Thursday, February 17, 2011

Is Hospital Food Healthy?

Hospitals are supposed to be havens of healthy lifestyles, right? They are huge buildings that house people for the sole purpose of making the sick better. Makes sense that at its core hospitals would serve healthy and delicious food for all of their patients and visitors.


Oh, excuse me…. I just fell out of my chair from laughing at that.

In my last two posts I (lovingly) detailed husbands recent adventure at our local wellness center. While he was there, both times, I couldn’t help but observe the culinary wonders they brought him for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Okay… so let’s put it out there. The vast majority of people at hospitals are old folks who can’t live without their Friday fish sandwich and slice of enriched white bread. But for reals people, you can’t tell me that hospitals can’t offer some more nutritious and vegetable centered cuisine. I mean, really? Am I being to ignorant?

In case you didn’t know, husband is not a chubby vegan- just a chubby carnivore. We are a mixed family and we deal with that. So while at the hospital he was served a variety of plates of pork chops, chicken things, and crab cakes. They did ask him if he had any dietary needs, which he does not. I imagine this is probably meant more for diabetics and food allergies, but I really wanted to ask them if they could accommodate a vegan diet. Since I didn’t ask, I will try not to judge too much.

However, I just wish that hospitals would step it up a bit. His plates all looked like those crappy pictures from 8th grade nutrition class (fistful of meat, palm full of vegetables, and a scoop of starchy something). Lame…

In all reality I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I have read that medical doctors only get about a second of nutrition training. Plus, how many medical professionals are smoking cigarettes and drinking gallons of soda and energy drinks. Right?

*stepping off my soap box*

If you want to read more about my venture into the hospital cafeteria and their vast assortment (lies) of vegan food, follow me after the jump.

On Saturday I decided to take a visit to the hospital cafeteria for lunch. Ready for the list of vegan options… Brace yourself.
Salad Bar
Peanut Butter & Jelly
But, I am keeping it positive. I am thankful for what they had and it had actually been quite a while since I ate at a salad bar. It reminded me of when I first became a vegetarian in college and the salad bar made up my lunch and dinner everyday. Wasn’t so chubby then! Maybe I was on to something...

Vegetables in their raw and sexy form are so beautiful. I devoured this salad with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette; which I must say is a widely underused flavor combination. 

I enjoyed this with a side of celery and peanut butter… 

Remember when people ate celery, PB, added raisins and called it “Ants on a Log?” Anyone? Anyone?

The best part of all of this was that it was pretty cheap. So, that was a win in the situation.

Maybe I should go to the hospital more to eat from the salad bar and visit the Pittsburgh Nanas. I could bring them better than sex chocolate chip cookies and there is no doubt they will love me forever, or try setting me up with their granddaughters. Either one.

Who is joining me?


  1. Have you ever seen a McDonalds INSIDE a hospital? Yeah, that one always makes me irate.

    They are basically keeping themselves in business. Making the sick sicker through food. Keeps the beds full, I suppose.

  2. McDonald's... Hospital! Something doesn't add up in that equation.

  3. I was in the ER once for kidney stones, and they charged me 80 cents for one Ibuprofen. I can't imagine what they would charge for things if they had to start serving quality (expensive) food.

  4. When I was in the hospital after having my son, they gave me a menu to choose my meals from. They knew I was vegan and each meal had one vegan option. My breakfast option was toast with peanut butter. My lunch AND dinner options were a Gardenburger. Thanks. For breakfast, they brought me eggs and bacon instead. My husband was overjoyed since he hadn't eaten for almost a day. I was less enthused, having just labored for 42 hours and wanting to devour anything in my path. Luckily, they had crackers and peanut butter in the family room. The lunch Gardenburger came and it was wet. I decided to check out early and get some real food.

  5. Christina- that is absurd... I had a feeling that would happen if I asked. Either that or it would be a week of fruit salad and vegetable broth. I have a vegan friend who is pregnant, i will have to warn her! :)


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