Sunday, December 10, 2006


I go to eat at the hospital cafeteria on Friday night and stare at the entree choices, which are lasagna, deep fried shrimp, and deep fried wing dings. Our hospital is kind or sadistic enough to list the nutritional content of them, so, theoretically, we can make healthy choices. The lasagna and shrimp both have pretty high fat contents, with the number of calories from fat hovering in the neighborhood of 50%. The wing dings, though, those fried chicken wings that are mostly fat, skin, and bone, take the cake, so to speak, with nearly 1,000 calories per serving and somewhere around 70% of them from fat. Good grief, why don't they just do a cardiac cath and inject a french fry directly into our coronary arteries?

There's an article in the December Pediatrics journal about fast food in children's hospitals. Interestingly enough, fast food restaurants are found in 29.5% of hospitals with pediatric residency programs. People who went to a hospital with a fast food restaurant in it were more likely to eat fast food, and not surprisingly the article takes a dim view of this, noting the increasing rates of obesity in America and the less than stellar nutritional value of fast food.

My point, though, is this: Who needs fast food restaurants in hospitals when you've got cafeterias like ours? Some days the meals we serve are worse than the choices in fast food restaurants. At least fast food restaurants usually have one healthy choice or so; our cafeteria sometimes has none - witness the above menu. (Somedays, when they don't have wing dings, they list french fried onion rings as an entree. An entree?)

It shouldn't surprise me too much. The cafeteria is just trying to please its customers, to sell those products that sell well, and believe me, those orders of wing dings and fries fly off the shelf like hot cakes. We are a hospital, though, and don't we have some responsibility to keep people within our walls healthy? I guess it's not surprising to me that our cafeteria sells food that's not particularly good for you; that's just life in the U.S.A. What gets me is that it serves food that is so spectacularly bad for you.

In closing, I note that my computer's home page has an article about a restaurant called the Heart Attack Grill. It's menu includes items such as the Quadruple Bypass Burger and Flatliner Fries, and, in the piece de resistance, the waitresses wear "naughty nurse" costumes featuring plenty of leg and cleavage. Nursing groups have complained about the image portrayed. Hmmm...would it offend anyone if I said I wanted to go there for dinner?


Blogger Laura said...

are you eating in my hospital's cafeteria?
i picture the heart attack grill to be nothing much more than a hooters knock-off...lots of t and a with a big helping of grease. if you want to spend your dining $ on that or the hospital cafeteria then go for it.
this establishment and its servers costumes don't offend me as an RN. they merely receive an eyeroll.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Dream Mom said...

Check out Dr. Anonymous (Dr. A)blog on the Heart Attack Grill. He just posted on this a few days back.

7:15 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

The cafeteria at our hospital is no better, however it doesn't post the nutritional content. Recently, they "banned" fries except for Fridays and replaced them with pasta salad and potato salad, which I am sure are no better. The servings at our cafeteria are also HUGE! I would love it if they cut the portions and the price in half, then they might be reasonable.

8:42 PM  
Blogger liz said...

I used to work at a clinic that was attached to our local hospital and we'd eat our way through the day at the cafeteria. Breakfast was eggs, bacon, hash browns, bagel with cream cheese, yum. Lunch was some fat-laden thing like meatloaf or sloppy joes. Afternoon break, we'd head over for ice cream. Don't ask me why I ate breakfast there -- I worked in data processing so it was an 8 - 5 job. I quit that job when my son was born, luckily. No wonder he weighed 9 1/2 pounds.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Flea said...

Nutritional pornography?

Hell I'll try anything once.



9:23 PM  
Blogger Sarabeth said...

I ate lunch with my husband in the cafeteria at the hospital where he works. I was completely amazed to see a Weight Watchers section, a sushi bar, and plenty of good looking vegetables to eat. For the first time, I thought, Wow, this hospital is actually thinking about the food that is served.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Fat Doctor said...

Our cafeteria is similarly unhealthy (I don't wonder why I gained 100 pounds in residency and now can't get it back off).

BTW, on an unrelated note, I like how you consistently title your posts with one word. I know it's on purpose and probably takes some patience. I appreciate it.

10:06 PM  
Blogger SuperStenoGirl said...

I think it's a big conspiracy prompted by the cardiologists to get more patients.

