Why Is Hospital Food So Unhealthy?

Over the course of the past several months, my mother has been in and out of the hospital. I’ve never really spent much time in hospitals, so I suppose it’s no surprise that I am just now noticing the state of the food that is there and available. I’m not talking about the cafeteria where visitors of patients can go to get something to eat. I’m talking about the food that is offered to the people who are there for treatment.

I was shocked to see the types of foods that were listed as choices on the menu. There were so many processed foods, with little to no nutritional value at all. Now of course I know that since the Standard American Diet contains mostly processed foods, the hospitals are most likely trying to provide food that Americans want to eat. However, what happens if someone is actually interested in eating something healthy while they are there? If a patient wanted to eat something fresh and unprocessed, it would have been a huge challenge.

When I tried to do a quick Internet search on this topic, I came up pretty empty-handed. There aren’t many articles from health professionals addressing this. There are lots of people asking the same question — Why aren’t hospitals offering MOSTLY healthy food options to hospital patients? —  but no one seems to be providing an answer. All I could find were examples of some hospitals doing it differently. For instance, this article about a hospital in Virginia that offers fresh, organic options. I also found information about the Healthier Hospitals Initiative on this website, which was encouraging.

Overall, however, I’m not hearing a lot about this problem. Perhaps it’s because I’m not involved with hospitals on a daily basis. Maybe there’s this huge focus on it going on “behind the scenes” that I just don’t see. I really hope so.

If you work for or with a hospital, I’d love to get your take on it! Feel free to contact me and let me know your thoughts.

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