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Wyoming Menu Project






Problem:  Approximately 65% of adults in America are overweight, and the number is rising.  Health problems are associated with obesity, causing pain, suffering, and early death.  An average American diet ranges between 4-6 grams of sodium (4,000mg- 6,000mg).  Increased sodium in the diet is associated with high blood pressure and heart disease. Over 23.6 million people have diabetes with over 54 million people with pre-diabetes.  

 In Wyoming, Kathleen Thomas RD CD LD CDE was teaching diabetes classes at a local senior citizen site and after teaching the class the students noted they could not eat at the center.  After meeting with the center director, Kathleen was given a stack of menus from the various senior citizen sites and asked how the menus compared with healthy diets.  Many problems were noted.  The senior citizen meals were often high in carbohydrates, fat, salt, sporadic in vegetables, and limited in fruit servings.  Senior citizen meals often do not meet the needs of people with diabetes. This does not allow people with diabetes to follow their meal plan while eating at Senior citizen sites.  The meals did not meet the 2005 Dietary guidelines for Americans.  Key recommendations in the guidelines which were a concern:  1) Balancing calories from foods and beverages with calories expended and 2) 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups vegetables per day.  Most senior meals had traditionally had less than a ½ cup of fruit and ½ cup of vegetables a day at the senior menu programs.


Kathleen Thomas offered to help the center improve menus. The director asked if it could be done statewide and the Wyoming Menu Project was born.



We began using a new menu format based on the Idaho Plate Method:

Vegetable appetizer- salad or soup (mainly Vegetables) or veggie tray

Entrée- protein serving

Starch- potato, rice, noodle, beans, etc

Vegetable- (NOT corn, peas, potatoes, winter squash)

2nd starch- bread, cookie, cake, etc

Fruit or fruit dessert (note this is mostly fruit with a light topping)

Milk or ice cream or pudding or smoothie


We provided new improved healthier recipes and Registered Dietitian (RD) signed Plates/Menus for the sites to use.  The new menus provided better meet the DRI’s of vitamins and minerals, and are lower in fats, salt, and calories than older menus. By changing the meal format we are better meeting the Dietary Guidelines, especially eating more fruit and vegetables.  Also by starting the meal with a salad or vegetable appetizer people tend to eat 7% less calories at the meal?  

The Wyoming Menu Project reduced salt in recipes by 50-75%, Fat by 30% -50%, and overall calories.  With these decreases we would expect clients to feel meals were inadequate, but meal surveys and interviews with seniors showed they felt the meals were actually larger and very satisfying.  Meal surveys showed very good acceptance of the meal changes.  The key is starting slowly; use the meals 2 days a week to begin with.  Also we did mini nutritional talks (5 minute talks) before a meal telling clients the benefits of: a higher fiber diet, eating more fruit, eating more vegetables (including how it improves weight control), and how a good meal plan can help with diabetes.



Wyoming Menu Project has completed 2 cookbooks.  The cookbooks feature healthy recipes used at Senior Nutrition Programs and are set for 50 servings.  Menus are reviewed and signed by 8 Top Dietitians from Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.

Wyoming Menu Project Material:


1)  Healthy Food Cookbook: The newest cookbook features less salt, less fat, controlled carbohydrate and less overall calories(approximately 650+ recipes),  Each recipe has a food label/Nutritional Analysis, 300 Plates/Menus, and a CD with Menus & Nutritional Analysis. The Material is Great for senior nutrition programs and other sites that need a menu with a nutritional analysis.  Suggested Donation $50.00


2)  Healthy Foods Cookbook Very Low Sodium (approximate 630 recipes) plus 300 Plates/Menus with Nutritional analysis, and a CD with Menus & Nutritional Analysis.   These recipes use no salt and use lower sodium choices for many food items. Menus are set for 50 servings, great for Senior Nutrition Programs and other sites that need a Nutritional analysis.  Suggested Donation $50.00

3) For Both Cookbooks and all the material listed above.                                       

Suggested Donation $85.00


Use the downloadable Order form to Order the Material.  If you have questions about the material  Contact:


The Young at Heart Center

2400 Reagan Ave.

Rocks springs WY,82901

Phone: (307 ) 352-6737


Click here to download your order form

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