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Rex Healthcare to Become First Hospital in North Carolina to Go ‘Fry Free’

Chefs will Introduce Healthier Items and Mark Heart Month with 'Fryerless Fridays' in February

February 1, 2012

Contact: Alan M. Wolf
(919) 784-4467

RALEIGH, N.C. - Rex Healthcare is preparing to become a no-fry zone. During the next few months the hospital will remove all fried foods from its menus, emphasizing Rex's focus on making healthy choices.

Rex's Black Hat Chefs eliminated fried foods from patient menus more than a year ago. But Rex still sold 17 tons of french fries last year and used 4,666 gallons of oil in its Courtyard Café and Korner Café. Removing all fried food will save money, and offer healthier options for the thousands of patients, visitors, physicians and other coworkers who eat at the hospital every day.

"This bold step is another way Rex is promoting healthy choices and continues to make Rex a model for other hospitals to follow," said Jim McGrody, Rex's director of Culinary and Nutrition Services. McGrody is also the author of "What We Feed Our Patients," which explores ways to improve hospital food.

In early April, Rex will rip out its fryers and install modern convection ovens to produce crisp, tasty products without adding oil or fat, including gourmet baked potato wedges.

Rex is the first hospital in the state to go completely fryerless, and one of the first in the South, according to N.C. Prevention Partners, a nonprofit that encourages hospitals to provide a healthy food environment with its Red Apple recognition. "Rex has already proven itself a true wellness innovator in providing delicious and healthy food for patients and staff, and making the decision to serve no fried foods is truly a transformational shift in support of a healthy food environment," said N.C. Prevention Partners president Meg Molloy.

To introduce new, healthy menu choices, and to recognize American Heart Month in February, Rex chefs will hold "Fryerless Fridays" starting on Feb. 3. The chefs will preview items such as grilled salmon with lime-and-ginger glaze, chipotle-peach BBQ pork chop and fennel-dusted grilled shrimp and grits. The gourmet potato wedges will come in a variety of flavors, including a Thai Chili wedge with garlic and cilantro, and a Dill Pickle wedge with sea salt, fresh dill and malt vinegar. The wedges can also be seasoned with a selection of spice blends.

"We owe it to our patients, visitors and coworkers to make the healthy choice the easy choice," said Ashley Honeycutt, a registered  dietitian with Rex Wellness Centers. "We know that poor eating habits lead to increased risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, stroke and some cancers. These diet-related diseases are costing individuals, employers and health-care systems billions of dollars. We hope that by retiring our fryers and offering healthier alternatives, we will set an example in the community and inspire other local employers to follow suit and adopt healthier food environments."

For more information on Rex's Culinary and Nutrition Services, visit rexhealth.com/food-services.

Media Opportunity:

What:  Rex chefs will kick-off "Fryerless Fridays" on Feb. 3 by previewing some of the new menu items, including gourmet potato wedges. Be one of the first to try samples.
When:   10:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 3
Where:   Rex Healthcare's Courtyard Café.
NOTE:  Members of the media will need to be escorted to the hospital's main café. Please RSVP to Alan Wolf, alan.wolf@rexhealth.com or (919) 784-4467. Free parking.