Henry Ford Health Serves Up Leaner, Healthier Food


DETROIT — Henry Ford has transformed the way it prepares food for its thousands of employees, patients and guests who work, receive medical care and visit Henry Ford, Henry Ford Macomb, Henry Ford West Bloomfield and Henry Ford Wyandotte hospitals.

Using a culinary wellness model first established at Henry Ford West Bloomfield, Henry Ford duplicated the prototype at its other hospitals by eliminating deep fryers and fry shortening, and serving leaner meats. While this not only removed excessive fat and calories from food, it saved money. Removing fry shortening alone has saved more than $28,000.

Food selections are prepared healthier, without compromising taste and nutrition, and patient meals are tailored to medical conditions. Hospitalized patients place meal orders from their room, enabling them to choose from a selection of entrees. While convenient for patients, the enhancement has reduced food waste as patients are eating what they want at no additional cost to the hospital or themselves.

Additionally, Henry Ford is using fresh produce and other food products from local merchants. At least 85 percent of the milk purchased is from Michigan dairy companies. Henry Ford West Bloomfield recently opened a greenhouse that is growing a variety of produce for its own meal preparation, and plans are in the works to deliver the produce to other parts of the health system.

“These improvements have been received very positively by our employees and patients,” says John Miller, director of Culinary Wellness.

Bethany Thayer, R.D., director of Henry Ford’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, says the health system’s wellness initiative aims to create a culture that nurtures a healthy environment for employees, patients and the community.

“Providing healthier food options in our cafeterias is just one example of how we’re working to achieve that mission,” Thayer says.

For more information on Henry Ford’s wellness programs, visit www.henryfordlivewell.com