At Cura Hospitality, we nurture wellbeing with every meal we serve! We recognize the impact food makes on health and wellness. Our BeWell wellness approach demonstrates our commitment to improving the health of all Americans, from children to seniors. BeWell is a behavior-based, nudging approach that helps our guests achieve their personal health and wellness goals by making the healthy choice an easy choice.
Cura employs chefs and dietitians who are committed to our BeWell philosophy! Take, for example, Cura Corporate Executive Chef Lance Franklin, who drastically changed his eating habits and mindset 13 years ago to get back to a healthy weight. Chef Lance now helps our residents, guests, and team members achieve their wellness goals!
“I’m a pescatarian and try to eat as clean as I can,” says Chef Lance. “I teach my chefs and cooks how to reduce meat on the plate and make substitutions. As a chef, you can improve your eating habits by experimenting. You never run out of options.”
At the healthcare and senior-living operations he manages for Cura in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, Chef Lance, plans menus, dining experiences, and culinary demos that incorporate a small dose of nutrition education. In the east, Chris Greve, corporate director of culinary operations, provides his culinary knowledge to enhance staff operations.
For menu planning, Chef Lance has introduced healthier versions of favorites, like mushroom lasagna instead of meat lasagna and turkey burgers as a substitute for beef burgers. Chefs Lance and Chris have also developed anti-inflammatory and brain-boosting spice blends to season these dishes and promote Cura’s BeWell recipes that focus on plant-forward preparations.
Featured dining experiences, like our BeWell Kitchen, are also offered by chefs and dietitians as a live learning workshop connecting food and health. The teaching kitchen concept was established by the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2016 to enhance personal and public health across communities through a live learning laboratory or kitchen.
Adopted from a teaching kitchen created by the culinary team at Presbyterian Senior Living at Westminster Woods at Huntingdon, PA, the BeWell Kitchen is designed to support a promotions element within the BeWell Wellness Framework, where we recognize that providing education is a powerful tool to nudge our guests to make healthier choices. The BeWell Kitchen offers both an interaction and hands-on learning experience through preparing a BeWell recipe and provides participants with take-home recipes and nutrition information.
Cura has designed these culinary educational opportunities to help connect our participants to the concept of functional and fun foods – foods that offer a “functional” benefit beyond basic nutrition in a way that supports health and prevents disease.
In addition to instructions on how to present and promote, key elements of each workshop include:
- Chef explanation and demonstration of how to prepare a recipe and featured functional food
- Hands-on food preparation by some or all participants
- Registered dietitian nutritionist presentation of the recipe’s functional food(s), plus other nutrition information related to the recipe
- Take-home recipe card with nutrition facts, featuring health benefits of the functional food (s)
- Marketing tools like a backdrop, banners, print, and digital ads
Residents of all levels of care are enjoying Cura’s BeWell Kitchens at Presbyterian Manors of Mid America at Wichita and Parsons Presbyterian Manors, both located in Kansas! As their new dining services partner, Cura launched the new BeWell Kitchen to coincide with the openings as a way to celebrate the new partnership and how our teams create “fun with food”! According to Torehn Windt, RDN, LD, regional dietitian, menu manager, “I worked with the community’s life enrichment director to coordinate a time between lunch and dinner, and gave residents enough time to rsvp for this engaging event.”
Serving bowls with prepared ingredients were set up in front of 10-15 residents. For the summer chicken salad recipe, the ingredients included zucchini, summer squash, peppers, pine nuts, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, chicken pieces, and peach vinaigrette dressing. Food is prepped by Windt, along with David Wills, director of culinary for Cura at PMMA. “The summer chicken salad recipe gave residents the opportunity to toss their own salad with us. For those residents who didn’t participate, we had tasters so they could sample and observe,” says Windt.
Residents also received laminated recipe cards so they can easily replicate them in their homes! According to Donna Berner, who is a Wichita Presbyterian Manor resident, “I learned many new things! I am eager to grill zucchini and to prepare that delicious peach vinaigrette dressing – I immediately added frozen peaches to my shopping list! Thank you, Cura, for such a delicious and informative presentation.”
The remainder of the PMMA communities in Missouri and Kansas will experience the BeWell Kitchen by the end of 2022.
At Homestead Village Enhanced Senior Living in Lancaster, PA, a wellness fair featured services like the pharmacy, rehabilitation, and healthy living eating thanks to Cura’s BeWell Kitchen and Chef Albert Greaves! Residents sampled healthier snacks like matcha chia pudding & coconut and date energy balls, learned about the health & wellness benefits of Cura’s homemade spices, and overall, how to select the healthier options when dining with us! “Thanks to Cura General Manager Bill Powers and team for going above and beyond,” says Maureen Deibert, Homestead Village Residential Life Enrichment and Volunteer Coordinator.
BeWell Kitchens can also be scaled down to a smaller informative demo. Recently presented at Providence Point in Pittsburgh, PA Executive Chef Caleb Hicks and our Dietitian Jillian Wagner focused their demonstration on the hydration and nutritional benefits of the perfect summertime cucumber watermelon shaker salad!
Learn how Cura nurtures wellbeing with every meal served!