Mary-Wilson-Trider4by Mary WilsonTrider

Although we receive many positive comments at Almonte General Hospital and Fairview Manor, it is no secret that hospital food, generally, does not have a very good reputation. Much has been written about the need to improve the food given to patients in hospitals. The Long Term Care Homes Act sets clear expectations for the quantity and variety of nutritious food served to residents.

There is much less discussion about the food that is provided to staff, volunteers and visitors.

Almonte General Hospital, in collaboration with the Champlain Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Network and nine partner hospitals, has been working on a strategy to offer healthy options for everyone who consumes food on-site. The 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. Led by Randy Shaw, Vice President of Corporate Support Services, and Paulene Dobson, Manager of Food Service, healthy choice activities in the AGH cafeteria include:

 * Reduction of processed meats being used

* Reduction of baked goods, such as pies and cinnamon buns offered

* No chocolate, chips, coated granola bars, candy, danishes, croissants and donuts offered

* Fruits, salads, vegetables and whole grain items available

* A vegetarian option is available

* Cream soups contain no more than 3 g of total fat per 250 ml serving

* White bread products are available by request only

* Whole grain/wheat bread products are available

* All pre-made sandwiches are on whole grain/wheat bread products

* Milk used in cooking is 2% M.F or less

* Yogurts are 3.25% M.F. or less

* All offerings contain no artificial (added) trans fat

* Healthy snacks are placed at point of purchase areas

* Salt shakers have been removed from cafeteria tables

Next steps include nutrition analysis and development of calorie and sodium lists. We are looking forward to offering more healthy and more informed choices to everyone who purchases food at AGH.

 Aug. 13th: International Left Handers Day

A shout out to my fellow left-handers as we celebrate our uniqueness in a right-handed world. We are a small (only 7 to 10 per cent of the population according to Wikipedia) but mighty group whose members include Marie Curie, Leonardo DaVinci, Marshall McLuhan, Albert Einstein, Julia Roberts and Chewbacca the Wookie.

 Mary Wilson Trider is President & CEO of Almonte General Hospital and Fairview Manor.