Every year in the United States, billions of dollars are lost as tens of millions of metric tons of food is wasted. While hospitals and healthcare institutions might not independently reach these astounding figures by themselves, it’s safe to say their participation in wasteful practices is still a contributing factor. In fact, although most hospitals report they experience less than 10% waste, research has shown that the actual figure for most facilities is closer to 60%. So, how do you make it stop? Well, you can start by incorporating these and other zero-waste meals and recipes in your hospital’s foodservice department. They’re healthy, packed with nutrients your patients need, and above all else more sustainable and cost saving that a lot of other items you likely currently have to offer!
Clear Vegetable Consommé
Have a lot of “unusable” produce scraps you need to get rid of? This recipe is perfect for you, and perfect for patients on stricter diets, including all-liquid diets. Best of all, it’s super easy to make, all you have to is cook down your scraps along with some leftover egg shells (which are used to clarify the broth before being strained out) and that’s it! You can use alliums, mushroom “coins,” potato peels, stems from your broccoli or cauliflower, ginger essence, carrot tops, and whatever else you have lying around from previous meals. Once finished, the savory broth can be consumed alone, or topped with other garnishes such as wild mushrooms and other locally sourced ingredients for an added depth of flavor.
Nothing says zero waste like serving a meal in its own natural skin, and avocados are perfect for this. Avocados are already filled with countless nutrients, proteins, healthy fats, and more your patients need; plus their flavor is mild which means they can be used with all sorts of different ingredients to create unique flavor profiles every time. In fact, even their pits can be roasted! Once finished, it can be grated and used as a garnish with other fresh herbs and ingredients, like wild fennel, lemon, and watercress for a fresh and tasty summer treat that all your patients will love. Plus, this concept can easily be recreated with eggplant, zucchini, squash, peppers, and any other “skinned” vegetables – simply stuff and roast!
Chances are every one of your patients could benefit from drinking more water, but with high sugared juices, sodas, coffees, and more always readily available, it’s just too easy to make the wrong choices. By making your own infused waters and teas, your patients can get all the flavorful hydration they need while you get to use up some leftover scraps you may not have otherwise used. Citrus peels, cucumber scraps, strawberry tops, mint, rose, chamomile, and other leftover fruits and herbs can always be added to water and/or tea for a refreshing boost of flavor.
When you allow your foodservice staff to be more creative in the kitchen, you’ll really be surprised how many little treasures can be found hidden amongst the items you plan to just throw away. Just remember, even the smallest steps toward greater sustainability can have a profound impact, so don’t be afraid to make the little changes now as they will certainly make a huge difference down the line! Call 629.777.8989, or fill in the free consultation form in the sidebar, to learn more about how Vision Software can positively impact the lives of the patients and visitors you service every day.