Contact: Thomas Hottman
Sky Lakes Medical Center placed food guidelines for caterers and no longer sells sugar-sweetened beverages as of Monday.
"I think it's a good thing. When they started having the salad bars, that's what I have for lunch about 90 percent of the time. They make it easy to be healthy," Paul Arnold, Sky Lakes engineer, said.
Although the changes are not directly tied to the Blue Zones Project, a Klamath Falls health initiative, the meals follow the Blue Zones Project-approved food guidelines.
The guidelines, based on the Harvard Healthy Plate model of food proportions, state that main meals should have half of the food provided be a fruit or vegetable, one-fourth a source of protein and one-fourth a carbohydrate source. Healthy oils, such as olive and canola oil, are a must and caterers must avoid saturated fats, fried foods and creamy sauces.
Desserts need to be fresh or frozen fruit, not baked goods. Caterers cannot provide sugar-sweetened beverages, and are encouraged to offer vegetarian alternatives.
Any drink in the café or vending machines with added sugar will not be sold. This includes sodas, energy and sport drinks, flavored water, fruit or vegetable drinks with less than 100 percent juice, sweetened coffee, tea, lemonade and punch drinks.
Patients can request soda, and employees and visitors can bring their own beverages.
"We will continue to sell bottled water, seltzer water, sugar-free or diet drinks, milk and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices," an employee-wide email stated Wednesday. "While we respect individual choice, selling sugary drinks at our facilities does not support our commitment to help create a healthier community."