Initiative pushes for fresh, local hospital food across Canada over 'pitiful alternatives'
2019-05-15 from cbc.ca
Wild salmon with lemon dill sauce, blueberry soup and bone broth may be high-end restaurant meals but they're also on the menu at some Canadian hospitals aiming to meet recovering patients' nutritional and cultural needs.
The recipes are among dozens that have been developed by 26 people, including food-service managers, chefs and dieticians who were offered two-year fellowships at hospitals from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador as part of a campaign called Nourish Health.
Its goal is to help create institutional policies through nourishing meals made from locally bought ingredients for patients who may have been accustomed to powdered mashed potatoes as a mainstay of "hospital food."
Nourish Health spokeswoman Hayley Lapalme said the initiative, predominately funded by the McConnell Foundation, also aims to elevate the role of food as an important part of healing, though food services are categorized with other expenditures such as laundry and parking.
Two hospitals in Haida Gwaii, B.C., on the province's west coast, have been part of the program that has allowed staff to use traditional ingredients such as wild salmon, cod and halibut in the region where half the population is Indigenous.
Shelly Crack, a dietician for Northern Health, said much of the food served at the facilities was brought in from other provinces and countries, adding to transportation and environmental costs when fish, berries and vegetables were available locally.
"A lot of our elders like the salmon served lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, with sauces served on the side," said Crack, adding traditional foods have helped people connect to positive experiences from their early years, and that has promoted healing.
"It almost brings them right back to the land and memories of family and harvesting food. It's that connection to culture and family, this feeling of well-being."
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