When you think of the food served at a hospital cafeteria, you may picture highly processed and packaged foods suitable for a quick meal.
But Sharp Coronado Hospital understands that when it comes to your health, food can be the most important and influential factor. That’s why the hospital offers a range of food options at its Mindful Cafe, from “grab-and-go” sandwiches and salads to freshly made entrees featuring locally sourced meats and produce.
“Food is medicine, and a healthy diet is one of the best ways to heal chronic conditions and stay out of the hospital,” says Barbara Bauer, clinical nutritionist at Sharp Coronado.
The hospital sources its food from local, sustainable providers and even grows some of their produce on-site in their certified organic garden. The garden is also used as an educational tool.
“We host classes once a month for the community to learn about how they can start their own gardens. It’s part of our commitment to the community,” says Christopher Walker, chief nursing officer and chief operating officer. “We’re trying to inspire healthy eating; it’s not just the right thing to do, but our responsibility to those we serve.”
Executive chef Greg Young says that having a garden on the premises allows him to provide a symphony of flavor by adding the freshest produce to dishes served at the hospital’s Mindful Café.
“Cooking is a process like creating music,” he says. “As you get more and more into that process, I realize the different things I can add to add layers of complexity. That’s what comes out on the plate.”
Learn more about Sharp Coronado’s organic garden by watching the video above.
Update: Chef Greg Young currently oversees meal services at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns, Sharp Memorial Hospital and Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital. See recipes from Chef Greg on Sharp Health News.
This story was updated in May 2017.