March 25, 2019

Texas Children’s employees enjoyed a spice-filled start to National Nutrition Month® on March 6 with a full menu of original Indian dishes available for lunch at the Fresh Bistro, created by award-winning Compass Celebrity Chef Bal Arneson.

Employee Health & Well-Being partnered with Food and Nutrition Services and Morrison Food Services to bring Arneson to the Medical Center campus to share her cooking tips and recipes, which draw their flavor from carefully selected spices and healthful ingredients rather than cream and salt. Even her spin on classic butter chicken – a well-known dish that originated in Northern India – is made with yogurt instead of butter.

Arneson mingled with employees at the Fresh Bistro before doing a live cooking demonstration in Morrison’s Teaching Kitchen, which was set up in the Pavilion for Women conference rooms.

She also signed copies of her latest cookbook and answered questions about how home chefs can incorporate more spices into their family meals, noting that turmeric, coriander, cardamom, fennel and paprika are among her favorites for health benefits like reduced inflammation and more sound sleep.

The opportunity to bring her passion and love for food to Texas Children’s allowed Arneson to fulfill her ultimate purpose of serving others, she said. It was a special treat to use her knowledge and gifts to feed the people who heal and support our patients and their families.

“I believe the body is our temple and there is an energy inside us that needs to be nourished. You must fuel your body with the right nutrients,” Arneson said. “Food is your medicine and you are exactly what you eat.”

National Nutrition Month® continues

The National Nutrition Month® celebration at Texas Children’s will extend through the end of March with the following events at the Medical Center, The Woodlands and West campuses:

Wednesday, March 20 | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cigna Health Education Table
Pavilion for Women, in front of Fresh Bistro
Join Cigna Health Coach Staci Tobolowsky Astrein, MCN, RD/LD from the Employee Health and Well-Being team to learn about available Cigna programs and resources, fun giveaways and nutrition education.

Every Wednesday through March 27 | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
National Nutrition Month® Table Events
The Woodlands Lobby
Ask our registered dietitians your nutrition questions and learn tips for creating a healthier lifestyle.

March 1 – March 27
5-A-Day Fruit and Vegetable Challenge at West Campus
A month challenge to encourage employees at West Campus to eat more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis with a raffle drawing at the National Nutrition Month® Table on March 28. More information coming soon.

Thursday, March 28 | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Eat a Rainbow Table Event
West Campus Corridor
Our West Campus dietitians will share tips on how to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your daily routine. Ask your nutrition questions and learn tips for creating a healthier lifestyle.

For more information, visit the Well-Being page on Connect or email wellbeing@texaschildrens.org.

March 19, 2019

Patients along with their family members and even neighbors had the opportunity to enjoy Spring Break at an event hosted by The Center for Children and Women that included tons of family fun open to the community. The Center invited families to take part in over-the-top entertainment all while picking up a few health and wellness tips to get kids through the remainder of the school year.

The Center introduced this event about 5 years ago targeting physical fitness strategies and goals for children. This year they decided to bring this family affair back for Nutrition month.

“We have a lot of tips on nutrition, some on healthy snack options, along with resources that perhaps they would not have known about if they had not attended this event,” Marketing Manager at Texas Children’s Health Plan, Veronica Arzayus said. “We also welcome the opportunity for the community to see the Center and all the wonderful services that it offers while enjoying the festivities. This is definitely something that you would want to take your kids to in a safe and comfortable environment.”

This two-weekday event was held last week at The Center’s Greenspoint location on Wednesday and at the Southwest location on Friday. Despite unexpected rain and thunderstorms on the first day, according to The Health Plan, over 500 attendees flooded The Center as activities were brought inside.

Events such as this are important as one of our system-wide operational goals focuses on childhood obesity. The goal is to help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol in children, and promote a healthier lifestyle overall.

