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New Menu: Hospital Room Service: March 18, 2012

It’s not your grandma’s grub. Patients at Lee Memorial Health System hospitals will find their in-room food offerings mirror what they’d see in a hotel service menu.

“All of the individuals that come into the hospital are our guests and we try to treat them as much as we can like a hotel guest, understanding that they have a severe medical condition,” says Larry Altier, Director of Food and Nutrition for Lee Memorial Health System.

Two new menus, available in English and Spanish, target the dietary concerns of common patient health conditions.

“They’re people with a condition that is related to their heart and they have some limits related specifically in their sodium and fat content and then you have your diabetics that certainly have limits to the amount of carbohydrates that they can have,” says Altier.

Cooked up with the help of cardiac and diabetic experts, the final menus also took into account patient feedback.

“Well, chicken was their number one choice for a hot meal. They didn’t want as much pork they didn’t want as much beef,” says Deana Brill, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for HealthPark.

Patients also wanted more sweets and they got them, healthy ones.

“We had a lot of fruit you know like a sponge cake or something like that. Now we’ve got sugar free ice cream, sherbet, different things like that,” says Brill.

All these menus have been taste tested and approved, showing people they can meet their health requirements and satisfy their appetites.

“Most of the time people think when they have some sort of chronic disease all they focus on is what they can’t have and they forget about all that’s out there that they can have,” says Jeanne Struve, a registered dietician with Lee Memorial Health System.

Offering smart choices may give patients a taste for better eating. Something they can take with them when they leave the hospital.