Wellness Mandate

FoodService Director - What I've Learned - Larry Melton - GSA - healthy eating templateAfter a presential mandate from President Obama to imporve wellness among federal employees, Larry Melton of the General Services Administration (GSA) developed a healthy eating template for all GSA facilities.

FoodService Director - What I've Learned - Larry Melton - GSA - healthy eating templateWhen President Obama issued a four-part presidential mandate to improve wellness among federal employees, the General Services Administration (GSA), which manages and supports the basic functioning of federal facilities, sprang into action. Larry Melton, assistant commissioner of facilities management and service programs for the GSA, spoke about developing a healthy eating template for all of GSA’s facilities.
 

“The four parts of the mandate included: creating a culture of wellness within federal agencies; evaluating the prototypes for on-site health and wellness programs; enhancing food and fitness options within the federal workplace; and modernizing federal health benefits program. The mandate was issued in the spring of 2009.

GSA is responsible for managing foodservice contracts at all federal facilities. We’re responsible for negotiating contracts for wellness amenities that are located in that federal space. We have a large role in fulfilling the presidential mandate by providing the healthier choice options.

We wanted to deal with the core components of healthy and sustainable food options. We had to incorporate that into our concessions contracts, knowing it could be supported by industry trends. We knew from looking at studies in the private sector what has been a successful model in other private-sector organizations, so partnering with the industry to garner support was critical to reshaping the requirements of healthy choices in our contracts. What we didn’t want to do is reinvent the wheel or create something that was not going to be successful. We worked with the USDA to determine ‘what is healthy nutrition?’

Right now we have a phase-in plan approach for our 350 operations. The first step was to build the healthy choice language into our contract template by including a wellness section. Just getting the language right was critical to us. A lot of folks think we’re only offering healthier food but what this is really about is healthier options—not just shoving healthy foods down our patrons’ throats with no room for choice. It includes things that promote a balanced diet; things like portion control and no trans fats. What we want to do is drive the right behavior, but folks can still get a hamburger and french fries, but we’ve made healthier versions of them.

We’re implementing this first in the State Department, so the chef there will present options, and in the case of the State Department they’ll be offering healthier taste testing to find out what works and doesn’t work. So the chefs will be creative, but they have to see what works and what promotes consumer demand. We are developing a scorecard so all operations can work off the same page for determining how the sales are going.

One of the biggest things we’ve learned is that folks really want healthy choices. When we’ve done surveys and seen what some of the commercial entities are doing, we’ve seen that everyone cares about calorie counts and employees are actually going to places that have promotions for healthy eating. We’ve also learned that you can’t offer only healthy foods. Educating the consumer that making healthy choices leads to a better workplace and a long-term stability for your employees is the most critical piece, and we hope it will drive the behavior we’re looking for.”

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Capital School District in Dover, Del., has a new food truck, one that will serve lunch to students during summer break, Delaware State News reports.

The truck will travel through the district every Monday through Thursday over the break and will offer lunch to anyone 18 and under.

The district offers weekly free lunch at the Capital City Farmers Market during the summer; however, school officials hope that the mobility of the food truck will help reach children who are unable to make it to the market, as well as enable staff to provide food that requires more preparation...

Sponsored Content
organic fruits veggies

From WhiteWave Away from Home.

Organic food has gone mainstream in recent years. And consumers of all ages believe organic food is not just healthier—but tastier—than conventional counterparts, according to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report.

No demographic group, however, values organic offerings as highly as those aged 18 to 34.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of millennials, compared to 44% overall, say they’re more likely to purchase and willing to pay at least slightly more for menu items with organic claims, according to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy...

Industry News & Opinion

Chefs at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., participated in plant-based food training earlier this month as part of an effort to introduce more vegetarian, vegan and allergen-free dishes on campus, The Daily Evergreen Reports.

Over two days, chefs worked in pairs with plant-based ingredients to create new dishes such as vegan pizza, cauliflower fried rice and vegetable wellington.

Washington State’s dining services said it hopes to expand the presence of plant-based dishes throughout all campus dining halls as student demand rises, noting that items with animal...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

FSD Resources