Information about healthy foods and proper portion sizes is being communicated to inpatients at five Wellmont Health System hospitals in Tennessee in a very direct way: on the liners covering their meal service trays.
The idea was the brainchild of Carol Carter, an RD and certified diabetes educator for the Wellmont Diabetes Treatment Centers, and Cindy Stidham, executive director of patient care services at Mountain View Regional Medical Center and Lonesome Pine Hospital, two of the sites using the program. The others participating are Holston Valley Medical Center, Bristol Regional Medical Center and Hawkins County Memorial Hospital.
The tray liners use the MyPlate graphic concept that illustrates federal nutritional guidelines through a pictorial representation of a plate divided into sections representing how much emphasis to put on different meal components in order to maintain a healthy diet. It recommends half of the plate be filled with nonstarchy vegetables, one quarter with proteins and one quarter with grains and starchy vegetables. Fruit, low-fat or skim dairy products and low-calorie beverages like water, coffee and unsweetened tea are also encouraged, individual patient diet restrictions permitting.
The initiative supports the healthcare system’s three-year-old Wellmont LiveWell initiative designed to encourage beneficial habits such as regular exercise, a healthy diet and the maintenance of proper blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels in the people who live in the communities the hospitals serve.
Among the partners supporting Wellmont LiveWell is Wellmont’s dining services provider, Sodexo, which has deployed its Mindful wellness program in system hospitals. Retail cafeterias in Wellmont hospitals now offer Mindful dining options that balance nutrition with flavor, reinforced by healthy lifestyle promotions from table messages, information cards, trifold pamphlets and laminated foam boards on walls.
“This is an outstanding project to guide our patients and the community about ways they can enjoy a fulfilling meal that also enhances their health,” says Wellmont COO Eric Deaton in a news release. “Sometimes, people don’t give a lot of thought about the food they eat until they experience a health issue or recognize they need to lose weight. Through this project, people have an opportunity to consider the optimal foods to include in their diet.”
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]