Working in hospital food service, you know how hard it can be sometimes to get patients to eat healthy. However, you have to keep clinical nutrition in mind when planning your hospital menu, since patients need to be consuming nutritious products, rather than ones filled with fat, sugar and calories. If you’re looking for ways to keep things healthy and delicious, you may want to add some Mediterranean items to your hospital menu.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean diet can be very good for heart health, and research continues to show how beneficial this diet can be. For example, a study conducted in Sweden found that people who followed a Mediterranean diet had a 20 percent higher chance of living longer than those who did not. The researchers discovered that older people who followed this eating plan lived two to three years longer than those who did not. Furthermore, researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center conducted a study which highlighted the fact that this diet may be associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment.
“The conclusion we can draw from these studies is that there is no doubt that a Mediterranean diet is linked to better health, not only for the elderly but also for youngsters”, said researcher Gianluca Tognon from the Swedish study.
Clearly, the Mediterranean diet may help keep the mind and the heart strong. However, you may be worried about whether you’ll be able to get some of the pickier eaters in your hospital to enjoy it. The best thing about this diet is that not only is it healthy – it’s delicious as well. While other diets may call for people to cut out all fat and sugar, the Mediterranean diet is all about increasing the amount of healthy fats people eat, to give them plenty of taste without all of the artery-clogging properties.
Tips for cooking it
So what sort of dishes should you add to your menu to give patients some Mediterranean options? First, this diet calls for you to replace unhealthy sources of fat – such as butter – with olive oil whenever possible. Unlike butter, olive oil is low in saturated fat and contains healthy, omgea-3 fatty acids.
There are many ways to use olive oil. For example, TLC explained that olive oil can be used as a salad dressing, in marinades or sauces for meat, fish, poultry and vegetables, drizzled over cooked pasta and vegetable and even put into mashed potatoes rather than butter.
Along with using olive oil often, the Mediterranean diet calls for more fish and less meat. Healthy fish such as salmon is packed with vitamins and nutrients, and there are many delicious ways to serve it. You can even make fish sticks to serve to kids, which they may be more likely to enjoy than fish served other ways.
Of course, this diet. Also calls for plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. These are foods that you probably already work hard to add into your hospital menu anyway, but you may want to look into more creative ways to it. For example, you can make a vegetable risotto with some whole grain rice that is sure to go over well in your hospital.
While it may not be possible for you to serve all Mediterranean foods, you should consider adding some dishes to your menu that fit into this eating plan.