After two years of work, Lee Health is now the first hospital in the country working with the American Heart Association to offer patients better nutrition for their heart.
Heather Wayco, a director of clinical nutrition with Lee Health, says heart disease is the number one killer among men and women, and it can start with what you’re eating. “We will be the first healthcare system to have heart check certified menu items on our patient menu as well as the café menu.”
The joint effort will provide patients, guests, and staff, heart healthy menu options. “We believe that food is medicine and that it can help improve patient’s outcomes and health status,” said Wayco.
The new heart healthy options on the menu will be labeled with a heart certified symbol. In order to meet the American Heart Association’s criteria, foods must have a limited amount of calories, fat, sodium, and cholesterol. “They are food items that we eat every day. We were able to make them healthier for the patients. For example we have four breakfast items, one being a fresh fruit plate with yogurt, egg white omelet with vegetables and grits and some other items on the side,” said Wayco.
Patients and guests will also have heart healthy lunch and dinner choices, including spinach salad with salmon, mandarin oranges, and quinoa. “We want the patient to have good meals and things they are going to enjoy, but also foods that will improve their health overall,” said Wayco.
Food options, health experts hope the patient will enjoy and continue to use when they leave the hospital. “By eating healthy you can improve your lifestyle overall and live a longer healthier life,” said Wayco.
The goal is to educate patients on heart healthy options in hopes of preventing heart disease and improving the community’s health.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.