QUEENS — Move over chips and soda. It's time for apples and water.
Eighteen delis, groceries and restaurants in Jamaica and St. Albans are taking part in a new initiative to promote more nutritious options in the neighborhoods, which have very few healthy food stores and struggle with obesity and diabetes, organizers said.
“Right now Jamaica is a food desert,” said Simone Price, executive director of the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District, one of the organizers. “There are very few stores with healthier food options” in the area, she said.
The participating delis and groceries in the volunteer program will display fresh fruit, such as bananas and apples, near the counter and place water at eye level instead of on bottom shelves.
They will also offer low sodium nuts and dried fruit with no added sugar near the cash register and add wheat bread, low fat milk and baked chips to their inventory, organizers said.
Several restaurants that take part in the program will also start offering more baked hot food options, and will include more dishes with brown rice and vegetables in their menus.
Dahlia Goldenberg of Make the Road New York said that Jamaica has been selected for the program because “it has high rates of heart disease, obesity and diabetes.”
The group, Goldenberg said, has launched similar initiatives in Woodside, Jackson Heights and Flushing as well, she said, but on a smaller scale, with just a couple in each locale.
Goldenberg noted that the majority of delis in Jamaica did not meet criteria for the organization's healthy food program at first. But the shops involved in the program agreed to make the necessary changes in order to participate in the initiative.
“It’s good for the community and it’s good for us because we want our customers to be healthy,” said Ali Munaser of ABC Deli and Grocery on 161st Street which has signed up for the program.
The organizers provide the participating stores with stickers that say “Shop Healthy Here.” They will also distribute flyers with their names and addresses at local community centers, according to Andrea Blair-Dawson of Cornell University Cooperative Extension Services, which supports the initiative.
HERE'S WHERE YOU CAN FIND HEALTHIER FOOD OPTIONS IN JAMAICA AND ST. ALBANS:
► ABC Deli and Grocery — 89-31 161st St.
► Villa Mar (Dominican Food) — 89-20 163rd St.
► Genesis (West Indian Food) — 162-23 Hillside Ave.
► Burgundy's Cafe (Soul Food) — 153-35 Hillside Ave.
► Jennifer's Restaurant — 153-41 Hillside Ave.
► Los Rancheros (Mexican food) — 162-10 Jamaica Ave.
► Rosy's Newsstand — 159-15 Jamaica Ave. (Jamaica Market)
► Best Food Salad Bar — 159-15 Jamaica Ave. (Jamaica Market)
► Finest Deli — 90-50 Sutphin Blvd.
► Four Star Grocery — 87-78 Sutphin Blvd.
► Well Being Fish and Deli — 90-71 Sutphin Blvd.
► Jarul Mini Market — 87-22 Parsons Blvd.
► Smile of the Beyond Restaurant — 86-14 Parsons Blvd.
► Guru Health Foods — 86-02 Parsons Blvd.
► Teriyaki Deli and Grill — 201-15 Linden Blvd.
► Laten's Place — 119-08 Merrick Blvd.
► ABC Book and Health Store — 115-50 Merrick Blvd.
► Deli and Grocery — 117-06 Merrick Blvd.