By Mary Wilson Trider
As a founding member of the Healthy Foods in Champlain Hospitals Program, Almonte General Hospital (AGH) has been working with the Champlain Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Network (CCDPN) and partner hospitals since 2013 on a strategy to offer healthy options for everyone who consumes food on-site. Our vision is to create supportive, healthy environments so that the healthy choice is the easy choice for staff, physicians, volunteers, patients and families.
Retail food is the first area of focus. This includes the cafeteria, vending and volunteer operations at AGH and franchise operations in hospitals that have them.
The Program consists of three recognition levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold – that recognize progressive changes towards an “ideal” state. The criteria for each level were recommended by a team of CCDPN and participating hospital Dieticians and endorsed by the Healthy Foods Leadership Committee.
Almonte General Hospital has achieved Bronze status, well ahead of the December 2015 timeline for completion. Only a handful of the 19 participating hospitals have reached this important milestone to date.
Some of the changes we have made in the cafeteria and gift shop are:
- Calorie and sodium information is available for all soups and entrees
- Deep fryer and deep fried foods have been removed
- Chocolate, coated granola bars and candy offerings have been reduced by 50%
- Oven-baked chips, popcorn and nuts are available in the gift shop
The cafeteria also has some delicious new menu items including a yogurt and berry parfait at breakfast, beef skewers on rice and grilled salmon burgers.
The Healthy Foods initiative is one of five priority programs identified in the CCPN 2013-16 Strategy & Action Plan. This area of focus emerged as a result of senior leaders in Champlain recognizing the opportunity – and responsibility – to better role model healthy food environments as a preventative endeavour for stemming the burden of chronic illness.
Congratulations to Vice President of Corporate Support Services Randy Shaw, Food Services Manager Paulene Dobson, Gift Shop Manager Cheryl Moore, Dietician Elena Jascolt and their teams of Food Service Staff and Gift Shop Volunteers on achieving Bronze status and thanks to all for their leadership.
Mary Wilson Trider is President & CEO of the Almonte General Hospital