Sebasticook Valley Hospital first to implement Guiding Stars

Aug. 11—The 25-bed Sebasticook Valley Hospital in Pittsfield, Maine, is the first hospital to implement the Guiding Stars program.

Guiding Stars is a nutrition guidance program that helps customers make educated dining decisions. The program can be found in 1,500 grocery stores, as well as on K-12 school and college campuses. Under the program, prepared meals, snacks and grab-and-go items in the hospital’s cafeteria are rated according to their nutritional value. Each item is rated on a scale of stars—zero to three, with three being the best nutritional value. The system is designed to provide customers with an at-a-glance nutritional summary.

“We’re looking to make nutritious choices even easier and are thrilled to bring this program to guests and staff in a healthcare facility for the first time,” said John Eldredge, director of brand and business development at Guiding Stars Licensing Company. “In an environment where achieving better health and well-being is so important, Guiding Stars is a natural fit for the hospital’s food service program. We’re committed to having healthy food choices be a part of the broader public health environment.”

 “At SVH, our community’s health is a priority, and Guiding Stars is an opportunity to educate and empower our patients, guests and employees to make more nutritious food choices,” said Victoria Alexander-Lane, president and CEO of Sebasticook Valley Hospital. “Because this program is already familiar to most food shoppers, we are pleased we can offer this easy-to-use guidance program in our hospital. It’s just one more milestone in offering the best possible service for our community.”

The Guiding Starts program rates food items based on the presence of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and whole grains. Trans fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and sodium negatively affect an item’s ranking.