A Few Thoughts on Hospital Food


After spending a few nights in the hospital, recovering from surgery, I will share a few thoughts on hospital food. Thinking I would be offered Jello of every color of the rainbow, imagine my surprise when in fact, I was not offered Jello at all. What a relief!

But do not get too excited. Hospital food probably would not live up to Master Chef expectations. My children thought that if they made the food too good, patients would want to stay longer than needed, thus making a shortage of available rooms. True…

The first day, do not expect to get any choices. The tray will magically appear with a little lid over the plate. Lift the lid and voila, the meal is revealed. After that, the nutritionist will take orders either via phone or in person with a handy little I-Pad type device. She’ll be a stickler though, so be aware; she will require the adequate amount of food groups, calories, carbohydrates, etc…

The nutritionist taking my orders was very pleasant not only in personality, but to look at as well. On first introduction, she had on BRIGHT red eye shadow with a matching red flower in her dark hair. The next day, it was BRIGHT blue eye shadow with matching blue hair accessories. She was young and liked to make a statement. This I found uplifting and cheery. I asked her how many shades of eye shadow she owned. Around sixty was her reply. Plus she could mix these palettes, so the possibilities seemed endless.

My biggest tip on eating hospital food is… Be sure to eat the cold foods first. This is important because all of the food trays are delivered to the floor at once; and it takes a while to pass them all out. The hot items come covered to keep the heat in. However, the cold items can get to room temperature pretty quickly. Milk, yogurt, pudding, and the like, will taste better cold. Also, even though ice cream is a dessert, it MELTS! This was the disappointment I faced when I had finally finished my dinner, anticipating the vanilla ice cream to come, only to find it had melted to soup with a small ball of ice cream in the center. Wow! Luckily, my husband knew where to score a replacement and was off to get one right away. Apparently, a nurse told him where to find the freezer with the ice cream, should he want any. The only thing was, they were out of vanilla and only had chocolate or rainbow sherbert. Ice cream is ice cream ,in my opinion, so chocolate it was. Thanks Honey!

Another tip…order the foods that are hard to mess up on. Grilled chicken is usually a safe bet. I thought tilapia would be safe, however, mine came tough and rubbery. I’ve never had that problem with my tilapia at home. Where were they fishing? Mashed potatoes are also a pretty safe bet and as a comfort food will be welcomed. The creamed chicken soup was soothing. As a matter of fact, I ordered it twice. Anything with melted cheese should be eaten pretty quickly (like the ice cream) so the cheese doesn’t get hard. Just saying…

Since the appetite is usually off when in the hospital, it helps to stay with comfort foods. Just listen to the stomach and eat slowly and only the amount that is tolerable. If the tilapia is rubbery, push it aside. Also, remember that it helps to eat the foods in an order that will benefit their temperature, making them more desirable to eat. Mostly, recognize that it is not a five star Michelin restaurant, and hopefully the stay will be short and home cooking will be in sight soon. Bon Appetit!