Veggie breakfast omelettes. An oatmeal topping bar. Fruit parfaits. Pembroke Regional Hospital (PRH) is making healthy eating the easy choice in the cafeteria, Mural Café and Sunshine Gift Shop – and they are getting creative too! They’ve introduced a fresh salad bar, new beverages, and an enticing breakfast buffet – all part of achieving Silver status in the Healthy Foods in Champlain Hospitals program.
“Hospitals have committed to increasing healthy options, and reducing unhealthy ones, in their cafeterias, vending machines and volunteer and franchise operations,” explains Carolyn Brennan, Co-Lead of the Healthy Foods Leadership Task Force, and Chief Financial Officer and Vice-President, Queensway Carleton Hospital.All 20 hospitals in the Champlain LHIN are changing the conversation around food – one dish at a time – by making significant changes to create supportive, healthy food environments. And almost half of the hospitals have reached Silver status in the Healthy Foods program.
All 20 Champlain hospitals participate in the regional program. Bronze, Silver and Gold levels guide their work.
“The Silver level offers more whole grains, fruits, vegetables across meals and snacks. It also phases out unhealthy options such as processed meats and sugary pop,” explains Program Manager Laurie Dojeiji. “As well, hospitals are providing calorie and sodium information for most of their meals and snacks, which goes above and beyond the menu labeling legislation for large-chain restaurants in Ontario.”
“Our Food Services team and the PRH Volunteer Auxiliary, which operates the cafe and gift shop to raise funds for the hospital, have worked really hard to achieve Silver status,” says PRH Food Services Manager, Judy Zilney. “We’ve done the research to find items that are not only appealing to our customers, but also meet the Silver criteria. While change is never easy, the overall feedback has been positive.”Hospitals with franchises will need more time to reach the Silver level, but significant progress has been made in the other retail outlets. “Hospital franchises want to be part of the healthier environment in our hospitals and have already made some changes to their offerings. We are working closely with them on a longer-term plan,” adds Carolyn Brennan.
Healthy Foods is an initiative of the Champlain Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Network, which is housed at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.“Hospitals in the Champlain region are acting as role models for healthy eating as a way of improving the overall health of our communities in rural and urban areas,” says Chantale LeClerc, CEO of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). “So many of the health conditions being treated in hospitals are linked to what we eat. This region-wide program has made significant progress in promoting healthier menu options for thousands of hospital staff, visitors and volunteers. The Champlain LHIN is proud to be an active partner in supporting and funding such an important initiative.”
Hospitals who have achieved Silver:
- Almonte General Hospital
- Arnprior Regional Health
- Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital
- Deep River and District Hospital
- Kemptville District Hospital
- Pembroke Regional Hospital
- Renfrew Victoria Hospital
- St. Joseph’s Continuing Care Centre
- Winchester District Memorial Hospital