Rex cafeteria going fried-free
Posted February 2, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Hospitals have already gone smoke free. Now one in Raleigh is going fried-free. As in fried foods.
In two months, modern turbo convection ovens will replace friers in the cafeteria at Rex Hospital, allowing chefs to offer healthier options for both patients and family who have extended stays in the hospital.
More than a year ago, Rex Hospital stopped sending fried foods to patient rooms. Visitors and staff could still find them in the Courtyard Cafe.
They found them enough for the hospital to sell 17 tons of french fries in 2011.
Chef Jim McGrody is moving toward making the cafeteria a no-fried zone every Friday, starting this month.
"Our goal is to make you forget all about french fries by trying our potato wedges," McGrody said referring to their Thai Chili wedge with garlic and cilantro.
Rex is the first hospital in the state and the south to take fried foods off the menu, and the first one in the South.
With one third of Americans being obese and the risks for heart disease, strokes, diabetes and hypertension going up, the hospital sees it as a chance to promote healthy eating in a healthcare setting.
"When you have that much fried food around, and people are getting it every single day, it takes a toll on your health," Rex registered dietitian Shelly Wegman said.
Some customers may miss the fries, but the hospital will try to continue offering tasty options as well.
"I won't miss fried foods one bit, because I try to eat healthy and you know we're trying to be conscious of heart health, especially in the Carolinas, that is a big killer for women too," Rex employee Christine Zone said.
The new Rex Hospital menu will also include more grilled proteins. The hospital plans to offer salmon with lime and ginger glaze and fennel-dusted grilled shrimp with grits.