Rooftop gardens, Meatless Mondays earn hospitals kudos for healthful food choices

Aspen Valley Hospital in Aspen, Colorado, and Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, New York, ranked highest among 24 U.S. hospitals for offering patients healthy meals. The rankings come from the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which surveyed 262 hospitals to come up with its rankings.

Stony Brook grows organic vegetables and herbs for patient meals in a rooftop organic garden, according to an announcement from the Physicians Committee. The Aspen hospital sponsors Meatless Mondays and healthful entrees daily.

The hospitals were ranked on whether they offered healthful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cholesterol-free entrees and soy milk. They earned points for Meatless Mondays, gardens and farmer's markets.

The group also deduced points from hospitals that contract with fast-food restaurants. It ranked the University of Mississippi Medical Center and its Batson Children's Hospital at the bottom, citing a contract with Chick-fil-A that asks the hospital to work to increase sales at the franchise.

Hospitals as a group are working to offer healthier food choices; more than 400 have joined the Partnership for Healthier America. Among their pledges: eliminate deep-fat fryers and offering more fruits and vegetables.

Hospitals also are bringing on chefs to devise tasty, healthful grilled main courses, salad bars and smaller desserts while cutting salt, fat and refined carbohydrates, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the announcement