What are we feeding our sick people?

This is a controversial topic and I am by no means a dietician or nutritionist.  I have a basic foundation of knowledge on diets and nutrition based on my training and life experiences.  This is my opinion only and I do not write this with the intention of badmouthing hospitals as they do an amazing job and I am forever grateful for the service they provide.  I just want to pose the question.  I had a four-day glance at the menus over a period of time.  Had I not been so stressed about the situation that leads family members to be in hospital, I would probably have taken more photos of the menu and food.

This is based on having 3 separate recent occasions whereby family members ended up in hospital. Its a question that has been sitting in the back of my mind for a while …. What are we feeding our sick people??

 Our first trip to hospital and after nearly 24 hours of nil by mouth for the patient the meal that evening was processed sausages,  frozen vegetables – peas, cubed carrot and potato mash.  There is nothing wrong with sausages but obviously, there is a big difference between a decent sausage and a bad one.  These looked nasty!!  Spongy looking carrot and peas, it certainly wasn’t making me feel nourished looking at it.  Luckily the patient was starving and therefore not going to judge, but scoff.    Looking at that plate of food I struggled to see much nutritional value in it.

Visit number 2. It was dinner time and my 2-year-old son was given a burger (primo processed patty).  It also included an orange juice which was super sweet.  When I read the ingredients after water and sugar the third ingredient was reconstituted orange juice 5%.) then there was jelly and ice cream (which is probably good if they are struggling to eat I guess.)  Could this not be offered as a real fruit ice cream or jelly I wonder?  The breakfasts consisted of cornflakes or Ricie’s, both are highly processed and provide short-lived bursts of energy and are not very sustainable.  What happened to good old porridge or some fresh fruit instead of the tinned pears which I’m sure he didn’t even recognise as a fruit.

Lunch consisted of a processed cheese sandwich and sliced beef on a slice white bread, chocolate chip cookies, strawberry yoghurt and an apple.  Again that seriously sweet orange juice.  My boys don’t get that much sugar during their day usually so to fuel him up on this seemed wrong.  Is this really the best we can do?

I guess it is hard for hospitals to please everyone.  There are a lot of policies that I am unaware of as well as budget restrictions etc, but could we be doing it better?

Again I know this is for a child but my boys are big eaters and these are foods that most people know are not the breakfast of champions.  How is that to sustain a small child.?

My experience as a new Mum in the maternity ward left me feeling mostly hungry all the time.  It’s a real shame that specific wards don’t address specific dietary needs.  Like the need for a high-calorie diet for a new Mum who is waiting for her milk to come in.  I spent 3 days in a hospital after my first child was born but left on the first day after my second.  Mostly because I knew I would get hungry but also I was fortunate enough to have a better option where my massive appetite was met – thankyou Bethlehem birth centre.

We all know one of best things we can do is to nourish our bodies when ill.

Is this an issue we need to push more?  Let’s help our sick people get better starting with what we offer them to eat to aid in their recovery.  If this has struck a chord with anyone I would really love to hear about your experiences with hospital food and what your thoughts are on this?

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Margaret Hendra says:

    When john had surgery he was fed chewy toast and cornflakes for brekkie – was meant to be soft diet as he couldn’t swallow- he was so hungry found way to get down much to amazement of surgeon who was horrified!! They didn’t take into account the surgery or needs of patient but hey- he survived!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Curious Kale says:

    Oh dear! Cornflakes and chewy toast, what a trooper! He’s a survivor!


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