Designation Level: Silver

UPMC Children’s Hospital is committed to making kids feel happy and comfortable during their visit–the colors, the floors and elevators named after animals and foods, the kid-sized furniture, and most importantly the friendliness and hospitality of the staff. This theme is organically carried into the hospital’s cafeteria that not only caters to the health and wellbeing of the children, but also focuses efforts on supporting vibrant communities and a healthy environment within the Pittsburgh region. Because of this, UPMC Children’s Hospital cafeteria earned a Silver designation with the Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant program.

Walking into the Children’s Hospital cafeteria is like walking into a world dreamed up by Dr. Seuss–everything is so bright and cheery, and so are the employees. With a quick glance around the seating area, you’ll notice a number of subtle touches that accommodate kids. Kid-friendly artwork adorns the walls; kid-sized tables and chairs are mixed in among the “grown up” tables, and directional signage on the ceiling and walls includes words along with pictures and colors to make sure kids can navigate too.

Diners have options that include quick grab-and-go items like sandwiches, freshly baked pizza, and a daily feature. Beyond the typical cafeteria fare, they also offer sugar-free food options, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other sources of protein. They even serve hand-rolled sushi and custom sandwiches. From the pediatric guests to those with a more refined palette, there’s something for everyone.

The UPMC Children’s Hospital cafeteria does a lot for the kids and the community. Their sustainability efforts include practices in waste reduction, water conservation, energy efficiency, responsible sourcing, educating kids in healthy dietary practices and portion sizes, and many other community and employee actions. Among the highlights, they purchase food from local food purveyor, Paragon Foods, and they make a point of using local ingredients and goods from Turner’s Dairy, Schwebel’s, and Potomac Bakery. They even make dressings and sauces fresh in house. From a nutrition standpoint, they serve non-GMO beverages and snacks and serve items made from ancient grains including barley, quinoa, and farro. Children are given grilled chicken (as opposed to fried) and low-fat, low-calorie, low-sugar options are available. Children are also provided healthy alternatives to soft drinks to stay hydrated and limit excessive sugar in their diets. To read the full list of sustainable practices observed by the UPMC Children’s Hospital cafeteria, check out their self-assessment in their Sustainable Pittsburgh Restaurant profile.

UPMC Children’s Hospital cafeteria can be found on the third floor of the hospital. Details about hours and food offerings can be found at http://www.chp.edu/for-parents/resources/amenities/dining-snack-options.