Chicago hospital cafeterias embrace healthy focus

Hospitals try to encourage healthy eating without forcing it.

March 21—The new 866,000-square-foot Elmhurst Memorial Hospital features a state-of-the-art emergency department, 259 private in-patient suites, the da Vinci robotic surgical system, the first Aquilion ONE 320-slice CT scanner in Illinois, and an Open Bore MRI.

To complement such cutting-edge services and technology, the hospital offers healthier food choices at its new Wildflower Cafe, the latest addition to a growing list of area hospital cafeterias that serve up tasty, nutritious meals.

Among the choices for Elmhurst visitors are turkey burgers with lower sodium content, sweet potato fries, a grilled portobello sandwich, a Mediterranean vegetable bake, vegetable stir fries, and mahi mahi with mushrooms and tomatoes. Also on the menu are whole wheat breads, low-fat yogurt and braised lentil pilaf.

"The plan of the hospital was to offer more selections of food and healthier and more cooked-to-order food," said James Roth, certified executive chef at the cafe.

Each food station features a widescreen digital monitor displaying a menu, calorie counts and fat content for the daily entrees and some of the daily specials. "We try to encourage people to eat healthfully without being preachy," Roth said.

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Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

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