Emory's 'Better Choice' label makes healthy food decisions easier

Emory Report | Feb. 27, 2020

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New “Better Choice” labels at Emory’s dining facilities make it easier for people to make educated decisions about what they eat.

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Healthy Emory

When it comes to eating, selecting the best nutritional option can be challenging. With so many choices out there, it’s not always clear which item on a menu is the healthiest. Healthy Emory aims to make this choice easier for students, employees and visitors to Emory’s dining facilities with the “Better Choice” label.

People make multiple food-related decisions every day and these decisions are influenced by a variety of factors such as being rushed or having a lack of nutritional knowledge and environmental cues. Many people aren’t even aware of the food decisions they are making. To remove some of the guess work, Emory diners can now simply look for the Better Choice label.

“Nutrition information can be confusing, and when time is of the essence, people tend to go with what they know, which is often the less healthy choice,” explains Dawn McMillian, registered dietitian and senior wellness specialist at Emory. “The Better Choice label helps reduce barriers for people trying to make healthy choices by providing a quick visual reference.”

Healthy Emory partnered with Emory food service directors and chefs to create and implement the labeling system which is based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Menu items marked with the Better Choice label include abundant fresh produce, whole grains and lean or plant-based proteins. Better Choice items also are lower in saturated fat, sodium and added sugar.

Better Choice menu selections were determined by an enterprise-wide collaboration among Emory University, Emory Healthcare and Bon Appétit, the management company that oversees the Emory University dining facilities.

"Even if a person chooses a Better Choice option only half the time, it is still one step toward improving their overall health,” explains Jessica Perry, residential dietitian with Emory University Dining and Bon Appetit.

Since its launch, the Better Choice initiative has been well-received at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.

“Many find the Better Choice label incredibly helpful when it comes to choosing their meals at work,” says food service director Amy Davis. “In addition to labeling items in the café, we also have the Better Choice labels in our monthly café menu which employees can access electronically.” 

To learn more about the Better Choice initiative, contact healthyemory@emory.edu.