BY ALLIE FORD
SPECIAL TO THE OPINION-TRIBUNE
Mills County businesses and community members are working together, making exciting changes to create healthier lifestyles. One way that this is occurring is through support and changes from local restaurants.
Live Healthy Iowa helps bring more awareness to what Iowans are eating and the importance of being physically active.
Two restaurants are among the Mills County businesses working hard to make a positive difference in our communities by offering healthier choices, buying locally and promoting healthier lifestyles.
Classic Café in Malvern offers multiple healthy choices such as grilled chicken salads, homemade salad dressings, salmon, tuna, half-portion sizes and wraps. In addition, you can exchange fries for a healthier option such as salad or cottage cheese for no extra charge.
Alicia Bartley-Hagen, the cafe’s owner, believes offering healthy options as specials, purchasing the lean meat and allowing customers the option of sides are all ways to contribute to a healthier community.
“In the summer we grow many of our own vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce and onions. We also buy from local farmers markets, when possible,” Bartley-Hagen said.
Bartley-Hagen said she’s noticed, when given the option, about 75 percent of the time customers opt for something other than fries. She has also noticed that people are drinking more water.
Oasis employees in Glenwood are working hard to create healthier choices for customers. The business features healthy options such as grilled chicken breasts, various salad options, including the Greek salad and side options that include cottage cheese and vegetables.
Oasis is starting to offer gluten free options and unbreaded chicken strips. Butch Fidler, Oasis owner, was recently diagnosed with diabetes and has gained a better understanding of the importance of healthy eating.
This has raised his awareness of the need for a healthier diet and to offer a lighter menu. He has been working hard to make changes to the menu and is in the process of offering a whole new menu.
“It is important for us to try and offer healthy options,” Fidler said. “We do not use a lot of frozen foods and prepare all of our own meat that does not have as much filler. We also cut all of our own steaks.”
Oasis supports the farmers market as much as possible by purchasing vegetables such as broccoli and tomatoes.
“This also allows us to offer food that is less processed and does not have as many pesticides” Fidler said.
To help Oasis offer healthier choices on its menu, a dietician gave advice to the restaurant staff, as part of a community transformation grant awarded to Mills County.