“It is important to shine a positive spotlight on healthy nutrition, activity, exercise, etc., all while engaging with the community in a meaningful way,” Vice President of Texas Children’s Health Plan, Tangula Taylor said. “I think that’s part of us giving back, helping, assisting, partnering with our community, the families that we serve to share healthy lifestyle options and alternatives that can have an impact on their overall quality of life.”

Along with providing educational material on nutrition, thanks to the corporate sponsors of the event, The Houston Food Bank, the Houston Dynamo, corporate partners, The Children’s Museum of Houston and Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, and community partner Kids Meals, there were also food and activities for the entire family to encourage exercise and healthy eating habits.

Other activities included, mini Zumba lessons, music and fun performances with a live DJ, face painting, an inflatable obstacle course hula hoop/ jump rope competitions, and a healthy snack tasting challenge.

With a total of over 800 participants for both days this year, The Center is excited to see this event continue annually.

“I’d like to see it grow. When you have an event such as this, you want it to be successful in terms of the number of participants, target audience, and then, once it’s successful, you want it to grow,” Taylor said. “We want to connect with more families, tell them about the Health Plan and the Center and ultimately be a partner for them along their health and wellness journey.”

March 4, 2019

March is National Nutrition Month®! Employee Health & Well-Being has partnered with Food and Nutrition Services and Morrison Food Services to sponsor a variety of National Nutritional Month events from March 6-27 with a focus on plant-based food:

Wednesday, March 6 | 11 a.m. to noon
Live Cooking Demonstration with Celebrity Chef Bal Arneson
Pavilion for Women, Fresh Bistro, Center Action Station
Television host, award-winning author, Compass Celebrity Chef and well-known culinary personality Bal Arneson will be sharing her trademark spice-infused cooking tips, including simple and healthy Indian recipes. Cookbooks will be available for sale in the Fresh Bistro, and Chef Arneson will also host a book signing from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, March 12 | 11:30 a.m. to noon
Lecture: Power of Plant-Based Foods
Presented by Staci Tobolowsky Astrein, MCN, RD/LD
Texas Children’s auditorium, Skype option available
Have you ever tried meatless Monday? Whether you are a vegetarian or curious about how to incorporate more plants into your diet, come learn the power of plant-based eating and how to make more plants part of your everyday routine. Click here to register.

Wednesday, March 13
Registered Dietitians Day
Let’s amplify unity and thank our Texas Children’s registered dietitians for all their hard work!

Thursday, March 14 | 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
The Skinny Latte Challenge
Pavilion for Women, Coffee Corner
Not all coffee beverages are created equal. Come get the skinny on how to create and order a lower calorie latte. Enjoy free samples and challenge your taste buds to determine the difference between high- and low-calorie lattes.

Thursday, March 14 | 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
National Nutrition Month® Bridge Event
Medical Center campus, The Auxiliary Bridge
Texas Children’s registered dietitians will be available for questions at this fun and exciting event featuring a variety of activities on nutrition and tips for a healthy lifestyle.

Tuesday, March 19 | 11:30 a.m. to noon
Lecture: Get Your Gut in Gear
Presented by Staci Tobolowsky Astrein, MCN, RD/LD
Texas Children’s auditorium, Skype option available
The health of your gut plays an important role in your overall health and well-being. Learn why it is important to keep your gut healthy and happy. Get your gut in gear with several important nutrients that you can incorporate into your normal diet. Click here to register.

Wednesday, March 20 | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Cigna Health Education Table
Pavilion for Women, in front of Fresh Bistro
Join the Cigna Health Coach Staci Tobolowsky Astrein, MCN, RD/LD from the Employee Health and Well-Being team to learn about available Cigna programs and resources, fun giveaways and nutrition education.

Community locations

Every Wednesday through March 27 | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
National Nutrition Month® Table Events
The Woodlands lobby
Ask our registered dietitians your nutrition questions and learn tips for creating a healthier lifestyle.

March 1 – March 27
5-A-Day Fruit and Vegetable Challenge at West Campus
A month challenge to encourage employees at West Campus to eat more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis with a raffle drawing at the National Nutrition Month Table on March 28. More information coming soon.

