Food in Healthcare

CMTF formed a Food in Healthcare Working Group in early 2018 with the aim to address malnutrition through research, advocacy, and interdisciplinary collaboration on best practices for hospital foodservice. The working group is comprised of Food Service Directors and Clinical Nutrition Leaders.


Menu Planning in Long Term Care and Canada’s Food Guide (2019) - July 2020
Dietitians of Canada convened a group of engaged dietitians from across the country to discuss the impact of the 2019 version of Canada’s Food Guide (CFG) as they relate to LTC menu planning. L’Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ) and Canadian Malnutrition Task Force (CMTF) noted similar concerns and engaged in joint development of this guidance. Health Canada and provincial government departments involved in inspecting and licensing LTC homes were made aware of the project. 

Hospital Foodservice Standards and Practices to Prevent Malnutrition
Speakers: Heather Fletcher RD and Janice Sorensen PhD
Evidence-based hospital foodservice standards will help to ensure that food is an effective first line of defense to prevent and treat malnutrition. Current standards and practices are shared and next steps towards the implementation of Canadian standards are discussed. 

Reframing Healthy Food in Health Care
The question of what qualifies as “healthy” food is highly contested in health care and beyond. This webinar from August 2018 offers varying perspectives from four thought-leaders on how hospitals and health care facilities can lead the charge in expanding the definition of healthy food, to better serve people, patients, and planet. Panelists (Kelly Gordon, R.D Six Nations Health Services; Diane Imrie, Director of Nutrition at the University of Vermont Medical Centre; chef Joshna Maharaj, Take Back the Tray; and Dr Janice Sorensen, Langara College) explore ways to better connect food and health through the patient meal experience, food service operations, food environments, and making connections from health care settings into community.

Summary Report: Putting quality food on the tray

Between September 2017 and August 2020, researchers from the University of Guelph and the University of Waterloo conducted a study to examine patients’ perceptions of food served in hospitals. Led by Dr Lisa Duizer and Dr Heather Keller and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the primary aim of this work was to raise awareness of the importance of the quality of food served within Ontario hospitals to food satisfaction and intake. Read the full Summary Report.

Hospital Food Experience Questionnaire

The Hospital Food Experience Questionnaire is a valid and reliable tool that can be used by hospitals to identify patient priorities for hospital food and foodservice, and sensory ratings of meals. Created in Ontario with input from national stakeholders, this tool predicts food intake at a single meal and is associated with foodservice attributes such as food delivery models.

The full form (HFEQ) is 22 items in length, while a short version is only 11 items in length (HFEQ-short form). As hospitals may be only interested in one section of the HFEQ, they can also use the patient food (HFEQ Food) or food-related priority questions (HFEQ food-related) on their own, as well as the sensory ratings. Higher scores indicate a greater priority or better sensory ratings for meal items.

Educational recordings from past CMTF / Canadian Nutrition Society webinars and events may be accessed through the Canadian Nutrition Society Education Portal.


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