WellSpot Resources

Restaurant Specific

Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Policy - Restaurant Specific

Restaurants across the country are joining the movement to go smoke and tobacco-free.  Adopting a Smoke-Free Policy ensures that patrons dining in your restaurant will be protected from secondhand smoke exposure.  Studies have also shown that going smoke-free does not hurt restaurant and bar patronage, employment, sales of profits.  Restaurant WellSpots are required to implement a Smoke-Free Policy for Level 2 designation and a Tobacco-Free Policy for Level 1 designation.  For sample policies and tips for implementing in your restaurant, visit the provided resources.


Breastfeeding Welcome Here Campaign

The Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition's Breastfeeding Welcome Here Campaign allows organizations to promote breastfeeding without taking the steps to become Breastfeeding Friendly designated.  This program asks organizations to sign a pledge and display a window cling to show support of a mother's right to breastfeed anytime, anywhere (supported by Louisiana law).  Signed pledge forms can be sent to info@louisianabreastfeeding.org.  Restaurants who submit a signed pledge form will receive a window cling to display and be listed on the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition website. 


Training Staff to Offer Healthy Menu Options

According to research by the National Restaurant Association, three-quarters of consumers say they are more likely to visit restaurants that offer healthful items.  One way to encourage healthier eating is by training restaurant staff to offer healthy options.  There are a number of ways that restaurant staff can promote healthy options:
                        -   Would you like that baked or grilled?
                        -   What vegetable would you like with your entrée?
                        -   Our steamed vegetables are great with that entrée.
                        -   Could I offer you a vegetable side dish in place of fries?
                        -   There is no up-charge to have you dish baked or grilled if you would prefer that instead of fried.

Staff should also be encouraged to point out healthy menu options when patrons ask their server for suggestions.


Healthy Choice Menu Options

In order to meet this benchmark, WellSpots must offer at least three healthy choice menu options at each meal time.  Restaurants should offer three healthy entrées.  For cafés, coffee houses and bars, three healthy options may include snack/side items, specialty beverages or food options.  Below are some general practices that can be followed to ensure that menu options meet these guidelines.   

Healthy menu options should include items like:
              -   Grilled, baked or blackened lean meat/fish
              -   Raw, baked or steamed vegetables
              -   Whole grains
              -   Fresh fruit

Healthy menu options should not include:
              -   Fried foods
              -   Meats high in fat
              -   Excess salt (greater than 800mg)
              -   Oils high in saturated fats and Trans fats

Healthy food preparation tips:
-   Prepare dishes with healthy oils that are low in saturated and Trans fats - such as canola oil, corn oil, olive oil, safflower oil, sesame oil, soybean oil and sunflower oil - but use them sparingly, as they are high in fat calories.
-   Use low or no fat dressings on salads and for dips and marinades.
-   For recipes that require dairy products, use low fat or fat-free versions of milk, cheese and yogurt.
-   Limit butter, margarine, shortening, lard, mayonnaise, creamy salad dressings, heavy creams and foods made with these products.
-   Limit added sugar in foods and beverages.
-   Use and prepare foods that contain little or no salt, such as unsalted butter and low-sodium broths and sauces.
-   Beverages or specialty drinks should include low or no-fat dairy, less than 5g of added sugars and no white refined carbs and Trans fats.

Ideas for promoting healthy option(s):
-   Offer healthy food items as the daily special.
-   Make healthy food options more visible by placing items first, at eye level or at the register.
-   Offer a "grab and go" healthy option.
-   Indicate healthy options by using logos, stickers or signs.
-   Color code serving utensils and/or food containers to indicate healthy options.
-   Make a healthier side the default option served with entrées.
-   Display nutrition information for healthy options.

Well-Ahead has partnered with Ochsner Eat Fit in order to assist and support Louisiana restaurants with healthier menu choices. Eat Fit collaborates with local restaurants in several Louisiana regions to identify and develop menu items that meet certain nutritional standards without skimping on flavor. They have developed guidelines for all types of menu items including appetizers, entrees, soups, desserts, cocktails and more.

If your restaurant, café, coffee house or bar is located in an Eat Fit coverage area, we will connect you with an Eat Fit representative to either verify your healthy menu items or assist you in developing healthy menu items. If you do not live in an Eat Fit coverage area, please submit your healthy recipes to wellahead@la.gov and our in-house dietitian will verify your healthy menu options. If you have healthy menu options that have been verified by another health organization, please let us know!



Low Sodium Entree Options

The majority of salt that is consumed by Americans (more than 75%) is from processed and restaurant foods.1  While our bodies need a small amount of sodium to work properly, too much can negatively impact our health.  Too much sodium can lead to increased blood pressure and risk for heart disease and stroke.  Together, heart disease and stroke kill more Americans each year than any other cause.2  For this reason, we strongly encourage restaurants to focus on reducing sodium in recipes and offer at least three entrée options with 800mg of sodium or less.


1.Mattes RD, Donnelly D. Relative contributions of dietary sodium sources. J Am Coll Nutr. 1991;10:383–93.

2.Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Miniño AM, Kung HC. Deaths: final data for 2009. Nat Vital Stat Rep. 2011;60(3).



Healthy Choice Options on Kids Menu

Restaurants are encouraged to offer healthy menu options on their kids menu including at least one non-fried protein, one steamed vegetable, and low-fat milk or water as the default beverage.  In order to meet this benchmark, restaurants should do the following:

  • Have two or more healthy choice or low calorie/fat entrees that include fruit and/or vegetables
  • Train staff to offer/promote healthy menu options to children
  • Train staff to offer low-fat milk or unsweetened beverages to children (other beverages are available at parent’s request)
  • There is no “up-charge” for alternate healthy preparation, healthy sides or different presentation


Accommodation of Dietary Restrictions

In order to meet this benchmark, restaurants should offer accommodations to dietary restrictions.  Food allergies and diet restrictions may include, but are not limited to:
                        -   Milk or lactose
                        -   Gluten or wheat
                        -   Nuts
                        -   Shellfish
                        -   Eggs
                        -   Soy
                        -   Sodium

To comply with this benchmark, restaurants may offer:
                        -   Gluten-free menu items
                        -   Vegetarian and/or vegan menu items
                        -   No added salt
                        -   Pescatarian friendly menu items and meal preparation

ServSafe Allergens Certification

The ServSafe Allergens ™ online, interactive course offers critical information restaurant managers and employees need in order to accommodate guests with food allergies. The course covers such topics as identifying allergens, communicating with guests, preventing cross-contact, food labeling and more.

In addition to having staff members certified in ServSafe Allergens training, restaurants should also include a notation on their menu asking patrons to let servers know about their food allergies.

ServSafe Allergens Online Course  



Additional Healthy Restaurant Practices

Restaurants have an opportunity to implement additional practices to encourage healthy choices.  These practices include:
                    -   Serving meals on 10" plates or smaller
                    -   Designing children's placemats/coloring pages with healthy messages
                    -   Serving all fruits and vegetables from locally grown sources
                    -   Having all side dishes default to healthy options
                    -   Offering a beverage size option of 16 ounces or less
                    -   Providing nutritional information of dishes or specialty drinks to patrons
                    -   Promoting healthy menu options as the daily special