Hospital food, redefined

HealthAlliance hospitals reworks recipes to create restaurant-style dining.

KINGSTON, N.Y.—Forget about the yuck factor.

You simply won’t find it in the meals served to patients at HealthAlliance hospitals.

At least, that’s the belief of those who work in the food service program. They claim that their dishes are not only created to look appetizing these days, but just as much care goes into making them both nutritional and palatable.

“When you’re lying in a hospital bed, when the tray is delivered, we want it to look nice, smell nice and taste good,” said Vicki Kelly, the clinical nutrition manager at HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley. “We have very high standards, and we do deliver that.

“A hospital is not a pleasant experience because you’re not well. One of the bright spots of the day is the food,” she said.

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With younger consumers eager to explore new flavors and better-for-you options, whole-grain pasta is winning greater acceptance in American diets.

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The Menus of Change initiative aims to do nothing less than change the way the world eats. A collaboration of the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School, the program sets out broad principles and ambitious goals that require fundamental changes in foodservice, agriculture, health policy, food processing and even what happens at the family dinner table.

But the means of achieving those lofty ends are often small advances and tweaks to the collective mindset, as the CIA’s annual conference on the initiative reminded attendees this week.

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