The Healthy Dining Team

Anita Jones-Mueller, M.P.H.

President and Founder

Erica Bohm, M.S.

VP and Director of Strategic Partnerships

Nicole Ring, R.D.

Vice President of Nutrition Strategy

Frank Mueller

VP of Innovation and Technology Business

John Miksa

VP of Business Development

Lauren Rezende, M.P.H., R.D.

Director of Nutrition, Quality Assurance

Ilana Lemberger, R.D.

Director of Nutrition, Project Management

Blaire Newhard, M.L.A., R.D.

Culinary Dietitian

Diana Wiggins, R.D.

Culinary Dietitian

Kathleen Papandrea, R.D.

Culinary Dietitian

Mary Parsons, M.S, R.D.

 
Culinary Dietitian

Nancy Snyder, M.S., R.D.

Culinary Dietitian | Research

Dave Le Compte

Director of Technology

Jatin Nahar, MS

Director of Mobile Technology

Stephen Terrones

Developer

Sara Lucero

Director of Content

Amber Caswell, M.P.H., R.D., C.L.E.

Manager of Restaurant Partnerships

Anjali Patel, M.P.H., R.D.

Director of Research, Project Management

Michelle Johnson

Director of Program Development

Shawna McNally, MScPH, R.D.

Senior Research Manager

Kelly Bowman, M.P.H.

SchooLicious! Project Manager

Kristen Castillo

Marketing and Social Media Specialist

Mariana Beleche

Research Data Manager

Suzanne Baligad

Administrative Manager

About Healthy Dining

Healthy Dining’s mission is to empower Americans to enjoy dining out as part of a healthier lifestyle and to inspire restaurants to prosper by offering ‘dietitian-recommended Healthy Dining menu choices.’ Healthy Dining’s signature web and mobile site, HealthyDiningFinder.com, is the only search engine of its kind providing personalized dining out recommendations validated by Healthy Dining’s team of registered dietitians. HealthyDiningFinder.com features more than 4,000 menu choices from participating restaurants nationwide enabling diet- and nutrition- conscious consumers to find nutrition information and Healthy Dining options emphasizing lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and unsaturated fats.

HealthyDiningFinder.com also features a Kids LiveWell platform, a program developed by the National Restaurant Association, to help parents find restaurants offering healthier meals for children. HealthyDiningFinder.com and participating restaurants are promoted to the public through an ever-evolving network of partnerships with employers, health organizations, health insurance companies, weight control programs, fitness centers, other stakeholders, and through the media. With 25 years of expertise in the restaurant industry and hundreds of thousands of restaurant recipes analyzed for nutrient content, Healthy Dining is the most experienced restaurant nutrition services provider in the world. Restaurants are able to take advantage of this expertise through Healthy Dining’s leading industry resource, RestaurantNutrition.com, as well as a variety of services.

Background and Milestones
Conceived in 1990 by Anita Jones-Mueller, a nationally recognized restaurant nutrition authority, Healthy Dining has transformed itself from a regional, print-based company to a nationwide Internet-based enterprise.  From 1991–2007, Healthy Dining’s team published 19 editions of Healthy Dining books for the Southern California region. In 2005, the National Institutes of Health/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (NIH/CDC) awarded Healthy Dining a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant to expand the regional program nationwide, leveraging the growing power of the Internet. This award was based on Healthy Dining’s success in Southern California and its potential for improving public health. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) joined forces with Healthy Dining to encourage restaurants to participate in the program.
In 2007, HealthyDiningFinder.com was launched to the public with 30,000 participating restaurant locations. The program has grown to feature 60,000+ partner locations, spanning fast food to upscale dining, coast to coast. The site and Program have received impressive media exposure, including coverage through: The Today Show, USA Today, National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, Self, Shape, Prevention, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle and many others.
In 2008, Healthy Dining received a second SBIR grant, this one from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This research project, titled, “Nutrition Initiative for Small Chain Restaurants,” developed strategies and tools to help small chain restaurants effectively offer healthier choices and nutrition information.
In 2009, HealthyDiningFinder.com received the Bronze Web Health Award from the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC). This award program recognizes “the best Web-based health-related content for consumers and professionals” based on “accuracy, success in reaching the targeted audience and overall quality.
In 2010, Healthy Dining received two more SBIR grants through the NCI and the CDC. The first sought to test the feasibility of modifying standard restaurant recipes to include less cheese, oil, butter, mayonnaise, salad dressings, etc., to a degree that was not detected by and/or was acceptable to restaurant customers. The modifications resulted in corresponding reductions in the levels of calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium. This research provided Healthy Dining with unparalleled expertise and research data to consult with restaurant companies and help them reformulate and modify recipes for healthier composition.
The second grant project received in 2010 tested communication and messaging strategies to 1) increase the availability and accessibility of Healthy Dining menu options served at restaurants and 2) increase the number of Healthy Dining menu options ordered by consumers. In 2011, Kids LiveWell was added to the website.  Developed in collaboration with the National Restaurant Association, this platform identifies healthier kid-friendly menu choices. Healthy Dining received another grant from the CDC to pilot test in the San Diego area a “School Rewards Program.”  Through this program, families whose children attend five elementary schools were incentivized to patronize six nearby Healthy Dining restaurants.  In return, the restaurants offered a discount to the families, and the schools received a percentage of the revenue generated by the restaurants via the families.  The money was earmarked to purchase supplies to support school wellness efforts (e.g., playground equipment, a school garden, etc.).
In 2012, a mobile-friendly version of HealthyDiningFinder.com was launched.  Healthy Dining received a Phase II grant from the National Cancer Institute to expand further the feasibility study initially funded in 2010 (referenced above) to test the recipe modification process with additional restaurants and menu items.
In 2014, Healthy Dining received several additional research grants from the NIH and the CDC.  One was to develop a worksite wellness program.  An employer toolkit containing a variety of materials was created to introduce employees to the concept of healthier restaurant dining and the HealthyDiningFinder.com web and mobile site.  Materials included posters, fliers, table tents, social media content, newsletter content and screen savers.  The proposed materials were evaluated very positively by worksite wellness managers from dozens of companies and organizations nationwide.
A second grant provided funding to expand the School Rewards Program summarized above.  A new, flashier name was created – SchooLicious! – a second school district was added, and new components of the program were developed, such as incorporating beacon technology at restaurant locations to signal parents that Healthy Dining menu choices are available at this location.
The third research grant focused on incentivizing kids to select healthier choices in restaurants by offering fun “characters” when the healthier menu items were chosen by the kids.
As Healthy Dining continues to grow and more restaurants are inspired to offer healthier cuisine, the American public will benefit with great-tasting, vibrant and nutritious menu items that enhance health and well-being. And that is an exciting transformation for our nation!

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