Savvy clinical nutrition management personnel know that hospital patient satisfaction is an important factor in their operations. That’s why it’s crucial to stay up to date on the latest food trends and work to incorporate them into your menu plan. One popular food trend that’s sweeping the nation involves portable, drinkable menu items like healthy smoothies, milkshakes and slushies. There are many reasons why these types of foods should be included on a hospital menu – especially because they can be so healthy!
Examining the trends
Drinkable desserts and healthy smoothies are the two main components of the drinkable foods fad, and each is a good option for any menu. CulinaryTrends.net noted that some desserts in particular, like root beer floats and milkshakes, can appeal to the inner child of diners, bringing back childhood memories and indulging their sweet tooths. And just because drinkable desserts taste sweet doesn’t mean they need to be unhealthy, either – ingredients like low-fat Greek yogurt, nuts, honey and agave nectar are all good-for-you choices.
That’s not to mention the whole idea behind smoothies, especially green ones that incorporate fruits and vegetables into the mix. As U.S. News & World Report pointed out, smoothies are appealing because they taste great, offer a variety of benefits and nutrients, and can be tailored to fit any diet. They’re also easy to drink on the go if patients or healthcare providers have someplace to be.
Checking out the benefits
So, how can these liquid desserts and smoothies benefit your operation as well as your patients? For one thing, many recipes can be made with ingredients that you probably already have at your disposal, meaning you don’t have to go out of your way to secure any obscure add-ins. They’re also relatively easy to make – most just require a blender.
And for patients, there are a variety of reasons why these drinks are ideal. For example, they don’t require chewing and they’re pretty easy to digest, which is good news for patients who may have just undergone surgery or who don’t feel up to eating solid food. Many smoothies can also be meal replacements, so patients don’t have to worry about skipping meals if they don’t feel well enough for a traditional breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Looking at add-ins
While you can find plenty of recipes for drinkable desserts and smoothies, it never hurts to brush up on some of the most beneficial add-ins that can give hospital patients a nutritional boost. Consider some of these options.
– Green tea: Whether in powder or liquid form, green tea has lots of free-radical fighting catechins, which are a type of antioxidant.
– Peanut butter: As long as patients aren’t allergic to peanuts, peanut butter is a great choice because it’s packed with protein, manganese and niacin, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and promote weight loss if eaten in moderation.
– Blueberries: With plenty of antioxidants, blueberries can help fight against aging and aid in reversing memory loss and preventing cognitive decline.
– Pomegranate: EatingWell magazine pointed out that preliminary research has shown that pomegranates may be able to help relieve sore muscles after exercise, which may be beneficial to some patients. Plus, they’re stuffed with antioxidants.
– Flaxseed: Full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that improve heart health and fiber that aids in digestion, flaxseed is a great add-in to any recipe.
– Pineapple: According to Men’s Health magazine, pineapple has lots of bromelain, which is an enzyme that can help fight cancer and reduce inflammation.
– Ginger: Health magazine noted that ginger can add a cozy, warming effect to a smoothie, and ginger is also known to help ease upset stomachs.
– Honey: A great natural sweetener, honey is also good for soothing sore throats.