Hospital food

From Caroline — Blog by
March 27, 2009

After three post-partum days in the hospital, it was a relief to get home to genuine homemade food.

My hospital made an effort towards food awareness (statements on the patient menu about trying to source food locally, etc.), and some of the food was actually quite flavorful (salmon with fresh lemon and sour cream). But, by and large, the food was the expected amalgam of blah (lots of Jell-O and saltines) and pseudo-healthy (a breakfast sandwich that featured “reduced-fat cheese, lean ham, and a low-cholesterol egg”).

Most of the selections tasted canned (cream of tomato soup) instead of homemade as the menu promised. Worse, the food-service staff had been instructed to keep patients off whole grains and fiber for the first few days after surgery, on the theory that such foods would be difficult for recovering patients to digest. But if you’re already used to, say, oat-bran bread — and if you’re on constipation-inducing pain relievers — wouldn’t it be better to down some whole grains instead of white bread?

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1. by Kathryn H on Mar 30, 2009 at 7:18 AM PDT

First of all: Congratulations Caroline!

Hospital food has always seemed to me designed to extend illness rather than relieve it. A few years ago my husband suffered a moderately severe heart attack with no prior symptoms--we were shocked and disgusted by the food they served as a “cardiac prudent” diet: white bread sandwiches with processed meat and cheese, meat at every meal accompanied by mashed potatoes and gravy, canned vegetables, iceberg lettuce with fat-free commercial dressing, instant oatmeal, canned fruit and green bananas as the only fruit choices. When I brought him home-cooked whole and local foods the nurses took it away! I really think all medical professionals need to be required to take multiple, ongoing classes in nutrition and using food to promote health.

2. by Caroline Cummins on Mar 30, 2009 at 4:42 PM PDT

Too true — although we were allowed to bring in our own food, because my husband needed to eat while he stayed with me. His granola, fruit, and yogurt really saved me.

You can get desperate to eat in the hospital. When I finally talked a nurse into giving me something to eat beyond liquids, she brought me some Kozy Shack chocolate pudding. At the time, I thought it was the greatest food in the world.

3. by Kim on Mar 31, 2009 at 10:49 AM PDT

I hope as new parents you’re now getting spoiled at home with some home-cooked fare from friends and family. Or are you the last among your f&f to do home-cooked fare?

4. by JeanE23 on Apr 4, 2009 at 12:37 PM PDT

I recently had a run-in with hospital food - fortunately for one night/morning only. I actually didn’t mind the sugary & salty fare of the liquid diet. I appreciated the juices and broth for quickly delivering essential nutrients I needed after surgery. And I’ve never been a big fan of jello, but that red jello was the perfect soothing treat for my sore throat! However, I was just as glad to get home to the super-food soups we had prepared ahead - one with squash & kale and the other a barley minestrone.

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