You Are What You Eat

Most people don’t like being told what to do, but they usually don’t mind a little help when it comes to making a tough decision. While the choice of what to eat might not be considered a major brain bender, a majority of Americans think more information would be helpful.

In a survey conducted by Technomic, a food industry research and consulting firm based out of Chicago, 65 percent of restaurant patrons favor nutrition labeling in restaurants. Their strongest demand is for calorie count, and restaurant patrons aren’t alone. More than 77 health and consumer groups, including the National Restaurant Association, support the federal legislation that calls for menu labeling (

Most local establishments will not fall under the federal guidelines, but Healthy Door County 2020 has been working with area restaurants to facilitate a menu labeling program to designate items that have 650 or fewer calories, which is one-third the typical daily calorie recommendation.

“While we don’t have a lot of restaurants ready to launch our Healthy Door County 2020 Portion Approved initiative, we do have a lot of interest in this work within the community,” said Amy Kohnle, Executive Director of the United Way of Door County. “Within our community needs assessment, we found that nutrition is an area where some education, awareness, and action could create an impact for not only residents but also visitors of Door County.”

Britt Unkefer, owner and chef at Wild Tomato Wood Fired Pizza and Grille, will be the first to launch the Healthy Door County 2020 Portion Approved program.

“I think it’s important that people know what they’re eating,” said Unkefer. “That’s where it all begins. Whether you’re raising a family or trying to be healthier yourself, it all starts with what you eat as the most important.”

For Unkefer, personally and professionally, life is about balance, which is why he wanted to participate in the program.

“If you remind people that there are healthy things to eat, it kind of justifies doing the naughty stuff,” he said. “It’s not like I think everyone should be eating cheese curds every day, but I wouldn’t want to discourage people from living a little every once in awhile.”

Door County Public Health Nurse Beth Krohn agrees with the sentiment that people will still need to assess other factors when choosing what to put into their bodies.

“Calorie count is only one part of the nutritional analysis,” said Krohn. “People will still need to take into consideration the quality of their food choices with consideration to amounts of fats, sodium, sugar, etc. – but this is a starting point toward better nutrition.”

Keep your eyes open at Wild Tomato Wood-Fired Pizza and Grille for a little green leaf to designate appetizers, entrees and salads that meet the 650 or fewer calorie recommendation. But don’t worry, no one is going to tell you what you have to eat, and Unkefer has no intention of taking the cheese curds off of the menu.

This series of articles is brought to you by Healthy Door County 2020, a collaborative community organization with representatives from for-profit, nonprofit and government sectors, aiming to make Door County Wisconsin’s healthiest place to live, work, raise a family and retire. For more information visit their Facebook page at or call Allison Vroman at 920.868.3660.