Health Team

Rex cafeteria going fried-free

Posted February 2, 2012

— 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 nixes fried food in hospital cafeteria Rex nixes fried food in hospital cafeteria

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. 


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  • THE OLD - THE NEW Feb 9, 2012

    Blame is put on the fried food instead of where it should be. Obese, heart etc, why not try a little exercise with more than the hand from plate to mouth.

  • whatmeworry Feb 9, 2012

    Bad business for the hospital. Angioplasty and CABG cases are going to plumit.

  • CancerChick Feb 6, 2012

    Good for Rex! It's the right thing to do.

    Their food is very good. There are already a lot of healthy options on the patients' menu, which are very tasty, so if thinking is extended to the cafeteria nobody should miss the fryer.

  • NC Reader Feb 6, 2012

    maybelle -- I have long lifespans in my family, too. Most of the 90+ year olds were people who farmed. So, they got far more exercise each day than most people get in a week. They ate food with no preservatives (the farmers grew their own food). They also didn't breathe air polluted from industrial pollutants and cigarette smoke. Finally, only the most fit survived childhood anyway, so those people were bound to be pretty resilient.

  • grimreaper Feb 6, 2012

    "Our goal is to make you forget all about french fries by trying our potato wedges,"

    What a joke...potato wedges are edible for about 5 minutes after coming out of the oven then they taste like dung with zero texture and they are ALL coated in oil anyhow by the manufacturer to brown this is just idiotic thinking by people who know nothing...

    Go read the twinkie diet for some enlightenment...the guy was eating "healthy" like whole grains etc and was unhealthier (cholesterol, weight, etc typically established measurments) than he was after 6 weeks of eating almost entirely junk food...has nothing to do with fried and everything to do with simply not eating more calories than you are burning in a given day...for the majority it is as simple as that to be "measured" as healthier...

  • westernwake1 Feb 3, 2012

    Who would have thought that hospital food could go further downhill.

  • ashewing Feb 3, 2012

    It's about time!!! And yes - its directly related to money and the same program providing "nutritional services" to the schools where french fries are considered a vegetable.

    maybelle - you are correct, she was using actual lard - animal fat from healthy animals that were more than likely grass fed (not corn fed) and weren't science projects being injected daily with growth hormones. They were probably their own animals they took care of every day. She probably also consumed lots of vegetables along with much activity. What's being used today is different. Crisco (solid transfat/partially hydrogenated oil) & all other oils used today (except oils like olive and coconut, sunflower, etc) are full of transfat as are anything you buy in a box! All of this processed food is what's killing us. Along with high fructose corn syrup. These things weren't even discovered yet. We can't compare our diet today to theirs. No pun intended - but it's like comparing apples to oranges.

  • maybelle Feb 3, 2012

    My grandmother died at 103 years old and ate fried food from real lard every day.
    Maybe its life style and alcohol doing people in ever think of that.

  • TeenDAD Feb 3, 2012

    i won't be eating there on fridays. there's always burger king with their new fries and a double cheeseburger.
    February 3, 2012 8:39 a.m.

    And Rex will have a room waiting for you a few years down the road ;)

  • CestLaVie Feb 3, 2012

    Well duh! What took you so long? On the dole from USDA like the schools?