One of the most annoying things about staying in a hospital for someone who is trying to eat healthy is the junk food that they tend to serve, all on the advice of a registered dietitian. The only time I had a week-long stay in a children’s hospital when I was a pre-teen, my grandparents sent a huge fruit basket, which was a welcome punctuation in the endless parade of Jello, mashed potatoes, and pudding. About twenty years later, it doesn’t sound like much has changed, as the place you are supposed to go to get better economizes on feeding a bunch of people by serving the same slop that you’ll find in a standard school lunch.
Finally, an effort is being made to serve patients food that actually helps them heal, thanks to Lynne Eddy, who is teaching Food Service Management in Health Care, and others in the food service areas of health care in the US. Seattle Children’s Hospital has swapped out white bread and pasta for the whole wheat varieties. Union Hospital in Elkton, MD is now feeding patients grass-fed beef and organic produce. More at Business Week.
While this is all very good for the patients, switching over to sustainable and healthy food is also a marketing point for the hospitals and health care centres that choose to adopt these practices. A health-conscious person, or even one that isn’t, may be more likely to spend a long or medium term stay at a hospital that serves up a stir fry made from local produce over a nondescript meatloaf in a calorie-laden gravy. Little things mean a lot to patients, and this is one little thing that could end up swaying some patients.