Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Creating the Healthiest of Food Service Environments


In 2014, the HSC Cafeteria of WVU Medicine was chosen by the Food Service Director Magazine to represent the "Healthy 15". These 15 operations, chosen across all market segments, were designated to be "at the forefront of creating a healthy food service environment."

Our mission was to entice customers to choose healthy foods through customer service, the environment and the menu. Attentive and friendly service, attractive and sanitary environment and made from scratch recipes made from whole foods evolved over a 20 year span. 

A content, productive staff was a must; equipment upgrades, sanitation and marketing routine; an evolving menu developed with over time to include the latest in science based recommendations.   


Nutrition labels were posted at point of service for all items.  The labels also included the ingredients.On-line menus were linked to the nutrition labels for each item.

A good portion of the food was sourced locally, with whole grain salads, sides, breads and desserts offered as the norm.

The daily lunch feature, comprised of a nutrient dense foods with 500 calorie and less than 600 milligrams of sodium was matched with a 400 calorie, 20 grams of high quality protein breakfast.


Turkey (for hot and cold items) and roast beef was baked on site with unseasoned raw meats to control the sodium.

Most of the desserts contained less than 12 grams of added sugar per portion.

Healthy and wellness items were the norm on the menu, not featured at specific stations but throughout the operation.

The "Healthy Cafe" community service extended to the local farmers market. The Health Fair exhibits contained the signature recipes with colorful photos of the foods made in the cafe.

This recipe for our Flax Muffins was published in The Amazing Flax Cookbook in 2004:

Flax Muffins 

(Makes 18)

Mix flours, flax, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 cup oat bran
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Stir in carrots, pineapple and raisins.
1 1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained
1/2 cup raisins
Combine eggs, milk, lemon juice, applesauce and vanilla in a separate container.
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon egg
2 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Add liquids to dry ingredients, stir until moist (batter will be lumpy).
Coat muffin tin with non-stick spray. Pour batter in tins.
Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes.
I retired in 2015. The Healthy Cafe was closed in the later part of the decade in a public-private partnership agreement which promised an upgraded dining room. The partnership failed.


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