Canada hospitals to cut junk food, add healthier choices

Nine hospital representatives have been working on a healthy foods strategy for about a year.

OTTAWA, Canada— Burgers, fries, chocolate bars and sugary desserts could disappear from hospital menus in Eastern Ontario over the next few years, muscled aside by more nutritious items.

Representatives from nine hospitals, including the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, the Queensway Carleton, the Ottawa Hospital’s Civic campus and CHEO, have been quietly working on a healthy foods strategy for about a year.

For now, the focus is on food sold in hospital cafeterias, vending machines, gift shops and franchises such as Tim Hortons, Subway and Second Cup.

Food audits have found that current offerings include high proportions of nutrient-poor snacks, baked goods, desserts and beverages, along with soups and entrees with high sodium contents. Deep frying and processed meats are prominent, portions are generally too big and whole grains are lacking.

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The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

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