Working Well Tips & Tools: Creating a Healthy Food Environment

NC Prevention Partners has identified five components of a healthy food environment.  Hospitals that address all five components can be recognized as a Red Apple hospital.  To begin working towards that goal, hospitals participating in Working Well have access to a number of tools within WorkHealthy America to support positive changes in the cafeteria, with your vendors and caterers, and in vending machines.

One key component of creating a healthy food environment is to provide access to healthy foods.  The most obvious place to do this may be your cafeteria, so NC Prevention Partners has created a step-by-step tour of healthy possibilities to consider there.  For hospitals working with an outside vendor, providing food options may require modifying existing contracts with your food service provider.  If this applies to you, check out the tips for working with vendors.  Hospitals that self manage their food services have a whole separate set of challenges when it comes to providing access to healthy food, which are addressed in the NCPP webinar for self-managed food services

Of course, the cafeteria isn’t the only place to consider when you’re addressing the food environment within your hospital.  Although they might be known for providing a quick chocolate fix when you need one, even vending machines can provide healthy snacking options for your employees.  Check out our tip sheet to see how you can make vending a place to go for great choices.  And don’t forget about catering.  Developing healthy catering policies shows your commitment to employee health and wellness.

Providing access to healthy foods is one of five key components of a healthy food environment, recognized by the Red Apple standard.  By examining the food provided in your cafeteria, through vending machines, and at catered events, you can make sure that people have the chance to choose a healthy option.  When there are more healthy choices available, people are more likely to choose them.

For more information on resources available to you through the WorkHealthy America Nutrition toolbox, contact Lindsey Bickers Bock by email or 919-969-7022, x221.



04-28-2011 11:03 (EDT)