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Menu makeover: Promoting healthy eating at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

In a move to make it one of the healthiest hospitals in the country, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital has made some drastic changes to its menu. Greasy cheeseburgers and fries have been replaced with whole-grain breads and pastas and seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Karen Kemby, administrative director of strategy and business development for the hospital, explains the reason behind the healthier fare in a piece on the Packard Children’s website:

“As a children’s hospital, we have the responsibility to model the healthiest environment possible for our patients, their families, and the community. We take that responsibility seriously, and we are leading the way in making children’s hospitals healthier places.”

Packard Children’s was one of the first children’s hospitals in the country to eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks from its menu. (Each 12-ounce serving of a carbonated, sweetened soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar.) Kemby adds that Packard Children’s is one of only ten children’s hospital systems among 155 hospitals signing on with the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for a Healthier America, which is working with the private sector and Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to end the epidemic of childhood obesity in U.S.

Packard Children's cardiologist Stephen Roth, MD, MPH, adds that having a healthier menu helps the many patients and families who come to the hospital. “We tend to eat more than we need, especially at stressful times. It’s hard for families to be in the hospital when their children are ill, and we should do whatever we can to make our environment healthier for them.”

And just because it's healthy, doesn't mean the food isn't tasty. In fact, the story points out that the hospital’s cafeteria rates an average of four out of five stars on Yelp.

Previously: Kids don't need "kids' food"Want kids to eat their veggies? Researchers suggest labeling foods with snazzy names,New federal nutrition standards mean healthier school lunches and To squeeze or not to squeeze: Using packaged foods to increase a child’s fruit and veggie intake
Photo by healthydieting

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