Healthier Meal Options Enter Four Campus Meal Sites, Celebratory Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies


Hayley Lemery

Boar’s Head and BYOB in Howard Hall received Blue Zones Project Restaurant Approval. A ribbon cutting ceremony was hosted on Feb. 23.

Hayley Lemery, Assignment & Features Editor

Last week, two ribbon cutting ceremonies were held on campus in celebration of four on-campus restaurants gaining Blue Zones Project Restaurant Approval.

The Blue Zones Project was created by Dan Buettner of Collier County. He studied different areas where people had the longest life expectancies to see what local communities could change in their everyday lives.

“What they figured out is only really 20% of it was genetics and the other 80% was all about their lifestyle and how they were living,” Megan Greer, worksite lead for Blue Zones Project, said. “And so what they did is they took all of the findings that they found in these five different locations around the world and they brought it into nine common principles that we call the Power 9.”

“And so the Power 9 are focused on natural movement, eating a plant based diet, and making some healthy choices. But the other six components are really about togetherness and belonging,” she continued.

The Power 9 consists of move naturally, right outlook (purpose and down shift), eat wisely (80% rule, plant slant and wine at 5) and connect (positive pack, loved ones first and belong).

“What we are doing now in Southwest Florida, we become a certified Blue Zones community and that means that we work with schools, with restaurants, with grocery stores, with work sites, and with municipalities to work on a whole bunch of different policy initiatives that would help to create healthy options and options to our communities,” Greer said.

FGCU is Florida’s first university Blue Zones certified worksite. The Boardwalk, BYOB, Boar’s Head and SoVi Dining Hall achieved Blue Zones Project Restaurant Approval in Jan. 2023.

The first ribbon cutting was in front of Howard Hall and the second was at SoVi Dining Hall.

Howard Hall served sample menu items from BYOB and Boar’s Head and gave students the opportunity to learn about well-being initiatives on campus. SoVi Dining Hall offered a free Blue Zones approved meal to the first 100 attendees of the ribbon cutting ceremony and guest speakers had an educational discussion on the importance of personal well-being.

Students were encouraged to take the RealAge test. This test determines what your health age is by what you eat, your activity, health history and sleeping habits. It gives tips on healthy habits to lower your RealAge.

“Everywhere that you work, live and play, you have healthier options so it’s never about taking anything away, it’s just about showing up,” Greer said.