Temple University Hospital has converted their cafeteria into a healthy headquarters, serving only the freshest produce to and the healthiest of options to all employees, patients and visitors thanks to the ‘Good Foods, Healthy Hospitals’ initiative.
Unhealthy diets lead to poor overall health, especially in Philadelphia. Here, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease cases consistently rank amongst the highest in the country. Making the initiative spreading across this city more necessary and more beneficial.
The ‘Good Foods, Healthy Hospitals’ initiative is a four-year government-funded program with the goal of changing the food landscape.
In collaboration with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, The Common Market and the American Heart Association, the initiative engages area healthcare institutions in valuing a culture of health through the foods and beverages purchased, served and sold every day.
Each institution signs a pledge dedicated to implement goals for produce served in their patient meals, cafeteria meals, catering, and vending machine options. These commitments include buying locally sourced and sustainably produced foods and increasing the overall nutritional value of the snacks and meals being offered.
As for Temple University Hospital, it’s the initiatives most active buyer.
“We serve thousands of people every day, whether it’s a patient, their families, or staff, we have a lot of people eating here non-stop. So, we figured we’d be fantastic partners with the initiative. We’re in a hospital all day, a place where people go to get healthy, so we take a lot of pride in making that start with the foods you choose to consume here,” said Temple University Hospital’s Executive Chef Jeffery Klova.
Each day Klova and his staff feature locally grown produced fruits and vegetables on the cafeteria salad bar and they make sure it finds its way into their patient’s meals. Offerings include antibiotic free chicken and fresh peaches just do give an idea.
The initiative took off so fast at the hospital that the nursing team caught on to the mission. Temple’s foodservice operator has since removed sugar sweetened beverages from patient floor stock and now promotes water or unsweetened seltzer as part of their care process.
The goal is to at least introduce a healthier option and educate citizens on ways they can prevent poor health. Not to mention the healthcare costs that come along with poor health.
Temple University Hospital has learned the easy way through partaking in the initiative that when you commit to creating practical plans and solutions to develop and sustain a culture of wellness through food throughout the hospital environment, overall health of the community you serve begins to make progress.
As of the new year, 16 institutions throughout the city have signed the pledge and the Temple University Hospital has played a major role in this projects success.
“We are dedicated to this mission to provide everyone who walks through our doors with foods that improve their well-being and encourage a healthy lifestyle,” said Klova.
Hospitals are well suited to impact the overall health and wellness of those who eat at their facilities. ‘Good Foods, Healthy Hospitals’ is an initiative that isn’t going to be turned down at this point. They’ve successfully established and embraced a new culture and they will only continue to grow larger. It’s very simple actually. When you offer and promote healthy produce, you get a healthy community.
By: William Rockenbach & Paul Tajkowski