Hospital food service workers are aware of the growing importance of patient satisfaction, in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, it’s equally important to promote healthy lifestyles among hospital workers.
North Carolina Prevention Partners recently awarded the Gold Apple status to FirstHealth of the Carolinas. The Gold Apple is issued to health care institutions that have a healthy food policy and provide affordable and delicious food for hospital staff at all times.
FirstHealth is comprised of three different hospitals, including FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital, FirstHealth Montgomery Memorial Hospital and FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital. FirstHealth’s battle for healthier lifestyles began years ago, when the hospitals implemented a program that raised the prices of unhealthy food options in its vending machines and cafeteria. Additionally, Moore Regional features theme days, such as Meatless Monday and No Fry Fridays in the cafeteria to encourage staff and visitors to eat healthy.
Promote healthier lifestyles
Food service managers can take a similar approach by speaking to other departments to discuss the possibility of raising certain prices and implementing theme days. Theme days can be fun weekly events that not only promote healthier eating habits for staff members and visitors, but also encourage chefs to explore and create more nutritious offerings.
Hospital cooks who have access to nutrition software will be able to gauge the healthiness of their dishes closely. Additionally, food service managers can increase inventory of healthy ingredients. Having predetermined theme days will allow managers to prepare inventory accordingly and cooks to develop recipes in time.
Rather than implement all the programs at once, you may want to ease into each step and allow time for staff members, patients and frequent visitors to acclimate. Introduce a healthier lifestyle and promote it, instead of pushing for it from the beginning.
Allow chefs plenty of time to research healthy meal options before starting the program. Proposing higher prices on unhealthy options is a bold move that some people may not embrace, but having affordable and delicious meals could be a welcome substitute. As such, explore plenty of recipes and run taste tests, perhaps even among other hospital staff members to gauge interest.
Promoting healthy lifestyles can be fun for both kitchen staff members and the general public. Preparation and culinary creativity will ensure that the health program is a hit.