It's hard to believe but it's true: when Grand Avenue Club was launched more than 30 years ago, it was not unusual for lunch to consist of a hamburger on a bun, French fries, and ice cream.

As time went on and we paid more attention to the overall health and well-being of our members, we talked more about nutrition, physical exercise, regular health check-ups, and prompt medical follow-up when people felt ill.

These days we are not only a "community that works." We are also a community that takes care of all our members. We do this in a variety of ways: via recreational activities outdoors, when weather allows. This includes our summertime softball game, our outdoor barbeques in Milwaukee's parks, and our summertime trips to Blue Lotus Farm & Retreat Center. This also includes our fourth floor Fitness Room where members utilize our exercise equipment. It also includes our five day a week Lunchtime Wellness Walks; from Monday to Friday at 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm when a group of 6-8 colleagues walk rigorously in the downtown area.

We have made wonderful progress in the area of nutrition. Five days a week from 8:45 am to 9:30 am, the Culinary Unit offers every colleague a healthy breakfast consisting not only of typical breakfast foods, but also roasted, boldly spiced vegetables and healthy grains. Lunches are thoughtfully planned out and are often ethnically varied. This week's lunches include Kofta, Pad Thai, Creamy Beef and Mushroom Rigatoni, Tuna Salad on Greens, and Chicken Shawarma. There is always a vegetarian version of our lunches. The few vegans in our community are accommodated as well. "Meals-to-go" are available to all members at very low cost. Members also receive assistance and advice with their grocery shopping and preparation of meals at home.

Each week's meals are planned the week before they are served during Monday afternoon Menu Planning Meetings in the Culinary Unit, to which all colleagues are invited and many attend. Participants are encouraged not only to bring their ideas, but to participate in the shopping, meal preparation....and clean up!

Our approach to food has changed remarkably over the years and we are proud of our skills in combining health, a variety of foods of different cultures, and unqualified deliciousness. It is indeed a pleasure to have our employed members stop for breakfast or lunch before or after work.

We have set a "fine dining" tone at our Clubhouse and this contributes to our camaraderie.

A very active member of our Membership, Education & Employment stated this morning at breakfast, "That was delicious!. And now it's time to go to work upstairs!"
Above: The Culinary Unit preparing hand-made calzones with fresh vegetables and ingredients.
Above: Kayla Bockhop and Walter Heard prepare a fresh, healthy fruit tart for a colleague's birthday celebration.
Above/Below: In-house catering event prepared by the Culinary Unit.
Above: Lynne Schultz portioning out meals-to-go for members to take an affordable, nutritious and delicious meal home.
Above: Michael Anderson putting the finishing touches on homemade raspberry turnovers for a Thursday morning Colleague Training Meeting.
Above: Melissa Moore preparing noodles for pasta primavera on a Spring day inspired lunch.
Above: Jenny Teuscher, Paul Holmes, and Tim Voss at Whole Foods, shopping and menu planning for healthy meals at home.

The Colleagues of Grand Avenue Club