Fort Myers Florida Weekly

Inspiring health: Lee Health is the first health system in the U.S. to offer heart-check certified meals



Lee Health’s vision is to inspire hope and be a national leader for the advancement of health and healing. Every decision, process and operation aims to fulfill this vision, and it serves as a guide in everything we do.

Our Food & Nutrition Services department has been working to create menu items that meet specific nutritional requirements to earn the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check certification. We are very excited to announce that seven menu items passed the test, and with this development, Lee Health became the first health system in the United States to offer menu items that are Heart-Check certified. We are proud to lead the way for other health systems to pursue incorporating Heart- Check certified meals for their patients, visitors and staff.

The Heart-Check certification means that the recipe satisfies the American Heart Association’s nutritional requirements for calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and beneficial nutrients. Lee Health’s Larry Altier, System Director of Food & Nutrition Services, Heather Wayco, Director of Clinical Nutrition, and their team, have worked to develop, test and tweak the recipes to meet the heart-smart guidelines.

It is our hope and thought that offering these menu items to patients, visitors and staff will inspire heart-healthy choices. It should, as a 2014 research study published in the American Journal of Clinic Nutrition showed, individuals who reported eating foods meeting the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check certification requirements were more likely to eat healthier and have fewer heart disease risk factors.

Larry, Heather and their team’s diligence have paid off in many ways. In addition to establishing our health system as a national leader, they also created varied menu items that provide the nourishment our patients need to heal and cafe options that inspire healthier choices for our visitors and staff. As caring people, inspiring health, we hope you will seek out and try each of the seven Heart-Check certified menu items and consider incorporating them into your food choices at home.

The Heart-Check Certified meals include:

Breakfast Meals

Farmers Breakfast – Egg white omelet with veggies, grits, blueberry banana muffin, melon cup

On the Light Side – Fresh fruit plate, fat-free yogurt, oat bran fruit muffin

Red, White & Blue Waffles – Whole grain waffle with fat-free vanilla yogurt topped with strawberries, blueberries and bananas

From the Garden – Cinnamon-scented breakfast quinoa bowl

Lunch & Dinner Meals

Sea & Land – Grilled salmon over bed of fresh, organic spinach with quinoa and lemon vinaigrette and Mandarin oranges

Italian Fare – Pasta with meat sauce served with an organic spring mix salad and apple slices

Black Bean Burger – Black bean burger patty served with cabbage slaw, salsa and pineapple.

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