Thursday, March 28 | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Eat a Rainbow Table Event
West Campus Corridor
Our West Campus dietitians will share tips on how to incorporate more fruit and vegetables in your daily routine. Ask your nutrition questions and learn tips for creating a healthier lifestyle.

Resources to Support Your Nutrition

The Employee Health and Well-Being team provides a variety of no-cost and low-cost nutrition resources for our employees, including:

For more information, please visit the Well-Being page on Connect or email wellbeing@texaschildrens.org.

August 27, 2018

On August 10, The Woodlands Clinical Nutrition and Milk Bank team partnered with Morrison Catering, Texas Children’s internal food vendor, to host the 2018 Kids Eat Right Month.™

The theme this year was “Back to School,” celebrating the new academic year. A yogurt parfait station was available for staff and patients to build their own nutritious layers of Greek yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit – a quick recipe for busy school mornings. All the ingredients was generously provided by Morrison Catering.

Food themed games were offered to engage participants with each other. The MyPlate bean bag toss was a game where kids had to throw the right food in the correct MyPlate section. This game was designed to demonstrate knowledge of “slow,” “go,” and “whoa” foods. Patients used food-stuffed shopping carts to deliver the foods to the correct “slow,” “go,” or “whoa” basket.

At the end of the event a back-to-school packed lunch box was given away in a raffle.

August 13, 2018

Thanks to the more than 10 years of dedication and hard work of neonatologists and neonatal nutrition experts at Texas Children’s, Boston Children’s and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) hospitals, premature babies with liver disease now have better access to a potentially lifesaving drug.

On July 27, the FDA approved Omegaven®, an omega-3 fatty-acid-rich lipid solution made from fish oil for use in babies suffering from Parenteral Nutrition Associated Cholestasis (PNAC). For over a decade, Texas Children’s and Boston Children’s have been giving Omegaven® to NICU babies with this disease under compassionate use protocols.

Nearly 20 percent of babies in the NICU develop intestinal failure and are dependent on artificial nutrition (total parenteral nutrition or TPN). Of these infants 25 percent to 50 percent of them develop PNAC, a dreaded complication resulting in long term damage to the liver. Prior to the use of Omegaven®, nearly 50 percent of these babies with PNAC developed liver failure and died, or needed a liver transplant. However, since the use of Omegaven®, 85 percent of infants with PNAC have survived long term, rarely needing a liver transplant.

Being first-hand witnesses to this remarkably improved outcome, neonatologists at Texas Children’s long advocated for the approval of Omegaven. Extensive patient data demonstrating the beneficial effects of Omegaven® on the babies with PNAC from Texas Children’s, Boston Children’s and UCLA formed a crucial part of the new drug approval application submitted to the FDA. Now that Omegaven® is approved by the FDA for use in babies with PNAC, hospitals across the country will have access to it, saving many lives.

“This is a game changer,” said neonatologist Dr. Muralidhar Premkumar. “I am very confident that Omegaven’s approval by the FDA will tremendously improve the outcomes of infants with intestinal failure.”

Program Director of Neonatal Nutrition Dr. Amy Hair agreed and said the approval is “huge, and will most definitely save babies’ lives.”

Over the past decade, liver transplants have decreased nearly 25 percent nationwide in babies with PNAC, mainly as a result of improved multi-disciplinary care of infants with intestinal failure and the use of safer lipid solutions such as Omegaven®. Texas Children’s Newborn Center sees about 25 to 30 babies with the PNAC a year. None of these babies in the past five years have needed a liver transplant.

Charlie and Henry Fitzpatrick were two of those babies. The now 4-year-old twin boys were born prematurely at Texas Children’s Hospital Pavilion for Women and spent six months in the NICU. During their stay, both infants suffered from PNAC and were treated with Omegaven®. Since then, both their liver disease and intestinal failure have resolved. Charlie and Henry are now happy healthy preschoolers.

