What’s on the Menu? Healthy New Choices at Roswell Park

Studies show that there’s a direct link between our eating habits and our overall health. To give patients a healthy start on the road to recovery, Roswell Park’s Nutrition and Food Service Department has created a Room Service menu that reflects the AICR Recommendations for Cancer Prevention.

One of the 10 recommendations emphasizes the importance of eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes every day. Our menu includes many choices for patients who are well enough to embrace healthy eating and additional options for patients who have difficulty eating while they’re in treatment. Offering a wide selection of foods and beverages — and giving patients the freedom to order their meals at times that work best for them — helps ensure that they will get the calories, protein and nutrients they need to heal and recover.

Under the leadership of Christina Dibble, Director of Nutrition and Food Service, Roswell Park has also teamed up with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) to let people know about the Farm-to-Hospital program. This partnership with the BNMC, local farmers and food vendors brings fresh, local produce to Roswell Park. That’s important because fresher produce contains more nutrients. We continue to explore products that are grown organically or are free of antibiotics or GMOs (genetically modified organisms) as possible additions to the Room Service menu or the cafeteria selections.

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Educating patients and staff about healthy eating is another important goal of the Nutrition and Food Service team. We reinforce that message through the choices we offer on the Room Service menu and in the Sunflower Café, and by encouraging everyone to choose healthy foods and beverages, both here and at home. For example, in March our Clinical Nutrition team came up with weekly tips for healthy eating (which we highlighted in the Sunflower Café), such as trying plain Greek yogurt with fruit instead of sugar-sweetened yogurt, or choosing a garden salad instead of french fries as a side.

The Room Service menu includes a selection of heart-healthy items, and we reinforce the idea of portion control in the way we present the food on the plate. Chef’s Choice options, available three days a week, add variety to the regular menu and give us a chance to find out which dishes patients enjoy most. Along with healthy food choices, we serve festive traditional meals for holidays and other special occasions, and even bake birthday cupcakes to help patients celebrate their special day. We review and update the inpatient Room Service menu continually, and we rely heavily on patient feedback to do that.

The changes underway in our food service operations focus on promoting good health for everyone at Roswell Park. New menu options go hand-in-hand with our efforts to educate patients, visitors and staff about healthy eating concepts, so they can both experience and enjoy healthy eating.

Here’s another way to enjoy healthy farm-to-plate foods:

Visit Roswell Park’s Market in the Park. It’s held in Kaminski Park (just to the left of the hospital entrance) every Wednesday from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. from June-September. (Limited vendors in August.) You’ll find plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as plants and flowers, gift items, and a variety of prepared foods such as salsas and jams.

This article from Roswell Park’s Office of the Patient/Family Experience is based on information provided by Linda Leising, RD, CDN, Senior Clinical Dietitian. Questions or comments? Please call 716-845-8114.