The Washington Restaurant Association announced today it is partnering with Stayhealthy, Inc. and developing a pilot program in select Washington restaurants. Aimed at defining a national standard for healthy meal preparation in restaurants, the pilot program’s overarching goal is to support consumer health and wellness.

Stayhealthy, a privately held company, is focused on enabling consumers to take control of their health and get healthy. They offer a seal of approval program for restaurants and chefs, as well as consumer tools to help improve their overall health.

The seal of approval consists of several elements: a methodology for meal preparation; an education and training program for chefs and restaurant employees; a menu database; and a branding program that will indicate to restaurant patrons that a given establishment and specific menu items are Stayhealthy Approved.

In collaboration with the Washington Restaurant Association, Stayhealthy will bring the healthy meal preparation methodology to Washington restaurants.

According to John Collins, CEO of Stayhealthy, the spirit of the program is not to impose guidelines or limit the creativity of individual chefs.

“The Stayhealthy seal of approval is intended to establish a uniform understanding of what is a healthy meal,” says Collins. “Chefs can then use those guidelines to create their own unique culinary masterpieces.”

Collins also says educating consumers is equally as important. “Ask 10 people what a healthy meal is, and you will likely get ten different opinions,” says Collins. “Most people also share the common misconception that if a meal is good for you, it probably doesn’t taste very good.”

Through the total Stayhealthy program, consumers not only can identify a healthy menu item in a restaurant, but they can now accurately measure their body composition with small desktop device, the Stayhealthy body composition analyzer. By simply holding the device for a few seconds, users will get measurements of their body fat, lean muscle mass and hydration level.

When docked to a PC it uploads your information to a personal Web site, where you can access charts and other information to monitor your activity over time and help users reach your health goals.

Twelve Washington area restaurants will be invited to participate in the program which is anticipated to go live in February 2009.

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