Blue Zones Project® in Pottawatomie County hosted a Ribbon Cutting Celebration to honor The Lunch Box for achieving designation as a Blue Zones Project Approved™ restaurant. The Lunch Box completed the approval process, which includes adding healthier menu options, optimizing menus to highlight healthy choices and making changes to the dining environment.

The mission of The Lunch Box has been to provide Shawnee residents with home-style dishes reminiscent of grandma's cooking. When restaurant owner, Lee Rutherford, began developing new menu items that fit that mission, Rutherford sought input from regular customers on what plant slant offerings they would enjoy. This pursuit of customer feedback resulted in a crunchy quinoa veggie wrap, a savory roasted veggie avocado wrap and a bento box for kids, all which can be found at cheaper price points than entrees containing a meat protein. In addition to creating new menu items, any sandwich from The Lunch Box can be made into a salad, or served on whole grain/sourdough bread, and patrons have the freedom to split an entrée at no additional charge.

“Restaurants are key partners in creating a sustainable culture of well-being,” said Blue Zones Project, Program Manager, Rachael Melot. “Now with six Blue Zones Project Approved restaurants no one can say there are no healthy options when dining out in Shawnee. We applaud Lee and The Lunch Box for their commitment to this transformation and for supporting downtown patrons in their journey to improved well-being.”

Brought to Pottawatomie County through an innovative sponsorship by the Avedis Foundation in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC, Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community well-being improvement initiative designed to enable community members to live longer, happier lives with lower rates of chronic diseases and a higher quality of life.

Based on principles developed by Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author of “The Blue Zones” and “The Blue Zones Solution,” Blue Zones Project is designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to the built environment, policy and social networks.

To learn more about Blue Zones Project, contact the Blue Zones Project team in Pottawatomie County at 405-765-8071, or visit