By: Chris Cannon

Original Article and Video at News Channel 5

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The State of Tennessee is partnering with the Eat REAL project to try an help residents of the state live healthier lives.

Tennessee is ranked tenth is the nation for its adult obesity rate.

The state’s first 12 restaurants to earn the Eat REAL certification are located in Nashville.

Sloco Sandwiches on 12th Avenue South is one of the restaurants using practices that go a long way in combating diet-related diseases.

“If you look at the health of the planet, you can see it in the food that is grown. And if you look at the health of the people, you can see it by what they eat,” said Jeremy Barlow, Sloco’s owner.

For more than a decade Barlow has used locally sourced, sustainable products in his restaurants.

“We cure our meats, we make our own bread, we make our own mustard, everything that you see here, is made here,” Barlow explained.

He said not only do those products make a better sandwich, they make his customers a little healthier.

“People that eat clean food, that eat real food are naturally more healthy, we don’t have the issues that we face as a society,” according to Barlow.

Now Barlow’s cooking technique is certified REAL by the Eat REAL Tennessee organization.

“It gives restaurants the chance to opt in for proof that they’re doing it the right way,” Barlow said.

The Tennessee Department of Health is working with Eat REAL Tennessee to make healthier food options easier to find.

“To prevent obesity and diet related disease, it’s important to help consumers, and educate them, on sort of the better for you places to go to and sort of the better options,” said Kristen Korzenowski, project manager for Eat REAL Tennessee.

The organization sends dieticians into restaurants to grade its healthy food practices.

“If a restaurant receives he requisite points, and they pass the certification, then we market them as sort of a more healthful establishment to frequent,” Korzenowski explained.

Each of the restaurants has a REAL certification plate on display so customers can easily recognize its designation.

Nashville is the first city in the state to have Eat Real Certified restaurant. The program will start in Memphis later this year, and Knoxville next year.

You can find a list of the 12 certified restaurants in Nashville by clicking on this link.