Florida hospital certifies healthier quick-service menu items

Two Panera Bread items, including the Power Chicken Hummus Bowl, were certified by the Healthy 100 program.

Hospitals and national quick-serve chains may seem odd bedfellows, but a new program in Orlando is pairing the two in an effort to promote healthy meals.

The Healthy 100 program from Florida Hospital approves restaurant recipes that are low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar, and high in fiber and whole grains. Chains and independent restaurants submit their lighter, healthier recipes to the hospital’s team of dietitians, who review the dishes and the program guidelines. If the dish meets the eight-point criteria, the restaurant can promote it on the menuboard as a Healthy 100 item.

“If something doesn’t meet the criteria, we let them know what they can do to meet it,” says Sherri Flynt, manager of Florida Hospital’s Center for Nutritional Excellence. “For example, they can reduce the sodium and use a spice or herb to flavor the food. Overall, sodium is still one of the biggest challenges because, when you take fat content out, you lose some flavor.”

Menu items at Central Florida–based Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread restaurants were recently certified by Florida Hospital under the Healthy 100 program.

Chick-fil-A’s grilled chicken nuggets were one of the Healthy 100–approved items. The nuggets, which are 97 percent whole-breast-meat chicken and 3 percent spice, debuted nationwide early last year. They’re one of the reasons the brand’s kids’ meal contains nearly 60 percent fewer calories and 85 percent less fat than most other quick-serve kids’ meals, says Cindy Coffman, Chick-fil-A’s Central Florida area marketing director.

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