The Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba was recently honored as the first resort on the island to receive the IBISA Award, certified by Mr. Richard Visser, Aruba’s minister of health and sports.
In conjunction with PACO (Pan American Conference on Obesity), a certification program constructed over the past three years was created with the objectives of raising the prestige of tourism and the tourism industry in the region, and providing economic resources for projects within the community on the prevention of obesity through exercise and healthy eating. Certification for hotels and restaurants is granted on the basis of compliance with GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), HAACP (Hazard Analysis, Critical Control Point System), and healthy food principles.
“Westin’s global philosophy of healthy lifestyles and our association with SuperFoodsRx items on our menus has put Westin at the forefront in the hospitality industry as a pioneer of promoting healthy choices for our guests,” explains Executive Chef Matt Boland. As part of Westin Hotels & Resorts® ongoing commitment to personal renewal, in 2007 they teamed up with SuperFoods Partners LLC, owners of the SuperFoodsRx™ brand, to become the first hotel brand to create a SuperFoods focused menu for their guests. Super foods, known for being health enhancing and rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients, are the main ingredient in many Westin signature dishes worldwide. Westin Hotels & Resorts® also eliminates all artificial trans-fats from food and beverage operations.
“Minister Visser’s vision of carrying healthy tourism principles into our local community is also a big part of how we are educating our associates and their families,” Chef Matt says. “Our human resources team organizes health and well-being seminars for our associates to provide them with the information and resources they need to make these healthy choices at home and with their family and friends in the community, and our kitchen works together with our cafeteria team to have a weekly healthy menu for our associates so they can explore and taste ingredients that maybe they have never tried before in hopes they will incorporate these nutritious—and delicious—ingredients into their meals at home,” the chef adds. “Locals love dishes like nasi and bami…I like to use a ‘eat this and not that’ approach to show them that they don’t have to give up the foods they love because even these dishes typically high in fat and calories can be made with healthier ingredients like whole wheat pasta and rice, and lots of fresh vegetables, and still satiate their desire for the comfort food they grew up with…even a pastechi can be good for you by using corn meal instead of flour, stuffing some spinach in with the cheese, and baking it instead of frying it.”