Hudson Hospital & Clinic’ Nutrition Services is paving the way for a new initiative called: Sustainable Nutrition Services. The goal is to collaborate, educate and implement sustainable nutrition practices at the hospital to improve the health of staff, visitors and patients. It’s a work in progress which began about four years ago. In 2010 the hospital board of directors signed the Healthy Food in Health Care Pledge. “The pledge is a commitment to increase offerings of fruits and vegetables, reduce fats and sweetened foods, take steps to encourage current vendors to procure local food, and work directly with local farms,” says Jean Weiler, manager, Nutrition Care, Hudson Hospital & Clinic.
Sustainable Nutrition Services goals:
- Educate staff, patients and community about the importance of good daily nutrition and portion control
- Minimize food waste
- Reduce disposable packaging
- Increase local farm purchases
- Compost on-site
Since 2008, Hudson has implemented many sustainable practices in nutrition. These include: switching to hormone-free dairy products for patients and Café; eliminating bottled water; decreasing percent of meat purchases through portion control and offering meatless options; reducing disposable packaging in Café; collaborating with food vendors to increase local foods; eliminating trans-fats; offering homemade soups with reduced sodium; posting nutrition information on food displays.
Leading the way for the Valley Co-Op, Hudson is sharing best practices and encouraging other hospitals in the family to increase local purchasing. They have also initiated onsite composting of vegetable and fruit scraps and coffee grounds. Nutrition Services is also maintaining an on-site community garden plot for meals prepared in the hospital kitchen.
Weiler is also part of several initiatives and collaborations including the western Wisconsin Food Hub advisory council, the Valley Co-Op, and working with grants through UW-River Falls and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: Connecting Sustainable Farmers to Emerging Health Care Markets, compiling data and research as a model for other organizations.
How is this effort helping patients and the community?
Hudson Hospital’s focus on healthy foods in healthcare offers patients healthier foods to eat on a daily basis and educates them on portion control. Dietitians meet with every inpatient to educate on using myPlate.gov guidelines and why portion sizes are important to overall health.
Forging ahead, Nutrition Services plans to increase composting by 20% and increase the amount of locally grown food purchased to 15%. By increasing the commitment to locally grown food and encouraging people to eat healthy, Hudson Hospital is leading the way to providing Sustainable Nutrition Services – good food, good health.
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