For Rhonda McAnally

FoodService Director - Five Questions for Rhonda McAnallyRhonda McAnally, director of network development at 581-bed University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Tenn., talks with FSD about the hospital’s Healthy Living Kitchen program and the recent partnership with grocery store chain Food City.

FoodService Director - Five Questions for Rhonda McAnallyRhonda McAnally, director of network development at 581-bed University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, Tenn., talks with FSD about the hospital’s Healthy Living Kitchen program and the recent partnership with grocery store chain Food City.

 

What is the Healthy Living Kitchen?

 

The Healthy Living Kitchen is basically a class that is dedicated to teaching individuals heart-healthy recipes and lifestyle tips. By heart healthy I mean taking into consideration calories, gluten, fiber and trans fats and showing a way that you can take and modify recipes and incorporate them into your lifestyle changes. You’re learning new techniques and ways to enhance the flavor of your food other than using tradition salt and pepper or with things that have high-caloric intake or have trans fats. It is a way to teach individuals how to cook heart healthy and learn the nutritional components of certain foods and ingredients that you can substitute in recipes.

 

The Healthy Living Kitchen team consists of our executive chef, a registered dietitian and a cardiac nurse specialist. Any teaching that we do for our patients while they are in the hospital consists of a team approach. To get the modifications that you can make in recipes we needed the chef who knows how to incorporate different flavors. We also need the dietitian for the nutritional and dietary components to talk about foods that are low in fats and trans fats and calorie intake. Adding the cardiac nurse specialist to the team also provides the education from a clinical standpoint on how important exercise and diet is to the overall healthy information that we pass out about how to combat heart disease and diabetes and prevent stroke.

FoodService Director - Five Questions for Rhonda McAnallyWe do the classes in a kitchen that is in our heart lung vascular institute. It holds between 35 and 40 people. There are tables like you would sit at in a restaurant.

 

How did the Healthy Living Kitchen get started?

In 2006 it began out of our heart lung vascular institute. The vice president wanted to do something as far as an outpatient series for the patients when they are going through cardiac rehab after they’ve had the heart attack and it’s too late. You do have to make diet modifications and learn how to exercise and learn ways to strengthen your heart when you are doing cardiac rehab. A big component of that is nutrition. You have to change the way you eat sometimes and the amount of calories you take in. There were really no educational classes that focused solely on the nutritional aspect. The vice president saw this as a way to attack the nutrition component to the cardiac rehab component and give a complete picture of the rehabilitation progress.

Then it went to a more preventative class. We branched out from cardiac and started looking at chronic diseases like diabetes and celiac. There are all kinds of diet modifications that have to be made in a diet and sometimes certain foods can aggravate certain conditions.

 

What kind of classes does the Healthy Living Kitchen do?

 

We always do several heart-healthy classes. We have a class for diabetics or for pre-diabetics. At the class, the team introduces itself. Then they go into the recipes that they are going to be serving. Each participant is sat down at a dinner table like in a restaurant setting. The chef starts preparing the food. During the preparation the team interjects and talks about things. If the chef is preparing a chicken breast and the class is geared toward diabetes, the dietitian will talk about the nutritional component of the chicken and things that you can substitute. The cardiac nurse specialist will talk about incorporating this into your exercise. We usually prepare a meal, which consists of a carb, greens and a dessert. The total meal is calculated in the total amount of calories. The participants get any recipes and educational materials to take home with them.

FoodService Director - Five Questions for Rhonda McAnallyWe average about 12 classes per year. We offer a class quarterly here at the medical center. We are also at churches and community events. We do healthy tailgating for those who want to participate in sporting events.

 

 

Besides cooking demos, what other programs are offered through the Healthy Living Kitchen?

Another facet to the Healthy Living Kitchen is our grocery shopping tours. Our dietitian and cardiac specialist will meet participants at a local grocery store and have a tour through the store to learn about label reading and types of foods. It’s about an hour-long class. They encourage the participants to do their normal shopping and show them substitutions that they can buy in the same line that are healthier. We try to keep the class size at about 10 participants so that people have one-on-one time.

 

How does the partnership with Food City work?

 

The Food City partnership allows us to offer more sites in our community. Our region of service for UT Medical Center encompasses about 21 counties. Food City stores are located in each of those 21 counties. We are reaching a broader reach of people through this partnership. It was a partnership based on availability of the stores and allowing us to offer these classes in the stores. Food City is helping us with promotion of our classes and lending their dietitians to help us with our community events. The monetary value is mainly just a trade of services. They allow some of their staff to participate in our classes and tours, and we hold some classes with people who are patronizing their stores. We are providing a CDE dietitian to meet with Food City to talk about nutritional aspects.