Guiding Stars nutrition rating arrives at N.J. hospitals

System assigns a star rating to each item to show how healthy the item is.

Aug. 9—Hackensack University Medical Center and Overlook Medical Center in Summit, N.J., have announced the launch of the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program, an at-a-glance rating system that helps diners quickly and easily identify nutritious choices to encourage healthy eating habits. 

The Guiding Stars system rates, with zero to three stars, the nutritional value of every available item in the facility, including hot and cold prepared foods, salad bar, grab-and-go items and beverages. Each item is then labeled with a corresponding tag, sticker or other signage: one Guiding Star is good, two Guiding Stars is better and three Guiding Stars is best. Foods that receive no stars do not meet the program's rigorous criteria. All items are evaluated using a patented algorithm based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other national evidence-based nutrition policies.