Celebrity chefs have stepped in to overhaul hospital food and catering facilities. James Martin was tasked with revamping the menu and facilities at Scarborough General Hospital for the BBC. The BBC broadcast the project, called Operation Hospital Food. He redesigned hospital food to be more nutritious and appealing to patients. In the process, he raised the profile of hospital food in the UK.
The Healthy Hospital Food Initiative (HHFI) is a voluntary program for hospital cafeterias. It aims to improve the quality of hospital meals by reducing sodium and fat content, and increasing the number of servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. The Healthy Hospital Food Initiative has seen some success so far, but more hospitals will need to join the program to meet its goals.
The menus in most hospital cafeterias are produced by institutional food companies. These companies specialize in making food for hospitals, prisons, and schools. They focus on high volume at low costs and use their extensive distribution systems to send food to hospitals at a fraction of the cost. This food is often past its prime by the time it reaches the hospital. It often contains high amounts of sodium and saturated fat.
The food served in hospital cafeterias is not always healthy, which can make patients feel worse. However, this food is partially subsidized by the hospital. In addition, if the patient does not have access to funds to pay for the food, family and friends can bring them their own food. By doing so, hospitals are able to keep the prices low.
Another initiative to improve hospital food is the Meatless Mondays initiative, which was launched at New York Presbyterian Medical Center in January 2018. Meatless Mondays is a new initiative from the department of food and nutrition and the NYPBeHealthy and NYPGreen programs. The goal is to provide an alternative to unhealthy meat and poultry meals. This initiative aims to educate employees, patients, and visitors about healthy foods and how to eat them.
One of the largest medical centers in the country, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, has several locations in different states. For their fine dining facility, they have a chef with 21 years of experience. Some of her most popular dishes are buffalo meatloaf and stuffed tenderloin. The restaurant incorporates seasonal fruits and vegetables into the menus. It also offers a salad bar for patients.
As a result, hospital food has a bad reputation. Most hospitals serve food that is unhealthy and fatty. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) recently surveyed the hospital food services in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Some even have fast-food establishments inside their buildings. The study found that 20 hospitals serve McDonald’s, 18 serve Chick-fil-A, and five serve Wendy’s.
Aside from meat, fish, and vegetables, many hospitals offer vegetarian and kosher options. Many hospitals also offer food for people with food allergies. Although hospital food may not be the healthiest choice for patients, it can provide comfort and a positive experience. Some meals are even tasty!