Nutritionists and researchers at Loma Linda University School of Public Health (LLUSPH) have been working for nearly a year on a new healthy menu for the Riverside Convention Center (RCC), located in downtown Riverside, CA, which serves more than 250,000 guests a year. The new menu, called healthy community options, was implemented on December 2.
LLU SPH partnered with the Raincross Hospitality Corporation, the managers of RCC, to develop menu items and supervise the culinary staff on knowledge and techniques for proper preparation of vegan and vegetarian meals on the specialized menu.
Dr. Krystal Gheen, and faculty member in the Center for Community Resilience at LLU SPH, has been working with Chef Brad Martin since December of 2013 on collaborating and creating a menu for the Riverside Convention Center. The vegan and vegetarian portion of the menu is currently in its first phase, which includes lunch and dinner entrées. A second round of options will include breakfast, appetizers, and deserts.
“More and more people are asking for healthy food options,” says Dr. Gheen. “The healthy community options we designed with Chef Martin and his team assure nutritional quality and a balanced plant based diet.”
The vegan and vegetarian portion of the Healthy Community menus will be marked with the LLUH healthy heart apple icon. This signifies that the options are healthy and meet LLUH’s nutritional standards.
LLU SPH will also be involved with other aspects of food service at RCC, including a nutritional assessment of all food items on the menu, and having students take part in internship opportunities that meet the requirements for their practicum to complete their graduate studies. As part of the partnership, RCC donates 5 percent of every item marked with a healthy foods icon to LLU School of Allied Health and LLU SPH nutrition students.