Mercy offers healthy foods


In a response to ease patient readmissions, Mercy Medical Center – Sioux City has launched Healthy Variety, a line of frozen meals developed by Mercy dietitians and hand-crafted in the Mercy – Sioux City kitchen.

The idea for the healthy meals was in response to concerns about patients with congestive heart issues being readmitted to the hospital, reported Kristie Jacobsen, the regional manager of clinical nutrition and wellness from Trinity Health, the healthcare system of which Mercy – Sioux City is a part.

“As a way to reduce those readmissions, Ryan Osterberger, who was then the director of nutrition services at Mercy – Dubuque, and his team, developed Healthy Variety in 2014,” she said.

The meals are heart-healthy, low in sodium and diabetic-friendly. They offer an easy meal solution for anyone with congestive heart failure, diabetes or heart disease, those following a weight reduction plan, or anyone who simply wants a convenient and healthy option, Jacobsen explained.

“When creating the recipes, Mercy’s dietitians carefully tailored the sodium, carbohydrate and saturated fat content to ensure the meal is appropriate for a variety of dietary needs and is balanced for good nutrition,” she said. “The meals stand alone in being developed and approved by dietitians.”

Although one of the goals of Healthy Variety is to reduce hospital readmissions, another is to offer a healthy option not provided by some retail frozen entrees, pointed out Mercy Clinical Dietitian Coordinator Stephanie Small.

“Patients with congestive heart failure, for example, need to follow a low-sodium diet. Having too much salt could cause them to be re-admitted and most frozen meals at the grocery store are loaded with salt,” she said. “Healthy Variety meals offer an easy, well-balanced and accurate option.”

Small elaborated that the meals are “carefully-tailored” to address the sodium, carbohydrate and saturated fat content.

“That ensures the meal is appropriate for a variety of dietary needs and is balanced for good nutrition,” she said.

To ensure the meals were tasty and appealing, Mercy dietitians worked in conjunction with hospital staff, Jacobsen noted.

“The dietitians who developed the original meals worked with Mercy chefs, including Executive Chef Tracey Badar (also director of Mercy’s nutritional care services), who was a former chef at the Marina Inn in South Sioux City,” she said. “Any new meals created for Healthy Variety will be a collaboration between Trinity Health chefs and clinical dietitians.”

Healthy Variety meals are just $4.75 to $5.50 and are available for purchase in the Mercy – Sioux City cafeteria.

Varieties include: beef stroganoff, cheese ravioli, chicken breast deluxe, cilantro lime chicken, citrus peppercorn tilapia, French toast, meatloaf, penne pasta, roast beef, roast pork shoulder, roast turkey and salmon bruschetta.

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