St. Charles says farewell to trans fat
Mar 16,2007 00:00 by Bend_Weekly_News_Sources

Hospital cafeterias support healthy eating with new initiatives

Patients, visitors and caregivers have been eating a little healthier recently at St. Charles— and they probably didn’t even know it.

“We’ve been working toward reducing Trans Fat in our food for about three months now,” explained David Tankersley, executive chef at St. Charles Bend. “We’ve been doing a lot of research and making adjustments in our recipes.”

Trans Fats — also known as Trans Fatty Acids — most often result from partial hydrogenation of plant oils. Unlike naturally occurring fats, they’re neither required nor beneficial to health.  Consuming them increases the risk of coronary heart disease, which is why health authorities worldwide recommend that people consume only trace amounts of them.

Fortunately for patients, visitors and caregivers at St. Charles, the Food Services team is working to cut back on Trans Fats. Homemade baked goods like cookies, scones, and muffins served in the deli downstairs at St. Charles Bend are now made with butter, rather than shortening, to eliminate Trans Fat from the products. In the main cafeteria upstairs at St. Charles Bend, most of the homemade baked goods are made without Trans Fat. The cooking oil used for French fries and other deep-fried items is also Trans Fat free.

“We’re in the process of making the transition here in Redmond,” added Benjy Brown, Culinary Services Supervisor in Redmond. “It really is the right thing to do. Being part of a healthcare system, it makes sense for us to take the lead and offer healthier choices.”

In addition, the Food Services teams at both hospitals have been working to serve more organic produce and hormone-free meat products that are produced locally.

“Our mission at St. Charles is to improve the health of those we serve in a spirit of love and compassion,” explained Mark Petersen, director of hospitality services. “We’re really working to support that mission with all of the foods we serve.”