The home of the legendary pecan ball is now offering healthier dining options.

Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel — long known for delicious, if not always healthy, food — is joining forces with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan on a new initiative called “Live Healthy, Live Grand.”

The program targets guests of the Grand Hotel, which opened for its 2011 season May 6.

Hear Matt Roush’s interview with Dan Loepp, BCBS CEO:

Components of the efforts included:

* Healthy menu choices created by Chef Hans Werner Burtscher, will be available to Grand Hotel guests throughout the season, with special icons printed on menus to signal their endorsement as healthy choices under the program.

* A “Live Healthy, Live Grand” daily planner to be given to all hotel guests during designated weekends in 2011 as a gift to take home as a reference tool in their own health and wellness efforts. The planner includes fun facts, exercise and stress reduction tips for both on and off the island, healthy recipes from Chef Hans and a food and exercise log.

Under the program, the Blues will be the exclusive sponsor of the Fourth of July festivities at the hotel, which will include “sunrise yoga” and other special exercises for hotel guests, stress reduction opportunities on the Grand Hotel grounds and other activities.

The concept traces its inspiration to an initiative the partners created for the 2010 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Also, the Blues and the Grand Hotel will make a $20,000 joint donation to the Mackinac Straits Health System, which operates the Mackinac Island Medical Center. The donation will help the hospital develop a comprehensive health and wellness program for the 70 students in the Mackinac Island Public School and their families. The grant will be made formal during the Mackinac Policy Conference now under way at the Grand Hotel.

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