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Healthy food options are menu staples at Upstate

Health food options at Upstate

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- Morrison Food and Nutrition Services at Upstate Medical University has made changes to its menu and has expanded its healthy food options at Upstate’s dining centers located in the C.A.B., the cafeterias at Upstate’s Downtown and Community Campuses and in Weiskotten Hall.

“Upstate is a leader in offering food service programs that support healthier food options in the workplace as well as healthier menu options for our patients,” said Upstate University Hospital Administrator Joyce Mackessy. “These latest retail changes and the new menu options offer those who visit our dining centers support on their pathway to wellness.”

According to Todd Engelhart, system director of Morrison Food and Nutrition Services, the changes include reducing the number of sugar-related beverages and offering healthier options such as 1 percent or fat free milk, bottled water, low-calorie flavored water and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices. “We also switched to whole grain or legume-based pasta and we are offering whole grains as an alternative to white rice and reducing sodium and caloric intake in our menu choices.”

Engelhart also says that packaged snacks that meet the “FIT” criteria (lower in fat and sugar), such as granola/energy bars, plain nuts, plain dried fruit, 100-calorie snacks and hummus, are available at each register. “Our snacks have less than 250 calories, 10 grams of fat, three grams of saturated fat, no trans fats, less than 20 grams of sugars and less than 230 mg of sodium,” he said.

The healthy items are identified with special “healthy option” signage in the retail areas. Within the next few weeks iPad kiosks will become available so people can plan their meals for the day on Upstate’s Healthy Foods website. Individuals are invited to access the website, by visiting Morrison. The site allows visitors to plan their own healthy menu choices, and get links to wellness tools to assess their BMI and caloric needs, as well as links to MyFitnessPal and 411Fit databases for nutrition information and fitness tracking.

“We feel we have a responsibility to help change people’s lives through healthier food options,” said Engelhart. “Our new refresh, new menu, and wellness marketing will go a long way towards reaching that goal at Upstate.”

Caption: Upstate University Hospital Administrator Joyce Mackessy, left, and Todd Engelhart, system director of Morrison Food and Nutrition Services, sample the healthy options available at Upstate’s dining centers.