FORT BLISS, TX, UNITED STATES
Story by Amabilia Payen
Fort Bliss, TEXAS – Nutrition Care Division leaders with William Beaumont Army Medical Center visited the U.S. Foods facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to meet with business partners and conduct a quarterly business review. A food demonstration held during the March 6-7 visit educated leaders into implementing exciting new ideas.
The WBAMC NCD successfully maintains a working business relationship with U.S. Foods to provide patients and their family members, staff, active duty service members and visitors, healthy and nutritious foods for recovery and nourishment.
“We saw how they process our orders and how they store our food,” said Lt. Col. Debra Hernandez, chief of nutrition care, WBAMC. “It was really an eye-opener.”
Dining facilities are now looking towards sustainability options to help the environment, and the visit allowed the team to look at compostable and biodegradable paper goods for customers to carry their food purchases in, said Hernandez.
Felipe Ornelas, supervisory dietitian, WBAMC, felt the trip was truly beneficial as he and his coworkers met with the U.S. Foods staff, which included the president of the Rocky Mountain area, the national accounts manager and executive, the company’s transportation manager, warehouse manager, and culinary chefs. Meeting them gave Ornelas insight on what to incorporate in the menu for the hospital’s dining facility and cost saving items.
In April, the normal three-week cycle menu currently in use will change to a two-week cycle, with new items on the menu. A new breakfast Fitness Bar will include new fresh fruits such as organic mangoes. New leafy greens will include organic baby spinach and wild arugula that will be added to the salad bar. A new breakfast item is all natural turkey sausage patties raised without antibiotics. All natural ground turkey will also be used for other meals and recipes.
Every quarter, new items will be part of the anticipated menu, however, the NCD wanted to announce that they will also be bringing back the chicken wings bar. The chicken wings will be all natural and oven roasted. A new fire-grilled chicken breast will also be used. The chickens have been farm raised without antibiotics.
“We are also making an effort to educate our customers on what they are eating,” said Ornelas. “We are going to do more advertising and have posters and signs made so customers can see what the nutritional value is.”
Global statistical trends state that 57 percent of consumers are trying to eat more plant protein, and 90 percent are more likely to eat items described as “fresh”, and 60 percent of consumers like things that are organic, GMO-free, functional and sustainable. Hernandez obtained these statistics from a webinar conducted by U.S. Foods.
“The webinar was perfect timing,” said Hernandez, “It’s interesting to see how food trends are changing and we can use this information to implement in our daily operations, so that patients and customers can choose healthier options and we can help the environment.”
Since it’s National Nutrition Month, the WBAMC NCD wanted the public to know of their Health Fair scheduled from noon to 2 p.m., March 26 in the dining facility. Visitors can participate in body measurements/body fat analysis, assistance with TRICARE Online registration, one-on-one health counseling with registered dietitians, supplemental safety, and food demonstrations. This is all in an effort to promote healthy habits and nutritional readiness for Soldiers.