by Kelly Quigley

Beautiful healthy middle aged woman sitting down to eat a healthy green salad.

Beautiful healthy middle aged woman sitting down to eat a healthy green salad.

Everyone at Fox Run Retirement Community is excited about Empower U, a new program that focuses on healthy aging, tying together food, fitness and education. Community members are encouraged to try new foods, participate in multi-level fitness programs, and adhere to guidelines on healthy eating.

The best part of the program is the fun people have in choosing! Chefs at Fox Run offer a “Fit Choice of the Day,” abut also incorporate comfort food into the menu. “Food is part of our lives, and so is tradition,” explains Sara Ferrerio, Director of Clinical and Wellness Support at Morrison Food Group, one of the nation’s top food care specialists. The chefs keep the comfort food selection healthy, with a goal of providing “food memories” that bring participants back to a happy occasion through the aroma and flavor of various foods. The menu is diverse and takes the everyone’s taste buds all over the world – from the United States to Ireland, Italy and India. Program coordinators notice that by keeping meal themes diverse, people are more interested and engaged, because, as Sara says, “Food is fun!”

The fitness portion of the program is designed to meet every level of ability. Participants are able to choose a class based on their strength, balance and comfort level. Janelle Tucker, the fitness coordinator at Fox Run, offers advanced classes in strength and training, gentle seated classes and balance classes. Pilates, yoga and jazz classes are available throughout the week. Tucker says, “Our goal is to help community members increase their balance and strength, and overall health. And evidence suggests this will be helpful in preventing falls and other accidents.”

The education piece of Empower U focuses on keeping community members informed so that they are inspired to make healthy choices throughout the day. A dining portion of Fox Run’s website connects to Empower U, listing menu options, the fit choice of the day, as well as nutritional information. This portal enables community members to see which of the available options are heart healthy, vegetarian, and rich in super foods.

Mark Hurley, who is the director of dining services and Lisa Sanders, the executive chef, have created cooking classes that highlight meals that are the fit choice of the day. The classes are taught in Fox Run’s beautiful culinary center between four and five times each month. The culinary center is equipped with two huge-screen televisions located on the wall on both sides of the chef that are linked to cameras. This enables participants to get a close-up view of the meal being created. Members frequently take notes, and get to sample the meal after the class.

Empower U is designed to prevent aging, but is beneficial for people of all ages. The program’s emphasis on diversity and keeping things pleasurable is a great reminder that exercising and eating comes in many forms, and that there is no reason for people to fall into a rut. Keeping it exciting, fun, pleasurable and memorable healthy, and that is what life is all about!

To learn more about Empower U and all that Fox Run has to offer including food truck days, farmer’s market Thursdays and more, visit To arrange for a tour call 716-662-5001.

About the Author:

Kelly Quigley is the owner of Quigley Consulting. She is also a freelance writer, and provides assistance to businesses with marketing, public relations and social media. She can be reached at (716) 998-0813.