Children's Mercy Chef, Mark Mollentine, has a long history in Kansas City of creating delicious, exciting, award winning foods and sauces that are fan-favorites. He also has a passion for teaching adults and children how to eat healthy. His ground-breaking work at Children's Mercy is putting him on the map internationally for transforming typically fat-ladened, high-sugar, high-calorie cafeteria food into more healthy options. He has five tips for people who want to give it a try.
TIP #1 WATCH WHAT YOU'RE DRINKING
Chef Mollentine took a bold step and removed high-sugar soft drinks and replaced them with diet sodas. He said the high levels of sugar in the soft drinks is not healthy. He also replaced whole milk with 1% milk. He does still offer low-fat strawberry and chocolate milk for kids.
TIP #2 PORTION CONTROL
The Children's Mercy Chef said he does not even have 32oz or 64oz sizes in bottled beverages or cups for fountain drinks. He believes the smaller size beverages are a small step in helping people realize that they are consuming too many calories.
TIP #3 REDUCE UNNECESSARY FATS
He suggested using low-fat salad dressings and putting less fat on foods that are grilled. Children's Mercy is in the process of replacing it's deep-fat fryers with giant convention ovens. Soon, fries will be baked in those ovens. Children's Mercy cafeterias only have baked chips not fried and healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables are packaged in convenient containers for customers in a hurry.
TIP #4 MAKE HEALTHY CHANGES SLOWER
Chef Mollentine suggests starting with 2 or 3 healthy changes in what foods you buy and how you will cook those foods. Then, once you master those changes, add 2 or 3 more additional healthy changes. He believes the slow start will mean a strong finish and create a long-term healthy change.
Finally, TIP #5 TRY SOMETHING NEW
He challenged parents to start their healthy change in the grocery story by trying something healthy they've never tried before. Whether it's a low-calorie, low-fat beverage or a low-calorie low-fat food or a vegetable they've never cooked with or eaten. Chef Mollentine admits that choosing fresh foods over frozen and baked over fried, and diet drinks over sugary sodas is not easy; but he insisted that it's worth it. He encouraged parents to set the example of healthy eating so the parents and their families will have a reduced risk of developing diabetes and heart disease that is often linked to high-sugar high-fat diets. Many hospitals across the U.S. are taking Chef Mollentine's advice and converting their hospital cafeteria food into a healthy menu.
You can learn more about the Weigh-in progrm at Children's Mercy by clicking on this link.