The Facade of Healthy Hospital Dining

Posted by in Diet, Hospital Nutrition, Patient Health

Hospitals are supposed to exemplify and emit an aura that promotes living a healthy lifestyle. Or so one would think. When most people go to the hospital, it goes without saying that their expectations are to not only receive excellent quality medical care, but also to leave healthier than when they arrived. In theory this concept seems to be a plausible one, however reality proves to be quite different. Case in point focusing specifically on hospital food.

Most hospitals typically don’t focus their dietary goals around the premise of providing holistic nutrition. Instead, a patient is offered or ‘given’ whatever meal plan their doctor ordered for them. These good old fashioned hospital staples range from clear liquids all the way to a regular foods tray. Whatever that means. Typically clear liquids are given to patients who have recently received anesthesia or underwent a surgical procedure with hopes of transitioning them back to being able to tolerate more solid food. The items that comprise a clear liquid tray are predominantly those that contain vast amounts of sodium and sugar. Does a salty, sugary clear liquid diet seem appropriate for a patient with diabetes or who has a cardiac history? I don’t think so. Providing patients with proper nutrition and education in order to facilitate better disease management, prevention, and overall well being should take more precedence in hospital based care.