March is National Nutrition Month. It is also MyPlate Month for Grayson County businesses. Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center, MTD, and Grayson County Board of Education have been working together to encourage businesses to promote healthier lifestyles in the workplace and create healthier work environments during March.
The groups hosted a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting where members were provided a brief overview of simple ways to make their own work environments healthier. They were also given MyPlate tool kits to take back to use for incentives for their employees.
The delicious MyPlate meal served by caterer Kay Gibson, owner of K’s Café, was such a hit she decided on the spot to host MyPlate Mondays throughout the month. The Chamber hosted a “Lunch Mob” at the Clarkson restaurant on Monday, March 17, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
MyPlate is a properly portioned offering of the five major food groups and replaces the previous Food Pyramid. Its premise is that one-half of a plate should be fruits and vegetables, one-fourth lean protein, one-fourth whole grains, along with skim or low-fat dairy.
The school district has targeted students and parents over the past several months with nutrition-focused family nights at every elementary school. Each child was given a colorful MyPlate and activity book to take home. Middle- and high school-aged children receive lessons as they rotate through health classes. Staff has now joined in, participating in a weekly challenge throughout March.
According to Kristy Hodges, Food Services Director for Grayson County Schools, the current generation of children school age and younger are the first not expected to outlive their parents.
“We have to tackle this issue,” she said.
TLRMC held its own MyPlate Month last fall, offering lunchtime MyPlate meals and MyPlate Minute emails for staff. MTD has joined the efforts as well; even incorporating healthy snacks and vending for their employees, to include fresh fruits, whole grains, and milk.
The overall health of employees not only impacts business insurance costs, it’s proven that healthier employees with healthier children show up for work, and are more productive once there. Businesses also realize that their current employees are raising their future employees.
Hodges added that since that since children tend to model the behavior of the adults around them, it’s important that students and adults hear the same message. “That’s just one of the reasons we are reaching out to businesses.”
Grayson County Schools is providing a weekly update to the MyPlate message this month. For more information visit graysoncountyschools.com or follow them on Twitter @gcboe.