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Healthy Hospital Food

MaineHealth is committed to healthy food service at all system hospitals, including:

  • More fruits and vegetables
  • More plant-based meals
  • Making healthy meals more affordable
  • Encouraging healthier drink choices
  • Serving more local food
  • Implementing sustainable practices (e.g., composting)
  • Preparing healthier recipes
  • Labeling foods with nutrition information
  • Marketing healthy foods in cafeterias and on menus

With the help of our local food service teams, MaineHealth is improving access to healthy foods and beverages for patients, employees, families and communities.

Projects & Resources

MaineHealth developed and implemented the Hospital Café Scorecard, in partnership with Cornell University’s Food & Brand Lab, to assess whether a hospital’s cafeteria environment encourages healthy food and beverage choices.

Stephens Local Offerings ChalkboardStephens Memorial Hospital promotes local food offerings on a chalkboard sign in the cafeteria.
MaineHealth hospitals are committed to purchasing and serving locally-grown, seasonal fruits, vegetables, seafood and more. Our organizations work with distributors and local farmers to access a wide variety of fruits and vegetables without added salt or sugar and serve them to employees, patients and community members on a daily basis.

Between October 2016 and September 2019 our hospitals:

  • Increased total dollars spent on fresh, healthy local produce by 38%
  • Exceeded their overall spend goal in FY19 by 11%
  • Purchased approximately 81,400 pounds of fresh, healthy local produce in FY19 – a 50% increase over FY17
  • Purchased local fruits and vegetables from seven distributors and 21 local farms

Nourished by New England

Hospitals across the MaineHealth system are now participating in Nourished by New England, a program launched by the national organization Health Care Without Harm that highlights local, seasonal foods and draws the connection between local food and health. Participating network hospitals include Franklin Memorial Hospital, LincolnHealth, Maine Medical Center, MaineGeneral, Memorial Hospital, Mid Coast Hospital, Pen Bay Medical Center, Stephens Memorial Hospital, Southern Maine Health Care, Spring Harbor Hospital and Waldo County General Hospital.

Nourished by New England makes it easy for MaineHealth to support our regional food system and local producers.  Our hospitals feature locally grown, raised, and harvested foods and introduce employees, patients and visitors to the farmers and food businesses who bring them to our tables. Each hospital has pledged to serve a featured seasonal food twice per month. Each season, four locally produced foods are featured in our cafeterias, including three fruits/vegetables and one seafood item.

This program is a great complement to the work we already do to serve healthy fresh foods to our patients and community while supporting regional farmers and fishermen. It will also increase opportunities for our hospitals to access freshly picked fruits and vegetables, teach about eating seasonally, and support our regional economy.

Look for the Nourished by New England logo to find the local foods offered each season. Our patients, visitors, and staff will be enjoying the freshest produce and seafood, while our investment in local food strengthens our economy. To learn more, visit noharm-uscanada.org/NourishedByNewEngland.

MaineHealth food service departments are maintaining or implementing the following three commitment areas:

  1. Create healthier checkouts: Offer only health-promoting food options within five feet of all cafeteria cash register stations.
  2. Ensure healthy marketing: Display only health-promoting food or meal options that meet the MyPlate standards in advertising/pictorials in cafeteria and on patient menu.
  3. Implement calorie labeling: Ensure all items available in cafeteria are labeled with calories per serving at point of purchase/service.

Check Plus is a visual signage system designed to nudge consumers toward healthier offerings. Interested in using Check Plus in your facility? Email us to learn more.

Check Plus Poster with Fruit Baskets

 Check-Plus-Choice-Yogurt-Parfait

 Our Partners

Email us for more information about healthy hospital food.

 

Check Plus with Fruit

Check Plus Choices

Check Plus is a visual signage system designed to nudge consumers toward healthier offerings. Look for the green "Check Plus" label, sticker or sign to find healthy options based on guidelines from the Hospital Healthy Food Initiative.