Blue Zones Project – North Hawaii

We all savor an occasional meal out with family and friends at an old-time favorite or the newest spot in town. If you’re on the run, sometimes the most convenient (or only) option for nourishment is to order take-out or grab whatever pre-packaged item you can get your hands on at a nearby restaurant. Whatever the situation, we all want to feel satisfied and good about the food choices we make when dining out; we just need the right options and perhaps a little nudge.

Blue Zones Project is at work in our community to help make healthy choices easier in restaurants, as well as grocery stores, worksites, schools, faith-based organizations, civic groups and city governments. Blue Zones Project leverages findings from the original Blue Zones (places where people live longer with a fraction of disease and illness in comparison to U.S. counterparts) and other well-being research to create new Blue Zones Communities across the U.S.

Restaurants are a vital part of Blue Zones Communities. They can unlock healthy benefits for their business and their community by taking the Blue Zones Project Restaurant Pledge.

Nudge diners to better health

Restaurants play a key role in Blue Zones Project as more and more diners are seeking healthy options when dining out. By adopting best practices from around the county, restaurants can meet growing customer demand and increase revenue, all while improving customers’ health.

Here’s a list of simple, yet effective best practices to optimize the restaurant environment for better health and business:

* Offer plant-based entrées and side dishes

* Serve smaller portions and entrées on plates 10-inch round or less

* Offer fresh fruit as a side dish and dessert option

* Remove salt shakers and soy sauce from the tables

* Install bicycle racks outside the restaurant

* Offer to-go boxes or ensure they are easily accessible

* Allow alternative preparations to fried entrées, such as baked, grilled, or broiled

Put Blue Zones Project to work in restaurants

Restaurants build reputations through daily effort, attracting and satisfying guests. Restaurants can grow their customer community by anticipating preferences, connecting to what matters in the community, and becoming an active player in the community’s health and well-being.

Here in North Hawaii, Big Island Brewhaus, Kohala Coffee Mill, Sea Dandelion, Sushi Rock and Trio, and Under the Bodhi Tree have already achieved Blue Zones Project Approved status. To learn more about the Blue Zones Project Restaurant Pledge, contact Dena Smith Ellis, organization lead for Blue Zones Project – North Hawaii, at or 564-4761. To learn more about Blue Zones Project Hawaii, go to

Blue Zones Project – North Hawaii involves dozens of community volunteers from Waimea, Waikoloa, North Kohala, Kawaihae, Puako and Hamakua who are dedicated to helping us all “Live Longer, Better.” To join, go to to learn more. North Hawaii is one of only eight communities in the state selected as a Blue Zones Project demonstration site. Blue Zones Project by Healthways is brought to Hawaii by HMSA.

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