Staff and visitors to Harrogate District Hospital will be enticed into choosing healthier food options, as the hospital restaurant has launched an exciting new healthy menu.
When we visit family or friends in hospital, it is unusual for us to consider our own health or to think about the health of our doctors and nurses.
But a new healthy food strategy across the NHS is trying to tackle exactly that, and encourage visitors and staff to make positive food choices while in hospital.
Stan Ash, Assistant Head of Hotel Services at the hospital said: “It’s really to look at all the foods we provide, not so much on the patients’ side mainly on the staff and visitors, to get the healthy options moving among that range of people.
“We have taken on board the recommendations from that and we’ve redone the staff and visitor menus to offer that service, so they can come and have options of healthy food and get it even cheaper than normal food to encourage them to actually choose it.”
Heading down to try the new menu for myself, I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of options which are on a daily-changing rota for a two week period.
The revamp has also seen the launch of a ‘healthy bar’ with hot and cold food and upgrades to the existing salad bar.
Mr Ash said: “It’s been a very good response, takings are up which is always a good sign and the feedback is great.
“We’re not saying to people this is all they can have, people can still come in and have fish and chips if they want, but they’ve also got the option to have poached fish instead with vegetables. So we’re pointing out the difference in the calorie count and everything else.”
Senior dietitian at the hospital, Jill Gale, explained a lot of work has also been done around allergen contents in the menu, and reducing portion sizes.
She said: “The other thing we’ve done is to introduce smaller portion sizes as well. We get a lot of visitors who complain that the servings are too much, it over faces them, so offering them a smaller portion at a lower price is another way we have improved the service.”