Healthy options on local menus


Bee Well of Edgar County is bringing a healthy eating project to public attention.

Coalition members Mary Liz Wright and Kara Wilcoxon visited most of the locally owned restaurants in Paris regarding the possibility of placing Bee Well stickers next to the healthiest menu options at each establishment.

“Everyone said enthusiastically, ‘This is a good idea,’” said Wright.

The idea has been kicking around awhile with the goal of helping diners quickly locate healthy menu options. Participating restaurants will also get a Bee Well logo door cling.

Wilcoxon, a Horizon Health dietician, will review the menus and select the items to receive the logo identifying the choice as a healthy option. There is no cost to the businesses to participate.

In addition to the restaurants, Wright said Circle K has agreed to have a Bee Well/Bee Healthy sticker on the water tab of its fountain machine and let customers fill the large containers normally used for sugar-laden soft drinks with water.

The Bee Well coalition’s goal is to turn Edgar County around after two different studies ranked the county near the bottom of Illinois counties for the high rate of heart disease and obesity found here.

In other positive news, Brandi Easton reported the Learn To Run program is going well. About a half-dozen people of all ages have stuck with the multi-week program that stresses building endurance. Success is not measured by how far a person runs or how fast but rather by achieving the ability to run non-stop for 30 minutes.

“We are up to running 14 minutes and walking for one,” said Easton. “Our goal next week is to be running for 30 minutes.”

Learn to Run concludes June 13 and Fun Run for kids starts July 9. This program designed to promote activity in children meets twice a week through Aug. 8 and consists of a series of dashes of varying lengths plus the option of doing half-mile and mile-runs.

Erin Frank is still looking for adult volunteers to help with the family friendly Fun Runs.

Wright shared some disappointing news. It appears Paris will not have a Bee Well community garden for the second straight year. The first community garden was in a field behind Lake Ridge Christian Church, but unending damage inflicted by browsing deer at that location frustrated those with garden plots.

The Lake Ridge location was abandoned last year as those involved with the community garden started the search for a new location. For awhile it appeared the planned green space project between Prospect Bank, the city and the county, would provide a lot on Union Street for the creation of a new community garden.

Wright said problems with Prospect Bank finalizing a lease and the gardeners concerns about the amount of work converting the rubble filled lot to raised beds and the need for fencing have cooled that possibility.

“There’s not going to be a garden in Paris this summer,” said Wright.