Noble Snack Bar
8.27.14| WESTFIELD| Photo by Manon L. Mirabelli| Dakota Linblad, a server in the Noble Hospital cafeteria, dishes out some humms and vegetables from the weekly snack bar special for Registered Nurse Karen Russell, center, who is flanked by Chef Christopher Smith to her left and Registered Dietician Allison Mitchell to her right.
(Manon L. Mirabelli)
WESTFIELD – Noble Hospital is giving its employees a new kind of sugar rush to battle the mid-afternoon doldrums with a snack bar that provides alternatives to soda and candy machines.
Chef Christopher Smith, in collaboration with Morrison Health Care and Partnership for a Healthy America, has launched a weekly snack bar featuring fun and healthy food items that change each week.
The snack bar debuted in the hospital cafeteria this summer with warm cookies and milk and is quickly becoming the popular go-to spot for staff to satisfy cravings and give a boost of energy. Every Wednesday from 2 until 4 p.m. employees can find a tasty new offering.
At first, Smith said, the new service got off to a slow start, but the staff quickly learned of the snack bar and has responded favorably while at the same time discovering the overall healthy changes that are shaping the hospital cafeteria.
“We’ve had a good response to the healthy changes,” he said. “It’s bringing more foot traffic through the cafeteria, and now people are noticing the grill and fresh salads and fruit.”
Smith added that staff members are gravitating more to the healthy snacks than heavier ones and noted that the brownie indulgence snack bar was not nearly as well received as the chocolate fondue served with freshly cut pineapple, strawberries, blueberries and cucumber slices.
August’s snack bar also featured warm pretzels, popcorn, homemade trail mix and hummus accompanied with baby carrots or tortilla chips. Snacks can also be bundled with an apple and a bottle of water for just $2.99, and punch cards are available that entitle card holders to a free 10th snack after buying nine.
“The make-your-own trail mix snack bar was a lot of fun,” Smith said.
He also said that because September is apple month, one of the snack bar items will include homemade apple crisp.
Registered dietician Allison Mitchell, who works with Smith in developing meal strategies for the cafeteria as well as hospital patients, said the snack bar is just the beginning of healthy changes under way on the Noble Hospital menu.
“We’re coming up with interesting dishes that are healthy and delicious,” she said. “We use all fresh vegetables and herbs. The goal is to do everything fresh.”
“We are a health-care organization,” Mitchell added. “We have to set a good example.”
In fact, Smith said the cafeteria kitchen no longer houses a deep fryer and now bakes most items, including French fries.
“Baking is so much healthier,” he said.
Registered nurse Karen Russell stopped at the snack bar at about 3 p.m. on hummus day and said the new feature is perfect for her.
“I’m a late lunch person, and it’s nice that the cafeteria is still open later in the day,” she said. “The food is made fresh here and is good quality.”