In a city known for its flavorful cuisine that doesn’t always coincide with healthy eating, Tulane University senior Ella Dove has a hand in helping local restaurant patrons make better food choices.
Ella Dove, a 2014 graduate from Santa Monica Calif., was inspired by her internship to change the way Americans eat. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)
As an intern with Eat Fit NOLA
, a program that works to highlight healthy food items on the menus of local restaurants, Dove spends much of her time reviewing restaurant menus in search of existing items that meet the caloric requirements of the program.
In accordance with the American Heart Association, entrées must have less than 600 calories and appetizers less than 300. There also are stipulations for sodium, saturated fats, refined starches and sugar.
“I spend a lot of my time reaching out to restaurants and doing nutrition analysis to see if anything on their menu fits,” says Dove. “Pan-seared salmon doesn’t come with a nutrition label so we step in to do it for them.”
Dove also is present during a weekly health segment on the local news where registered dietician and Eat Fit NOLA creator Molly Kimball offers healthy eating tips and live cooking demonstrations.
“People on diets usually don’t want to eat out, but this program puts a label on the better-for-you choices on a restaurants menu,” says Dove. “We currently have about 50 participating restaurants and as word gets out, restaurants are beginning to reach out to us.”
Dove, who will graduate on May 17, is a dual major in economics
and international development
with a minor in public health
. In the future, she hopes to work in media to help Americans eat better.