Wake Forest Baptist Makes Healthy Eating Easier at New Hospital Cafeteria, One of the First of Its Kind in the State

August 18, 2015

When Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center facilities managers decided to renovate the hospital cafeteria, they didn’t stop at new chairs, tables and an open floor plan. They also revamped the menu to be one of the first medical facility cafeterias in the state offering an overwhelming percentage of “mindful” options that make it easier to make healthy choices.

After a 12-week renovation, Ardmore Cafeteria will reopen as Fresh Inspiration Café on August 20 with its new look and healthier menu options. 

“Our mission is to cure and care for our patients and their families,” said Jamy Ard, M.D., co-director, Weight Management Center and associate professor of epidemiology and prevention at Wake Forest Baptist. “Offering our campus community, patients and visitors food choices that are part of a healthy lifestyle is a tangible reflection of our mission.”

Color-coded food pans, ladles and tongs will help identify available options. The healthiest choices will be assigned green and the remaining less healthy options will be distinguished by red. Signs accompanying the food will list nutritional details such as calorie, fat, sugar and sodium counts. Chefs will focus on fresh ingredients, sourced locally when possible, and on healthy cooking techniques. Each food station will include at least one mindful option to choose from.

The emphasis on going “green” won’t stop once the food leaves the kitchen. All items at Fresh Inspiration Café will be served on compostable and recyclable materials.

Healthy selections will comprise 70 percent of the food and beverages available, with prices and portions set accordingly to encourage a mindful selection.

Ard advised on the 70/30 plan for all food services operated by the Medical Center to ensure that the majority of options would meet healthy guidelines for calorie, fat, sugar and sodium counts.

“At Fresh Inspirations, you’ll see a variety of “mindful options” that make it easy to make healthy choices,” said Ard. “There will still be a variety of traditional fare choices available at Medical Center-operated food services, but choosing the healthier selections will deliver greater value in terms of nutrition and cost at appropriate portion sizes.”

For example, choosing a flavored water, tea or diet beverage will cost less than an equivalent portion of a sugary soda.

The 70/30 plan includes the contents of vending machines at Wake Forest Baptist, Davie and Lexington Medical Centers, as well as food selections available in gift shops. The vending machine changes will be completed by early September.

Media Relations

Shannon Putnam: news@wakehealth.edu, 336-713-4587