Just last week we received 2 boxes of chocolates, one was a smallish tin the other a good $50 basket from two cardiac surgeons - I swear it's a conspiracy. :)

10:09 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

We had a McDonald's at the hospital across the street from my training institution and it was absolutely sad to see patients wheeling themselves down for their big mac's and fries. Of course, our cafeteria with its offerings wasn't much better. I KNOW my salad with deep fried chicken fingers didn't do me any good. =)

10:20 PM  
Blogger Dani said...

I had to laugh.

We chose McDonalds over the Columbus Childrens cafe anyday.

On your break, head over to the RMH. (If you're forunate enough to have one) They ALWAYS have something yummy and healthy over there. Thank goodness for church ladies.

Love the blog.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

I've rarely found a hospital that had healthy choices for food. And having lived in various hospitals with my son for a year (off and on), I've had ample opportunity to critique the food.

By far, the best hospital I have found for "decent" food and good nutritional content is the cafeteria at University of Nebraska Medical Center. My only complaint is that you have to pass an aisle worth of doughnuts, cakes, pies and cookies before you enter the cafeteria.

Perhaps a better person than I could pass that up every time...but after watching paracentesis after paracentesis, plus a broviac placement...well, chocolate is the only choice, then.

8:22 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

You all should see the cafeteria at UCLA medical would make you reel with joy!! It has a sushi bar, a huge, plentiful salad bar,it has lots of choices for hot foods--Asian fare, American's amazing. I would want to work there just to have that salad bar every day.

It's the best cafeteria!

10:31 AM  
Blogger Dream Mom said...

LOL Laurie on the chocolate! One of my clients was the Univ of Nebraska Medical Center and I have to agree, they do have some good healthy food in the cafeteria. Of course, most of the time when I went to Nebraska, we opted for a good steakhouse:)

We have a national chain restaurant at Big Academic Medical Center that is also quite healthy and one of my favorites. You can get some healthy salads that are also very nutritious there. Nutrition information is all on-line however you can make the salads a little healthier by using your own salad dressing and skipping the high fat ones. Actually, it's one of my favorite places.

10:37 AM  
Blogger WendyLou said...

Funny story...

My grandma was in the hospital after having a heart attack. I was the only one with her. She was stable, so I headed down to the cafeteria for some lunch. Well, I was fairly stressed with grandma's MI and all, so I had a bacon double cheese burger,onion rings, pie, and a coke for lunch. I'm eating when the nice cardiologist who saw grandma that morning walks over and says "Why is your grandma here?" I'm like "She had a heart attack?" He said "What causes heart attacks?" I said "Lunches like this one?" He then said that because of genetics, that should be my last bacon cheese burger. (It was not.) He's right, with all 4 grandparents having heart problems, I really should eat better.

I did not see what he had for lunch....

That hospital has particularly BAD food. Sometimes when the food is bad, the grill can be a good choice for at least palatable food...

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we all kid about how gross hospital food is,but actually,it's no laughing matter.when the food is SO horrible,it's a miracle if you can find anything to the hospital i work at,even the boiled or steamed vegetables are so greasy you may end up running,not walking ,to the bathroom.and the prices are outrageous.i saw a man pay about $12 for his nasty lunch the other day.the patient's food is poor lady the other day was served roast pork loin with apple sauce covering it and apple crisp dessert also.she told me the night before she was served a steamed broccoli for a vegetable and also a raw broccoli salad.uggh

3:43 PM  
Blogger neonataldoc said...

Thanks, everyone. I'm not surprised to see that others have had problems with hospital cafeterias. I have to adnmit that at least our cafeteria serves pretty tasty food, even though it's not healthy.

Flea, thanks for the laugh - as usual. Fat doctor, I'm not sure why I choose one word titles. There's one problem with them: When I look back at old posts' titles, I can't remember what they're about,and the titles don't help much.

Wendylou, start eating right. I did after two brothers had bypass surgery. As for banning french fries, half of our cafeteria's customers would go hungry if they couldn't have their fries. Sarabeth, sushi in Virginia; we truly live in a cosmopolitan world.

11:48 AM  
Blogger Cathy P said...

I live not far from the Heart Attack Grill. They are wanting to start franchising just like Hooters. I would have to say though, Their food is good and usually the heart attack burger is shared between my spouse and I and one of the kids. (My other one claims to be vegetarian however i'm sure it's temporary.) The waitresses are very nice and compared to what I have seen on the streets of Phoenix/Mesa/Tempe this place is no worse for chilhood viewing.

2:03 AM  

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