July 2014 Issue

Sustainable Hospital Food
By Judith Riddle
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 16 No. 7 P. 5

Earlier this year, I sat in on a roundtable discussion about innovative, sustainable foodservice programs in hospitals, led by the Healthier Hospital Initiative (HHI), an organization that provides hospitals with free tools and resources to serve healthful food options and develop sustainable food systems that will benefit patients, staff, the community, and the environment. While some hospitals continue to serve processed foods that contain preservatives and are high in fat, sodium, and sugar, several others are making great strides and leading the way toward establishing healthier, more sustainable foodservice systems.

Some of the biggest players driving sustainable foodservice across the health care industry participated in the roundtable, including Kaiser Permanente, Stanford Hospital & Clinics, and Inova Health System. These hospitals are developing healthier menus, banning sugar-laden beverages, and working with local farmers to purchase sustainably grown produce. They’re also reclaiming city lots for organic farming, reducing the amount of meat they purchase and serve, buying more fair trade and organic products, growing their own food in greenhouses on site, and creating more energy efficient kitchens.

These are major steps forward for the health care industry, considering that in the recent past staff members and visitors often were hard pressed to find a single low-fat, cholesterol-free entrée in their hospital cafeterias. You’d think that the very institutions providing health care and treating and managing disease would have served healthful foods in their cafeterias from their inception. Nonetheless the tide has turned, and Today’s Dietitian has reported on the latest developments in the feature article “Sustainable Hospital Foodservice” on page 34.

Also in this issue are articles on the association between diabetes and heart disease caused by oxidative stress, the pending FDA food labeling proposal, and whether we’d be better off substituting palm oil for trans fat in the food supply. Tell us what you think about these articles on our Facebook and Twitter pages, and enjoy the rest of the issue!