Healthy Hospitals FAQ

What is the hospital food environment? 

  • All areas in the hospital where food is served and sold.  This includes patient meals, cafeterias, vending machines, catering, on-site restaurants, and gift shops.

Why should hospitals get involved?

  • Hospitals reach a wide audience and as such their food impacts large numbers of people.  By providing easy access to good and healthy food options, they promote a culture of wellness for patients, staff, visitors, and the community.

What are some healthy food strategies that hospitals can implement to get started?

  • Indicate vegetarian, heart healthy, and whole grain options using symbols on patient menus
  • Place healthier beverages and snacks at eye level in cafeterias, cafes and vending machines
  • Display nutrition information of foods and beverages prominently at the point of choice
  • Replace regular fried chips with baked varieties where such items are served and sold
  • Promote water as a healthy and necessary beverage choice throughout the hospital
  • Purchase locally sourced and sustainably raised foods where possible
  • Purchase rBGH free dairy products

What are hospitals’ responsibilities in this initiative?

  • Designate a primary contact to meet with the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals project team.
  • Participate in on-site interviews and an environmental scan of our hospital food environment
  • Commit to creating practical plans and solutions to develop and sustain a culture of wellness through food throughout the hospital setting.
  • Collaborate with peer and community organizations in a Stakeholder Advisory Body
  • Provide semi-annual feedback to the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals project team for tracking and reporting purposes.

How will hospitals benefit from their involvement?

  • Participating hospitals will gain recognition through their level of engagement with this initiative.  Hospitals will receive technical assistance and feedback to build on current activities related to food and health.  Institutional involvement reinforces community health and wellness and showcases community commitment.

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