January 22, 2014

Dan Foster, corporate chefHospital food used to leave a bad taste in some patients' mouths. One reason hospital food doesn't taste like the food you make at home is that food prepared at home usually has more salt and fat-based seasonings.

CAMC is trying to reduce sodium- and fat-laden foods with savory substitutes, and stimulate the local economy at the same time.

A proper diet is essential to the healing process. The hospital started by replacing salts with herbs. This change maintains the flavoring, but in a healthier way.

"CAMC treats some of the sickest patients in West Virginia who have grown up with a certain lifestyle when it comes to preparing food," said Mike Marinaro, general manager for nutrition and food services. "We're offering healthier choices but not giving up the taste patients are used to."

CAMC is working to implement a value-chain food system incorporating local growers to provide fresh herbs for CAMC.

This idea was developed through work with the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and the Ford Foundation, which focused participants on ways to stimulate rural Appalachian economies. CAMC is the first hospital in the nation to work with the Ford Foundation on value chains.

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