Hospital Food, My experience.

Baby Judah struggled to gain weight after birth and lost 15% of his birth weight which led to an awful lot of stress and a hospital admission. We are ok now and he is small but perfectly formed πŸ™‚

Now in my mind anyone in hospital needs a nutritious meal and not only that it needs to be appetising or it won’t be eaten. So imagine my surprise when I was dished up these beauties: 

I had several meals where elements of the meal were not sent over by the kitchen. This ranged from the piece of fruit to the entire main course not arriving. Pretty tricky for the poor ward staff who were left with a breastfeeding mum with a wheat intolerance and a few other dietary needs who they had to rustle someting up for. I must say how good the ward staff were and how annoyed they were by the whole palava. 
I got round the tricky food issue by ordering lots of jacket potatoes and asking friends to bring food in. Not ideal but it got me through.
I found the whole experience eye opening as a dietitian. I’ve later learnt that this particular hospital has a reputation for its bad food, sad isn’t it…… I’d love to know your experiences and thoughts on hospital food.

23 thoughts on “Hospital Food, My experience.”

  1. I gave birth to my son in the early hours of the morning. Feeling like I’d run 3 marathons, cycled 100 miles and done a few rounds in the boxing ring I was completely exhausted. we slept through breakfast and as I found out later in the afternoon, you had to go and fetch your own lunch from the trolley in the corridor. So I missed lunch too! I couldn’t have got out of bed if I tried but no one helped or told me anything. So can’t comment on the food as I didn’t have any! Thank god I took my own packet of jelly babies in! My husband brought me a sandwich then we went home. Great eh!

    1. Bless you, giving birth has always left me starving! I had similar with baby 1 as I didn’t know you had to fetch your own breakfast… I was offered toast but am wheat intolerant πŸ˜‰

  2. Hi Priya, As you know, I work in the NHS as a Nutritionist and I always think our food has issues and gluten free menu not big enough etc but now don’t think we are too bad in comparison!!!
    Cheers, Andie x

  3. Hi Priya,

    I have just started volunteering at Southampton General as a Meal Time Assistant.
    I have so far been unimpressed with the meals provided to patients. It must be hard enough to have an appetite when feeling ill, let alone to be served food very similar to your pictures.
    I am also pretty disgusted that the entrance to the general has a Burger King and a Costa Coffee… not the best food options for gaining and maintaining health.
    I wish there were some way to improve hospital food.

    1. Thankyou for your comments Zoe. Yes appetising food is a must! Great to have people like you volunteering, it can make such a difference, so thankyou! I think Burger King must pay a lot of money to have that spot! Its certainly something that annoys many I believe but it has been there for years sadly πŸ™

  4. Wow, I’ve seen some poor hospital food before now but those look dreadful! Poor you! I’m sometimes surprised at how the ward meals can be so poor when if you go to the actual canteen, some hospitals have a reasonable selection of healthy food which isn’t too bad!

    1. Unfortunately this hospital has no canteen on site, you have to go over the road to the main hospital to get to the canteen, hard to do with a small baby but I wish I have thought os it!

  5. all could be changed, hospitals should use qualified chef not a chef from agency how they do. it would cost more for the start but after it would bring profit and comfort of patients. I am flying to Scotland next week to build new healthy menu in one of hosppitals near Glasgow, More than happy to jump in to more NHS kitchens and sort them out.

  6. As a teenager I worked in a local hospital kitchen. It was an eye opener into the pressures of staff turnover and budgets. I was ashamed of the food I sent out knowing the patients need to be receiving a more nutritional and appealing diet than usual to help them convalesce. Sadly many years on whilst staying in a different hospital after the birth of my baby I found that food had improved very little. With lactose and gluten intolerance there were few choices and certainly no balanced nutrition. Sad when we can cook such variety at home. When we are at our most vulnerable we need looking after by hospitals who are supposed to be specialist in our medical needs!

    1. Thanks for commenting Emma, I do agree that good nutrition is key in promoting healing and health, so hospitals should be leading the way with providing this really.

  7. The photos of the meals look so horrible, what a disgrace.

    When I had a spinal fusion a couple of years ago I was in a private Central London hospital for a week. The food was like a gourmet restaurant. I had a choice of three options for each meal. I remember eating porridge for breakfast, soup for lunch, salmon fillet in a creamy pesto sauce with brown rice and veg for dinner and I was brought fresh fruit several times a day, they even made me smoothies!

    I did not receive quite the same service after giving birth. I saw my meal and then had to send my husband out to Costa in the hospital for a sandwich. I felt that I deserved a bit more than red slop after giving birth!

    1. Wow 2 completely opposite experiences. That just highlights how varied hospital food really can be! Fresh fruit was one thing I kept asking for but it was in very short supply.

  8. I have multiple food & medication allergies and when I had spinal surgery 2 years ago here in Australia at a private hospital, I was continually given foods and drinks which contained my allergens. I gave the hospital a detailed list of my allergies before my admission and they even sent the hospital dietitian to see me, she checked my list but sadly it didn’t make much difference as they still kept sending me things I couldn’t eat or drink. To be fair what I could eat of the food they sent was very good, although anything would have tasted good after 5 days on a liquid only diet, I suspect. When you have allergies and don’t have family or friends that can help by bringing you suitable foods it must be terrible to go to hospital.

  9. I was also amazed by the hospital food when I when in to have my babies. Breakfast was particularly poor — white bread, jam, cornflakes, and orange juice. I don’t think that’s what a new mum needs to see the morning after giving birth. A bowl of hot porridge would have been fantastic, or better still some eggs!

    1. Yes I do agree porridge or eggs would be great. There was the option of wheat bisks where I was which was good. I guess it all comes down to cost sadly πŸ™ Thanks for joining the discussion.

  10. Having had three extra long stays in the same hospital after three of my four children were born, I have to say that fortunately I didn’t have the same experience as you. Granted I don’t have a particular dietary need so could eat anything off the menu. I found the food better than expected for a hospital. My only complaint would have been to have had a slightly bigger sized meal and a slightly warmer one. The sandwiches were always a little crusty though!

  11. Maureen MacLaren

    Whilst recovering from a c section, I was put on a reduced calorie diet by the hospital. One meal. Consisted of steamed fish and mashed turnip, a grey meal on a grey plate, I complained, and it was replaced by a grey rice pudding on a grey plate. I asked to see the chef, and explained to him that I didn’t see why diet meals had to be bland, I must say they improved after that little incident.

    1. Well done you for complaining. I think the chefs have a hard job as they have to provide food for so many people, but it can be made nutritious and appetitising, it just requires a lot of planning!

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