Michigan Hospitals Revamp Their Menus

As a part of the Healthy Food Hospitals Initiatives, approximately 50 Michigan hospitals have made the pledge to revamp their menus and patient food options towards a healthier track.  Along with a number of other hospital systems, hospitals in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Detroit have all signed on to the initiative.  The pledge comes as a dedication to combat the obesity epidemic and works with dieticians from key hospitals for implementation tactics.

From the Healthy Food Program, Hillary Bisnett explains, “This initiative goes beyond hospital nutrition. It is about transforming Michigan’s food system infrastructure to be healthy for people, the environment, and local economies.”

In Ann Arbor and Livingston, St. Joseph Mercy hospitals’ Vice President of Support Services and Capital Project Management, Tom Tocco, recognizes that they have “taken great strides to improve the food experience here for all parties. The taste is nothing short of outstanding.”

For Greater Detroit area Beaumont Hospitals, Clinical Nutrition Manager, Christine Eagle, speaks of their hopes for this initiative.  “We hope this will have a positive impact on health. On the inpatient side, patients, children and parents will use this as a model for eating healthy at home. Visitors also will get an idea of what a healthy portion looks like. It will provide teaching points to help people choose more wisely.”

In Grand Rapids, Saint Mary’s Health Care and Metro Health hospitals have all signed on to pledge their dedication to the Healthy Food Hospitals Initiatives, with Spectrum Health hospitals soon to follow.  Saint Mary’s and Metro Health have both initiated farmers’ markets as a promotion of fresh and local ingredients.  Saint Mary’s spokeswoman, Katherine Halloran, explains that the hospital will begin to participate in FarmLink, which is a West Michigan food co-op.

The new hospital menus take steps to provide a healthier experience for patients, staff, and health professionals alike.  Most of the participating hospitals are integrating changes that include vegan and vegetarian options, lowering sodium levels, use of whole grains, eliminating fryers, switching to anti-biotic and hormone free meats, and using fresh fruits and vegetables.  Desserts are made to house no more than 200 calories each.  The cooking staff is removing the frozen, dry meals and focusing on made-to-order dishes.  Additionally, there is a strong push towards supporting our Michigan farmers by using locally sourced ingredients.  The hospitals aim to have 20% of their goods locally sourced by 2020.

Has your local hospital implemented some creative ways to promote healthy eating?

Photo Credit: TheImageGroup

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