut-butter-and-jelly rut? Here’s how to instill some variety in your midday meal while also keeping it nutritious.
Switch up the bread
- Look for 100% whole grain options when choosing bread.
- Tired of whole wheat? Try 100% oat bread, or multigrain sprouted breads (found in the freezer section).
- Instead of bread, wrap fillings in a tortilla, stuff a pita pocket, or even make lettuce “boats” out of large romaine leaves.
Spice up your condiments
- Instead of adding high-fat mayonnaise or butter, try a different spread, like avocado, hummus, or spicy mustard.
- Hate to give up mayo? Try a low-fat version or just use less.
Step up to fruits and veggies
- For school lunches, at the beginning of the week, wash and chop a variety of veggies and place them in individual containers for easy transport. Include crispy favorites like baby carrots, cucumber slices, and cherry tomatoes.
- If you don’t like plain veggies, include dip options like reduced-fat ranch, yogurt, or hummus.
- If you choose canned fruits, make sure they are canned in their own juices (no added sugar).
- Keep pre-sliced apples and pears looking fresh with a dash of lemon juice to reduce browning.
- Add frozen fruit to cottage cheese or yogurt for a protein-packed snack that will defrost by lunch time.
Serve up variety
- Revitalize your peanut butter and jelly sandwich by trying almond butter, cashew butter, or sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter. Buy 100% fruit spreads to avoid extra sugar.
- If you need to satisfy a sweet tooth, do so wisely by packing an individual piece of dark chocolate or a small handful of dried fruit to control portion size.
- Remember to keep food cool.
- Make sure you have access to refrigeration for any lunches that contain dairy or meat products.