Food for Hospital Patients: Promoting Healthy Eating

a doctor writing on a paper

A hospital is where the sick and injured go to get better. A hospital can be a scary place for some, but it’s also a refuge for those who need comfort and support. One thing that hospital patients often miss while they’re there is the healthy food being served to them.

It’s essential to ensure hospital patients eat healthy foods. Healthy food can help them recover faster, reduce their risk of getting infections, and improve their overall mood. Even though not all patients appreciate hospital food, these foods are much healthier than what they would eat at home.

Hospital orderlies usually bring food to their patients along with a medical supply cart equipped with medications intended for patients based on their hospital admission information. The hospital usually reminds their patients of the next meal served to them. Still, they may also have the option to request an earlier or later meal if it’s more convenient for them.

Understanding Hospital Food

Hospitals have an obligation to promote a healthy diet for all of their patients, regardless of whether or not they want to follow it themselves. In fact, over 50 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, which means that there’s no way out of promoting healthier eating habits in hospitals.

There are many reasons why hospitals must serve their patients healthy foods. For example, hospital food can help reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). HAIs are a severe problem in hospitals and affect about one in 25 hospital patients each year. One way to reduce the risk of HAIs is to make sure that hospital patients are eating healthy and nutritious foods.

Another reason hospital food should be healthy is that it can help improve patient outcomes. Studies have shown that hospital patients who eat a healthy diet recover faster and have fewer complications than those who don’t. Therefore, patients should always consume the foods given to them in the hospital.

What’s on the menu?

A lot of people think that hospital food is unhealthy and unappetizing. However, this is not always the case. Hospitals are starting to serve more healthy and nutritious foods to their patients to help them recover faster.

Here are some examples of the types of food that hospitals can serve their patients:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables

fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a healthy and delicious option for hospital patients. Some hospitals have started to serve fresh fruit baskets to their patients, including oranges, apples, bananas, grapes, or other types of fruits that they may enjoy.

In addition to serving fresh produce in the hospital dining rooms, many hospitals are also starting to incorporate these foods into meals to not feel like hospital food. Some examples of this are including fresh salads, fruits and veggies trays, or even fruit cups in between meals. These foods give patients a healthy treat when they might otherwise want something less nutritious.

  • Healthy snacks

Another way hospitals can incorporate healthier foods into what they serve their hospital is by ensuring healthy snack options for patients. For example, hospital patients might have access to nuts, seeds, yogurt, or fruit instead of processed snacks like chips or cookies.

This is important because hospital patients are often not in the best state of mind. They might be more likely to make unhealthy choices if they don’t have healthy options. Healthcare providers can successfully help patients achieve better health outcomes by providing more nutritious foods in the hospital.

  • Lean protein such as chicken or fish

Lean proteins such as chicken or fish are good options for hospital patients because they are high in protein and low in fat. Protein is essential for rebuilding muscle tissue, and it can help keep you feeling full after eating. Therefore, patients need to have access to lean protein sources in the hospital to maintain their health while they are recovering.

  • Whole grain bread and cereals

Whole grain bread and cereals are also crucial for hospital patients because they are high in fiber. Fiber can help reduce your risk of developing heart disease or cancer. In addition, whole grains are a good source of nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and selenium—all important for maintaining good health.

  • Low-fat dairy products

Low-fat dairy products are a good source of protein and calcium. Protein is vital for building muscles, while calcium is essential for maintaining bone health. Patients in the hospital should have access to low-fat dairy products to get these nutrients.

These foods provide patients with the nutrients they need to recover from illness or surgery. In addition, they can help prevent patients from developing health problems like obesity or heart disease. A healthy diet is an integral part of recovering from a hospital stay, so hospitals should serve these types of foods to their patients.

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