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Healthy Eating Starts at Work: April 8, 2012

When Lee Memorial Health System looked at its own food offerings, they realized it was important to practice what they preach: healthy eating.

“We looked at the requirements for the American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, the different requirements of the American Diabetic Association, what the requirements were, and then we put that into the menu,” says Jeanne Struve, a registered dietician with Lee Memorial Health System.

The system’s cafeterias are now branded ‘Fresh Harvest’ and offer a wide variety of low-cal, high-fiber, low-sodium and low-fat options, aimed at giving employees and visitors wholesome choices.

Fact is, many of us have good intentions but leave them at the doorstep when we go to work. Statistically, we grab one to two meals on the job and they can make or break a healthy diet.

One of the first steps is to kick the super-size habit.

“In this country, the meat portion is like this big dominant part of the plate and actually for health reasons it should be more very small, more like a side dish instead of the main entrĂ©e,” says Struve.

The cafeterias serve not only healthy food but healthy portions. These nutrition-based menus extend all the way to patient rooms.

“This menu would go up with the bedside caregiver that we have that is specifically trained in dietary services. This has an education component that is fairly simplistic and comprehensive that helps them make guiding choices for not only their stay but also their discharge and then their future care down the road,” says Dr. Larry Altier, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Lee Memorial Health System.

A healthy diet is closely linked with leading medical conditions including heart disease and diabetes. So eating healthy at work may be the first step in creating a healthy lifestyle.