Nutritional Services

Nutritional Services

Meeting Your Dietary Needs

Wilted Lettuce. Mushy carrots. Bland meatloaf. It used to be that one of the worst parts about a hospital stay for patients was the food they were served. Not so anymore! Hospitals everywhere have made a concerted effort to not only meet the nutritional needs of each patient, but also to offer employees and guests meals that are delicious and satisfying. At Charlotte Regional Medical Center, we're proud of what our food service department has accomplished.

Nutritionists vs. Dietitians

While almost anyone who does a little research can offer advice on nutrition, our registered dietitians have much more to offer. They are licensed by the State of Florida and receive 75 hours of continuing education every five years in order to uphold their licensure.

A nutritionist can address the basics of healthy eating, but according to state law, a registered dietitian must oversee the nutritional care of all inpatients. Our dietitians approve all inpatient menus based on the dietary guidelines of the Florida Dietetic Association's Diet Manual. If a physician or nurse requests it, the dietitians will consult with a patient and/or family to explain the different restricted diets necessary and how to incorporate them into the daily routine. They can also explain how to revise favorite recipes to make them conform to required restrictions or how to substitute other foods. Our dietitians also oversee the diet office clerks who process all diet orders from each unit in the hospital.

Special Diets

When patients are admitted for cardiac procedures or surgery, special diets are required. A patient may be placed on a cardiac diet that restricts calories, fat content and salt; or a soft-food diet that includes only soft foods such as well-cooked vegetables, canned fruits and refined breads, but nothing with seeds, nuts, fried food or highly seasoned food. If you're diabetic, you'll receive sugar substitutes and have your portion size and caloric intake controlled. A clear liquid diet would offer broth, some juices and gelatin. If you have any questions about what is served on your meal tray, please feel free to speak with one of our registered dietitians to learn as much as you can.

Community Involvement

Through the Cardiac Rehab department, our dietitians offer two 90-minute classes the first and third Tuesday of each month. One of the classes reviews low-fat and low-cholesterol diets, food alternatives, the food pyramid and overall basic healthy eating habits. The other class discusses sodium, how to read food labels and restaurant dining.

In addition, our registered dietitians can help you revise your favorite recipes to make them healthier while retaining as much flavor as possible.

Our cafeteria, Oasis, is also involved in the community. Every Monday they provide meals for Habitat for Humanity workers. They also donate hundreds of meals during the holidays to needy families and are involved in providing beverages for events such as the Heart Walk, some health fairs and many other community events and projects. The cafeteria also hosts special events such as the Punta Gorda Community and Business Alliance breakfast, medical staff dinner meetings, vendor theme days, holiday theme days and bake sales.

Hours of Operation

Vending machines in the cafeteria are accessible 24 hours a day.

Breakfast is available to employees and visitors from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. It typically provides a selection of breads, doughnuts, pastries and fruit.

Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and offers a wide variety of items ranging from BBQ ribs to egg rolls.

The dinner menu is served from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and offers a selection similar to that available for lunch. Additionally a soup, sandwich and salad bar are available at both lunch and dinner.

For more information about our nutritional services, call 941-637-2492 or our dietitians at 941-637-2543.