Peninsula Health is increasing healthy food and drink options to support your wellbeing

This blog was written by Andie Murphy, an IUHPE – Registered Health Promotion Practitioner at Peninsula Health.

We know that when we increase the availability of healthy food and drink options it supports our overall wellbeing. 

What is the Healthy Choices Policy Directive? 

Peninsula Health has been working with Healthy Eating Advisory Service (HEAS) to support The Victorian Department of Health’s ‘Healthy Choices Policy Directive’, which directs all public hospitals and health services to ensure that healthier food and drinks are sold, provided and promoted at their facilities. For further information: Healthy Choices Policy Directive

As a large healthcare organisation, Peninsula Health believes it is has an important leadership role in providing our people with healthy food and drink options and the directive helps reinforce health services as places that support the health and wellbeing of staff, volunteers, patients and visitors.

Healthy choices Policy Directive video HEAS: 

This directive applies to all food and drinks available within public hospitals and health services and it is defined by the Healthy Eating Advisory Service Traffic Light System to categorise drinks into three groups: GREENAMBER and RED

What is the traffic light system? 

The traffic light system describes foods and drinks in three categories with a set criteria to help classify what category a food or drink item is 

GREEN (best options), AMBER (choose carefully) or RED (limit). 

At Peninsula Health café’s you will be able to easily identify the drinks that are best for you using this simple traffic light system. Each category will be clearly labelled to help you with your purchase. 

GREEN drinks will be at the top of the fridge, AMBER drinks without sweetener will be in the middle then AMBER drinks with sweetener will be at the bottom. 

There will be no more RED drink items available at any of our food outlets as of 30 September 2022.

Let’s talk GREEN 

No matter what our age, gender or culture is opting to include more food and drinks that are from the GREEN category will support your health by reducing your risk of disease and by helping you to be both physically and mentally well. Furthermore, opting for GREEN food and drinks allows us to role model for those we love and support, such as our children and families, work colleagues and patients.

How can you support your wellbeing? 

Starting small and aiming for achievable changes can be the best way to ensure long-term sustainable wellbeing. This can be achieved by increasing wholesome nutritious foods and snacks such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrain cereals, nuts, and seeds. When you are at work and on the run remember to limit your intake of ultra-processed fast foods that have high amounts of added sugars, unhealthy fats and salt in them.

While at work you might like to consider the following examples:

Examples of drinks to include daily are:

  • Water:  plain or unflavoured water (tap, spring, mineral, soda, sparkling)
  • Milk: Reduced-fat plain milk 
  • Flavoured milk: Reduced-fat flavoured milk and calcium fortified flavoured milk alternatives that are equal to or less than 900 kJ per serve as sold
  • Milk alternatives: Calcium-fortified milk alternatives (including soy/rice/almond drink)
  • Tea and coffee without added sugar

Examples of foods to include could be:

Sandwiches, salad rolls and wraps, veggie-based soups, salads, fruits, sushi or rice-paper rolls or hot meals that consist from some of the following: 

  • Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain high fibre varieties
  • Milk, yoghurt, cheese and/or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat
  • Lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
  • Variety of fresh and/or frozen vegetables and salads 
  • Variety of fresh and/or frozen fruits 

Benefits of opting for GREEN products for your health 

Foods and drinks in the GREEN category are the healthiest choices and they usually:

  • Are a good sources of important nutrients
  • Are lower in saturated fat, added sugar and/or salt
  • Are higher in fibre
  • Improve and maintain good levels of motivation and energy 
  • Reduce unwanted fatigue 
  • Increase our mood

Professor Felice Jacka, Director of the internationally renowned Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University, and president of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research, says: 

“Across the world, studies have shown that people whose food intake have more whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, wholegrain cereals, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans), fish, and nuts and seeds, are about 30% less likely to develop depression”.

Our venues that will meet the directive and have a variety of healthy food and drinks 

  • Kafe K: 
    • Frankston Hospital Level 2
  • Pink Ladies: 
    • Frankston Hospital Level 3 Main Entrance 
  • Dominio 3 Cafe: 
    • Frankston Integrated Community Health 
    • Frankston Emergency Department 
  • Ernie’s: 
    • Golf Links Road 
    • The Mornington Centre
  • Rosebud Kiosk: 
    • Rosebud Hospital Main Entrance
  • The Coffee Cart: 
    • Frankston Public Surgical Centre Main Entrance 
  • Vending Machines: 
    • All sites 
  • Catering 
    • All departments ​​​​​​​