Eating Healthy Together FAQ

  1. What is Eating Healthy Together?

Eating Healthy Together (EHT) is Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre’s commitment to provide a supportive, informative, and healthy food environment at our Hospital. It means all food and beverage offerings are nutritious. EHT is being launched in the next coming months.

  1. Why is our Hospital implementing EHT?

In Northwestern Ontario, chronic diseases including obesity, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, are higher than the rest of the province. Unhealthy eating contributes to chronic disease and mortality. Providing healthy options supports people to reduce risks.
As a health care facility, our Hospital should sell foods that contribute to good health.

  1. Who are the retail food outlet vendors at our Hospital?
  • Flavours Cafeteria (Sodexo)
  • Robins
  • Seasons Gift Shop
  • Vending Machines (Twin City Refreshments)
  1. What are the EHT Nutrition Standards?

EHT Nutrition standards define foods preferred and less preferred, and those not permitted (ultra-processed) for sale at our Hospital.

  1. What sort of food and beverages will be available for purchase at our Hospital?

Each vendor is responsible to design their menu to comply with the EHT Nutrition Standards. All food and beverages sold at our Hospital will comply with the EHT Nutrition Standards. The standards always prefer unprocessed or minimally processed foods, freshly made dishes and homemade meals compared to ultra-processed foods. Ultra-processed foods will not be sold.

  1. What are the various types of processed foods?

Unprocessed foods are obtained directly from plants or animals.

Minimally processed foods are foods that have been cleaned, ground, dried, fermented, pasteurized, cooled, frozen or had inedible or unwanted parts removed, but have not had oils, fats, sugar or salt added. An example would be a fresh pineapple.

Processed foods resemble unprocessed foods and have been manufactured with added salt, sugar, or oil. An example would be canned pineapple.

Ultra-processed foods are made of industrial ingredients and other substances derived from foods, plus additives. They contain little, if any originally intact food. An example would be pineapple flavoured candy.

  1. What sort of food and drink will be available at events at our Hospital?

All food and beverages catered at events onsite at our Hospital will meet the EHT Nutrition Standards. Event organizers and vendors are responsible to ensure food and beverage offerings comply with the EHT Nutrition Standards.

  1. I have special dietary restrictions. How will these be accommodated with the menu changes?

The EHT Nutrition Standards are designed to accommodate common dietary restrictions. Questions regarding the specifics of menu offerings should be directed to the vendors.

  1. Are the EHT Nutrition Standards evidence-based?

The EHT Nutrition Standards are based on a combination of best practice literature and philosophies, and provide guiding principles from which to positively impact the food environment.  Canada’s Food Guide (2019) and the Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population (2014) were the most influential documents in drafting the EHT Nutrition Standards.

  1. Isn’t what we eat a matter of personal choice?

Our Hospital supports people to make healthy choices. While anyone may bring foods of their choice to consume at the Hospital, we will offer healthy options for sale.

  1. Are other hospitals doing this?

Yes. Many hospitals and health care organizations have implemented healthy eating initiatives and others are in the process. They are all driven by the philosophy the foods sold by health care facilities should be healthy. Some examples include the Champlain LHIN’s Healthy Foods in Hospital Program, Capital Health’s Healthy Eating Strategy in Nova Scotia and Alberta Health Services’ Healthy Eating Environment Policy.

  1. Can I bring food and beverages to our Hospital that do not meet the EHT Nutrition Standards? (e.g. in my lunch or a snack for an inpatient family member)

Yes, food and beverages brought to the Hospital for personal consumption are not impacted by EHT.

  1. How will patients, visitors and staff learn about EHT?

Our Hospital is committed to promotion, training and education to enhance awareness and understanding of EHT. Examples include point of sale communication, information sessions, and education in our Hospital, media and online.

  1. How will EHT be enforced?

Retail food outlet vendors are contractually obligated to comply with the EHT Nutrition Standards. Compliance is monitored through their contracts and by the EHT Steering Committee assessment tool.

  1. Will food and beverages sold at our Hospital cost more under EHT?

The price of food sold at our Hospital is set by each retail food outlet vendor and are typically competitive. Evidence shows that healthy food need not be more expensive. A variety of healthy options at different prices will be offered.

  1. Will the EHT Nutrition Standards change with the release of the new Canada’s Food Guide?

The EHT Nutrition Standards will be periodically reviewed and adjusted, and compliance will be coordinated with the vendors.

  1. Does EHT affect the food served to patients?

Meals provided to inpatients and outpatients by Nutrition and Food Services are already healthy and meet their diverse nutrition needs. EHT focuses on food and beverages provided for sale.

For more information on Eating Healthy Together, including viewing our Hospital’s policy, Nutrition Standards, or speaking to a member of the Steering Committee, email