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A Familiar Dish Returns to the University Hospital Cafeteria Line

A hospital’s job is to make people healthy. That mission extends to the cafeteria, and now visitors to University Hospital’s cafeteria will soon have a wider selection of healthy meals to choose from.

On March 9, in time for National Nutrition Month, University Hospital’s cafeteria will relaunch its participation in the San Antonio-area ¡Por Vida! campaign, aimed at promoting healthier food choices in area food establishments. Menu items that carry the ¡Por Vida! labeling must follow strict nutritional guidelines.

University Health System was an early partner in ¡Por Vida!, which was created in 2009 by the Healthy Restaurants Coalition, a partnership of the San Antonio Restaurant Association, the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District and the South Texas Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

University Hospital’s cafeteria never abandoned its commitment to healthy eating choices. Sodexo, its food service vendor, introduced Mindful, a program that identifies healthier selections on the menu. Mindful selections also meet strict nutritional guidelines, and post the nutritional contents for diners to see.

But recognizing that many in the community are more familiar with ¡Por Vida!, University Hospital is bringing back the program so people can find those items alongside Mindful selections and other fare.

“We have responsibility as a hospital to give people those healthy choices, to make them more prominent,” said Yogesh Mirkhelker, director of nutrition services at University Health System.

“We’re thrilled to have University Health System supporting the ¡Por Vida! program,” said Anna Macnak, chronic disease prevention dietitian at Metro Health. “This will give their customers another way to identify healthy options on the menu.”

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