It’s often understood amongst those in hospital food service management, that it can sometimes be difficult to balance clinical nutrition and patient satisfaction. The reason? You want to serve patients tasty food that they enjoy, but it also has to be healthy to help them stay fit while they’re in the hospital. One of the most important things individuals in this industry can do is to cut unnecessary calories out of each meal
For example, overweight or obese patients can obviously benefit from eating fewer calories, but a recent study suggested that other types of patients could possibly be helped by this plan as well. According to scientists from the French Institute for Health and Medical Research, restricting calories for a set length of time could help improve the success of cancer treatments.
“The results of our investigation provide encouraging data that suggest that the combination of a defined period of calorie restriction and targeted therapy may have the potential to increase cancer survival,” said lead study author Jean-Ehrland Ricci, Ph.D.
You may be wondering how to cut calories from your hospital menu without sacrificing patient satisfaction. Luckily, there are simple ways to do just that without sacrificing taste. Here are a few suggestions.
Lighten up a bagel
You can still serve bagels in the morning, but it may be a good idea to slice the bagel thinly and eliminate some of the carbs. This can cut a lot of calories, and the bagel can still be filling with low-fat cream cheese on it.
Go for oil-based dressings
While many people think of salads as a healthy choice, if they’re smothered in cream-based dressings they’re anything but that. Try offering patients an oil-based vinaigrette, which can be just a delicious and is much healthier.
When you make sandwiches for patients, skip mayonnaise and consider using non-fat Greek yogurt instead. This healthy alternative is low in calories and high in protein, making it the perfect choice for a hospital setting. Plus, it’s smooth and creamy and the tangy taste is similar to mayonnaise.
Another great alternative to mayonnaise is an avocado spread. Avocados contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to promote heart health rather than potentially diminish it like saturated fats. If patients don’t seem to enjoy avocado or mayonnaise, offer hummus instead.
Serve healthier snacks
At lunchtime, rather than offering a bag of chips along with a sandwich it may be a better idea to serve air-popped popcorn instead. This type of popcorn is low in fat and calories, but contains a great deal of fiber, which could be very beneficial for patients’ digestive health.
Use egg whites
Egg whites offer all of the nutrients of an egg, but without all of the fat and cholesterol that are in the yolk. You can add egg white omelets to your menu that can be filled with lots of herbs and veggies to make up for the flavor that is lost when you eliminate the yolk.
It’s important to always keep calories in mind when creating meals in a hospital. Many patients have very specific calorie requirements, and more often than not their treatment may call for them to cut back on how many they consume.