On Community Outreach Programs, for Becky Ellis

Hospital partners with community organizations for nutrition-related programing.

Becky Ellis, senior director of dining and nutrition services for Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va., says it’s her mission, as well as the hospital’s, to improve the health of the communities she serves. To that end, the nutrition department has partnered with several community organizations to provide nutrition-related programming, including Camp Too Sweet, a diabetes camp for children. 

Q. What is Camp Too Sweet?

Camp Too Sweet is a Carilion Clinic program that provides a summer program for children and young adults ages 8 to 17, who have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. It’s designed to meet the social, educational and recreational needs of young people with diabetes. It’s done at Camp Bethel in Fincastle, Va.

The camp is done one week a summer and it runs from a Monday through Friday. They do group games, crafts, swimming, hiking, campfires, normal camp activities. Then they do educational activities on diabetes care.
 

Q. What role does the nutrition department have in Camp Too Sweet?

Our diabetes program has been around for years. We got involved through Susan Carter, our clinical nutrition director. She’s been involved for more than 25 years. She let us know about the program and how we could get involved. We all jumped on it.

We do a cooking demo on Friday. Our chef makes the campers lunch. The children absolutely love it. They love to see a real chef cooking—and cooking food they can actually eat. Our registered dietitian provides the kids with the educational component during the meal. We’ve made things like grilled chicken drumsticks with low-sugar barbecue sauce, baked white cheddar macaroni and cheese and fresh fruit salsa with baked tortilla chips, which we sent home with the children. We’re introducing them to some foods that they haven’t tried before that are healthier options. Also we’re working to educate them on cooking at home.  

Q. Why did you become involved?

Carilion Clinic’s mission is to improve the health of the communities we serve. This fits right in with our mission. We do a lot with the community. We want to do everything we can to support it. I think the camp has been popular for so many years because it’s a real advantage for children to have something like this where they can get out and be kids and enjoy and learn at the same time.
 

Q. What other community engagement programs is the department working on?

We’ve gotten involved recently in a program called Food For Thought. It’s based on Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyard program in Berkeley, Calif. Students at one of the middle schools are building a garden and our chefs are going to the school to teach the students.  

Q. What are the chefs teaching the students?

The chef is teaching them about what they’re growing. When they first started, a lot of the children thought potatoes came from the freezer in the form of a french fry or they didn’t know that apples were picked off trees. They just didn’t have that experience with food. The chefs are able to teach them what produce is in season, how to pick it and how to cook it. We’ve been really inspired by that. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources