Care providers have long maintained that healthy diets are a fundamental cornerstone of overall robust health. And an increasing number of hospitals and health systems are putting their own menus to the test.
Last year, NYC Health + Hospitals became the nation’s largest municipal health system to make plant-based food the default for inpatient meals.
Not only did the patient satisfaction rating of the health system’s revamped menu soar to more than 90%, but the switch has also reduced food-related carbon emissions by 36%, as well as resulted in an initial cost savings of 59 cents per tray.
The goodbye to animal-based meals is in line with the American Medical Association’s 2017 resolution calling on hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals and eliminate processed meats.
NYC Health + Hospitals serves approximately 3 million meals a year and expects nearly 60% of patients continue with the vegetarian option after their first meal. Reported culinary hits include Moroccan vegetable tagine, Spanish vegetable paella, garden Bolognese with rigatoni and a pad thai noodle bowl.
The long-term goal is not just to encourage patients to eat plant-based meals during their hospital stays, but encourage them to make changes to their diet post-discharge, including what less meat means for their health and how it can make a positive impact regarding climate change.