It may be hard to believe given the winter we just faced, but warm weather is upon us. And with the warmth comes the natural desire to shed the extra pounds most of us put on over the long cold spell.
Luckily for many of us, the hot temperatures make us less likely to want to eat big, heaping plates of food. Couple that with the opportunity to get out and bike, walk or just work in the lawn to burn off calories, and you have a perfect recipe for getting healthier.
The final piece of that equation is access to healthy food. It's one thing to say you'd like to eat a salad, but when a burger is the only thing close and affordable, the burger wins out. The good news is, there are an increasing number of opportunities to make the healthy choice the easy one in Allen County, and the list is growing every day.
For starters, look to your favorite restaurant. A growing number of them have joined the Active menu Challenge, a program of Activate Allen County that helps steer you to healthier options. So far, 10 local restaurants have worked with Activate nutritionists to get Activate Approved. That means they offer main course items with 600 or fewer calories and 30 percent or fewer of those calories from fat, offer at least to choices of fruits or vegetables — not counting potatoes, allow substitutions of salad or other vegetables for fried potatoes, and have no unresolved health code violations.
Recently, Beer Barrel Pizza and Happy Daz joined the Meeting Place and Applebee's in becoming Activeate Approved. Look for the Activate logo next to menu items. And if your favorite restaurant isn't on board yet, send them to www.ActivateAllenCounty.com to find out more. And stop by the website t check out the menu for our Activate partners.
For those who want to eat at home, the summer offers a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and there are plenty of local places to find them. Farmers Markets offer a great selection of fresh, locally grown produce and can be found all across the county, including Bluffton, Delphos and the St. Rita's parking lot. And keep an eye out on Downtown Lima, because we will have a new market there very soon.
If you can't get to the local farmers market, let it come to you. The Mobile Produce Market makes stops all across the county, offering fresh produce at lower-than-retail process. Go to the West Ohio Food Bank's website at www.wofb.org to see when it will be near you.
And speaking of the food bank, if you are lucky enough to grow produce and have some extra, there are plenty of places around the county where you can share your bounty and help others make the healthy choice. In addition to the food bank, there is a long list of members in the Allen County Garden Share program. To find out where those are, contact the Activate Allen County office at 419-221-5035 or Allen County Public Health at 419-228-4457.