Restaurant serves healthy meals, encourages community wellness

MJ’s Café, located in the heart of Baton Rouge’s Mid-City neighborhood, has always worked to improve the health of their patrons and surrounding community through healthy, delicious food. By teaming up with Well-Ahead Louisiana and becoming a WellSpot, MJ’s Café got the assistance and resources they needed to take their healthy commitment to the next level.

From day one, the restaurant understood the important role they could play in improving the well-being of its community. When longtime café patron Elena Keegan, the owner of Baton Rouge Yoga Company, told MJ’s owner Mary-Brennan Faucheux about Well-Ahead Louisiana’s WellSpot designation program, it immediately sparked her interest. The program’s benchmarks aligned with the mission of MJ’s Café to promote community wellness by supporting customer’s health journeys through wholesome meals.

“It wasn’t a hard transition,” Mary-Brennan said of implementing WellSpot benchmarks. “It felt more like a pat on the back and reassurance that we are doing something good here to have Well-Ahead Louisiana support our initiatives.”

Seven years ago, the café began their WellSpot journey as a Level 3, with many of the benchmarks and policies already in place. With support from Well-Ahead, MJ’s Café built on its smoke-free site policy to become a tobacco-free site, became verified with the Louisiana Breastfeeding Coalition as a breast feeding-friendly site and added three low-sodium entrées to the menu. Mary-Brennan also went the extra mile to have the café’s menu offerings Eat Fit certified, following guidelines for menu items that meet certain nutritional standards without skimping on flavor.

Mary-Brennan has held fast to the foundational principles instilled by MJ’s founder Maureen Joyce after taking over in 2017. “Our mission has always been to serve plant-based, whole foods. The mission behind everything we do is serving food that is not only delicious, but also nutritious to support the mind, body and soul.”

Now, as the restaurant marks its 10th anniversary, MJ’s Café is celebrating moving up to a Level 1 WellSpot!

“This entire process has been really rewarding. I have the opportunity to make our community healthier, and I get to hear people’s stories about how our food and the healthy menu choices we provide offer healing and wellness. It makes it easy to deal with all of the nuances of running a restaurant! Being a part of this program has been a really wonderful experience, and I hope more places will choose to become WellSpots.”

Dine-in, take-out or grab a soup to-go at MJ’s Café located at 5162 Government St, Baton Rouge, LA Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. For more information or to check out the menu, click here.

Well-Ahead is here to help your restaurant take the lead by becoming a WellSpot. Learn more about the evidence-based benchmarks and how Well-Ahead can help you improve the health of your staff and patrons and move Louisiana’s health forward!

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