Hackensack Meridian Health Teaching Kitchen Celebrated Grand Re-Opening to Promote Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Laura Garrett, RD, provided community members with a cooking demonstration of healthy meals for the fall season

Newswise — Edison, N.J. – October 12, 2017 – On Wednesday, September 27, Hackensack Meridian Health celebrated the grand re-opening of a teaching kitchen located within the Meridian Fitness & Wellness Center in Hazlet, N.J. with a ribbon cutting ceremony and cooking demonstration. As part of the festivities, Laura Garrett, RD prepared two easy and healthy dishes, leading nearly 40 community members through the process and allowing them to sample the fresh, vibrant flavors of Broccoli Slaw and Pantry Manhattan Clam Chowder.

"With dramatic increases in obesity and diabetes, the search is on for innovative strategies to change the paths of those living with, or at risk for developing these and other lifestyle-related chronic diseases. The teaching kitchen is important because it helps community members explore the relationship between food and nutrition.” says Kelli O’Brien, RD, MBA, chief operating officer at Riverview Medical Center. “Offering cooking demonstrations is a way to positively impact the food choices people make and promote healthy behaviors at home and in the community.”

As part of a 3-month renovation project, the teaching kitchen was enhanced with a new range and vent hood, a double oven, new refrigerator, and sleek new cabinetry and countertops. While cooking demonstrations will continue to play an important role in the teaching kitchen space, the room also provides space for community lectures and screenings to take place throughout the year.

Hackensack Meridian Health offers an abundance of free and low cost educational programs, health screening events, and support groups to keep people informed about their health and wellness, better manage their chronic conditions and to promote healthy behaviors. The demonstration at the new teaching kitchen is just one of many that will take place from Bergen County to Ocean County as Hackensack Meridian Health embarks on a new healthy cooking and nutrition program to be unveiled in the coming months.

“Hackensack Meridian Health is expanding care beyond the hospital and into communities,” says Regina Foley, RN, MBA, MSN, FACHE, chief operating officer at Bayshore Medical Center. “It’s all part of our mission that enhances the engagement between hospitals, physicians and most importantly, patients.”

For more information about classes, support groups or events offered at Hackensack Meridian Health facilities, please call 800-560-9990 or visit hackensackmeridianhealth.org.

About Hackensack Meridian Health

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care. Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 13 hospitals, including two academic medical centers, two children’s hospitals and nine community hospitals, physician practices, more than 140 ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, and urgent care and after-hours centers. Hackensack Meridian Health has 28,000 team members, more than 6,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The Network’s notable distinctions include having one of only five major academic medical centers in the nation to receive Healthgrades America’s 50 Best Hospitals Award for five or more consecutive years, four hospitals ranked in the top 10 in New Jersey as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, including Hackensack University Medical Center ranked No. 1 for the last six years. Seven network hospitals have achieved Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and the network is a recipient of the John M. Eisenberg Award for Patient Safety and Quality from The Joint Commission and the National Quality Forum. The network is also a six-time recipient of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For,” one of the “20 Best Workplaces in Health Care” in the nation, and the number one “Best Place to Work for Women.” Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

The hospitals of Hackensack Meridian Health include: academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune; children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; community hospitals – Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, and Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood.

For additional information, please visit WWW.HACKENSACKMERIDIANHEALTH.ORG.

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