University Hospital in Columbia, MO, part of the University of Missouri Health Care system, has opened Essentials, a new healthy dining oriented retail café operation. Located in the hospital’s main lobby, it replaces a 20-year-old cafeteria that had menued mostly traditional fried foods in a buffet serving style at odds with the hospital’s emphasis on healthful eating.
The $350,000 renovation project took out all the fryers in favor of prep equipment that produces items with fewer calories and less fat. Menu choices include whole grain pastas, salads, sandwiches and grilled items made to order or available ready-made from an extensive grab-and-go section. Calorie information will also be posted for each menu item to help customers make informed choices. Essentials will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.