Balanced Menus is a two-tiered approach for hospitals to reduce their meat and poultry purchases, and invest their cost savings in sustainable meat options.
The reasons for implementing Balanced Menus are profound and compelling:
- Most hospitals buy substantial amounts of meat, typically through large distributors who source from the U.S. commodity beef, pork, and poultry markets.
- Significant public and environmental health costs are associated with industrialized meat and poultry production and distribution, including antibiotic resistance, air and water contamination, and global climate change through methane and transportation emissions.
- Americans eat more than twice the global average for meat consumption. Hospital foodservice operations often mirror this trend.
By balancing hospital menus to favor less and better meat, hospitals can provide health, social, and environmental benefits that are consistent with prevention-based medicine. By providing nutritionally-appropriate portion sizes for patients, staff, and visitors they model healthy eating. By supporting sustainable meat and poultry production through their purchasing they incentivize production practices that are better for farm communities, consumers, and the environment.
Use these resources to plan and implement a Balanced Menus program at your facility:
- Balanced Menus Brochure
- Marketing materials to help you educate your hospital patients, visitors, and staff about the import steps you are taking to promote health and prevention
- Educational materials for dietitians to assist with outreach
- Our Recipe Toolkit to find recipes that meet nutritional and sustainability criteria
- Balanced Menus: A Pilot Evaluation of Implementation in Four San Francisco Bay Area Hospitals
- Health Care’s Commitment to Sustainable Meat Procurement: 4 Case Studies
- Hospitals Say "No" To Meat Raised With Antibiotics
Tools to Measure your Progress and Impact