The twins’ mother, Aly Fitzpatrick, said Omegaven® played a big part in saving her children’s lives and that she is pleased to hear that the FDA approved the drug for use in babies like hers.

“The approval opens up a world of possibilities for these babies,” she said. “Now, more hospitals can embrace this without having to join a research study.”

Because of their experience with the drug, Texas Children’s is uniquely positioned to educate staff at other hospitals about the benefits of Omegaven® and train them on how to use it.

“It gives me great pride and satisfaction that we were part of this successful effort,” Premkumar said. “I would like to thank our dieticians, physicians, NNPs, pharmacists, nurses and of course, the babies and their families who supported us in this endeavor.”

Premkumar added that none of this would have happened if Dr. Steven Abrams and Keli Hawthorne, both former Texas Children’s staff, had not brought this project to the hospital.

May 15, 2018

One week before Texas Children’s Legacy Tower opens on Tuesday, May 22, employees and patient families will notice several new changes to our food services at Texas Children’s Medical Center campus. Additional enhancements are underway at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus and Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands to provide more meal options for our employees, staff, patients, and their families as well.

“After receiving constructive feedback from our employees, we wanted to take a proactive approach to improve the food service and dining experience for them as well as our visitors and patient families,” said Senior Vice President Tabitha Rice. “We are very excited to offer these new lunch and dinner options across our three hospital campuses to better serve the needs of our employees and patient families.”

Texas Children’s Medical Center Campus

Starting on May 14, The Fresh Bistro at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women will extend its hours of operation. Instead of closing at 4 p.m., the Bistro will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Working late or just too exhausted to cook dinner? The Bistro now offers take-home meal kits available in the On the Go cooler Monday through Thursday. The meal kits offer a protein, starch, and a vegetable for two for $14 plus tax. The items are fully cooked and all you need to do is pop it in the microwave.

The Coffee Corner across from The Fresh Bistro is another convenient place to grab a quick bite to eat. Opened Mondays through Fridays from 6 a.m. to midnight and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the Coffee Corner serves fresh coffee, pastries, paninis, soups, salads and On the Go meals.

If you enjoy good old fashioned barbecue, Liberty Street BBQ will be coming to the food court at Mark Wallace Tower beginning in July. Liberty Street BBQ will serve smoked in-house meats, fresh sides, and of course, delicious desserts like banana pudding. The concept will change each month to offer our families and staff a larger variety of food choices.

West Campus and The Woodlands Campus

West Campus and The Woodlands Campus are offering more meal options to enhance the food service experience for our employees, patients and their families.

A Kids’ Corner will provide kid-friendly snack options including fruit and cheese snacks, animal cookies, squeezable apple sauce, string cheese, milk, bottled water and fruit juices.

From barbecue picnics to Louisiana cuisine to South American treats like papusas, the Monthly Chef specials will provide a variety of meals from different parts of the U.S. and around the world.

Meyer Market

Earlier this month, the Meyer Market on the first floor of the Meyer Building, began offering more lunch options for employees. Freshly prepared meals are now available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. A calendar menu is posted in Meyer Market and in the first floor lobby of the Meyer Building.

The hot meal options were added to the current point of sale system. Employees can pay by credit card or use their current Meyer Market account. The Fresh Bistro at the Pavilion for Women provides the meals.

For questions related to this article, please contact Michelle Roane at maroane@texaschildrens.org.

September 8, 2017

Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands had an excellent turnout of families at its first celebration of Kids Eat Right Month.

Working together, Food and Nutrition, and Clinical Nutrition Services encouraged children and their families to create and enjoy their own food art. Children learned how to make their own snails, butterflies, or banana race boats using healthy foods.

Chef Luis also prepared an edible rainbow of colors to remind children the importance of eating various types of foods. Even the pickiest eaters couldn’t resist!

Educational material and hands-on learning opportunities also were available to help teach kids how to build a healthy plate.