Certified Healthy is a new program launched by the Kern County Public Health Services Department that identifies restaurants within the community that provide healthier food options.
The Department’s public health nutritionist established a list of 10 health-based criteria focusing on calories, saturated fat and sodium content. In order for restaurants to qualify for this exclusive program, they must meet at least 80 percent of the criteria listed below. These criteria focus on decreasing unhealthy ingredients that play an integral part in many chronic diseases that are common in Kern County:
• At least six menu items under 500 calories
• Fruits/vegetables available as side item with meals
• At least one salad option
• Whole-grain bread/side option
• At least six menu options with less than 30 percent of DRI of sodium
• Meal options with less than 5 grams of saturated fat
• No meals exceeding 2,000 calories
• Offers at least five vegetarian meal dishes
• Has a nonfried fish option
• At least four food options containing 10 grams of fiber
Heart disease, diabetes and obesity are prevalent in Kern County. Nutritional intervention strategies are the key to help our community avoid or properly treat these chronic conditions. Currently, there are 12 participating restaurants in the Certified Healthy program. You can download the Safe Diner app on your smartphone to locate each Certified Healthy restaurant on a map or visit www.kernpublichealth.com to view a list of all of these restaurants.
When visiting restaurants, look for their grade placard in the window. Participating restaurants will have the Certified Healthy logo located on the upper right-hand corner of the placard.
In addition to restaurants, Certified Healthy also has a program for food trucks and mobile vendors. This program aims to help food trucks offer healthier options and recognize those that do so. The criteria for food trucks is slightly different than those for restaurants:
• Offers at least 1 menu meal item under 600 calories
• Offers at least 1 vegetarian dish
• Offers fresh fruit or vegetable option with meal
• Salad option on menu
• Serve nonfried chicken, fish or protein source
Because food trucks do not have grade placards like restaurants, a prominent Certified Healthy window cling sticker is displayed. There are currently six Certified Healthy food trucks. For more information, visit our website and explore the details of this new exciting program as well as other public health programs that aim to promote better health.
Aaron Stonelake is the nutritionist for the Kern County Public Health Services Department. For more information on health resources and programs, go to www.kernpublichealth.com.