Starting Monday, patients staying at Foothills Hospital will experience a new, in-room dining menu featuring mouthwateringly delicious and nourishing fare with heart-healthy, gluten-free and vegetarian options.

The choices are healthy, creative and reflect food trends. Think: chia coleslaw, green smoothies with kale and spinach, veggie burritos and turkey bruschetta.

BCH Food Services Director Tom Ingalls said this is definitely not going to be your typical hospital in-room dining experience -- and that is by design.

“It’s all about giving our patients more choices and with healthier options in order to create and care for the healthiest community in the nation,” said Ingalls, referring to BCH’s bold new vision statement: Partnering to create and care for the healthiest community in the nation.

“We customized the menu so that there is far more choice for patients to have the food they want,” said Clinical Nutrition Manager and Registered Dietician Leisa Norman Norman, "We took time to develop the menu and design a physical menu that is laminated to truly mirror more of a restaurant dining experience.”

Ingalls and Norman invited BCH staff and caregivers Thursday afternoon to a tasting event where approval was registered through appreciative murmurs of “Mmmm,” and mouthfuls of whole wheat pancakes, apple crisp, colorful seasonal salads, turkey bruschetta, angel food cake, gluten-free pasta and more.

"On these days, I don’t eat lunch,” joked Pharmacy Director Casey Diekmann, digging his fork into a heaping plateful of food.

“This is really, really good,” complimented ICU Manager Tracy Nagell.

Thanks to the new menu, patients staying at Foothills Hospital will be able to order breakfasts that include a made-to-order omelet or egg scramble with heart-healthy options like turkey bacon, diced tofu or black beans. A new smoothie menu features a whopping six different kinds of smoothies. The “green machine” smoothie is made with kale, spinach, pineapple, yogurt and apple juice. The “mango lassi” features mango, nutmeg, honey, yogurt and lime juice.

Main entrees include orange garlic herb salmon, beef pot roast with vegetable gravy, vegetable burrito, roast turkey breast, chicken mushroom pasta available gluten-free, and more. Sides include a chia seed coleslaw, roasted sweet potatoes, confetti brown rice, raisin couscous, black beans and cauliflower mash. Desserts feature strawberry fruit ice, fresh fruit and angel food cake.

It’s all designed to feel much more like dining at a restaurant or high-end hotel room service, with an eye on keeping it healthy.

“It’s delicious, healthy food that will nourish our patients and be presented to them in a beautiful way,” Norman said.