SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A local hospital in Santa Barbara is trying to help people become healthier, even if you're not a patient.
The Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital revamped its overall approach to health and nutrition at its Oak Park Market and Eatery this year.
Located just across the street from Cottage Hospital, the eatery is expanding its market options.
While it is a common place where patients and staff come to eat, managers at the market say they believe the meals are changing how people view hospital food.
Since its new expanded market options, the eatery has been thriving.
Residents all over town are coming by to grab a bite, even if they're not going to the hospital.
Managers say the food is thoughtfully prepared, locally sourced, and nourishing for the community.
They started making some of the changes due to various demands caused by COVID-19.
Managers decided to use extra space for essential, carefully sourced grocery items, healthy grab and go and easy prep options.
The new mini market inspired the name change to reflect the neighborhood of the Oak Park area.
The cafe also minimizes high-sugar beverages.
Instead, it offers new sparkling waters, coconut water, and kombucha teas.
Chefs are adding more vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
They focus on a two-week rotation menu inspired by world cuisines.
Some of the food choices include: Build Your Own Mexican Bowl, Mediterranean Plate, and Curry Bowl.
The market also focuses on minimizing packaging and food waste.
Any leftover foods is turned over to compost.
Managers at Cottage Hospital hope this new approach to meals will give the term "hospital food" a whole new meaning, one that will engage employees and the community toward a healthier living.