I thought there was a recent thread on this, but the search turned up nothing.
I just spent 5 days in the hospital to clear up an infection in my leg,and one of the pleasant surprises of the visit was the food. While certainly not gourmet, it was quite good and well above what I would normally think of when I think of "hospital food."
The breakfast offerings were pretty standard and mundane...including turkey "bacon." Lunch and dinner. OTOH, were quite good. Entrees included baked fish, seasoned chicken breast, a beef stir fry over rice, mac and cheese, and lasagna. The only "near-miss" here was the chicken breast. While the seasoning was good the beast was a bit dry.
Vegetable offerings included spinach, stewed tomatoes, and cauliflower. I expected the spinach to be mushy and tasteless, but it had good flavor. Likewise with the cauliflower. Instead of being mushy, it was tender crisp with real cauliflower flavor.
I'm not sure why stewed tomatoes and mashed potatoes w/gravy accompanied the lasagna, but they were still good. Most meals were also served with a nice soft fresh-made dinner roll.
As expected, meals were low sodium, low fat, etc., but for the most part I never missed them. Chain restaurants should take notice...it is possible to produce food in quantity that tastes good and isn't loaded with salt, sugar, and other assorted junk.
Here's the other thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/661903
I wouldn't necessarily count on your hospital's low-sodium, low fat diets to meet standards. They certainly did not in the hospital I was in. The food was far saltier than my own cooking - I add little or no salt when cooking, though of course some ingredients, like cheese and soy sauce, are salty even in low-sodium versions.
I'll have to agree with you that, where I was, some of it was quite good. Shrimp scampi, tuna salad sandwiches (lunch) decadent French pastries for dessert were among some of the better offerings. Many years ago, in a now defunct hospital, we could get wine with our dinner.
That's great to hear, al b. It's nice to not have the indignity of awful food on top of the inconvenience of being in the hospital.
My parents have had 3 hospital stays between them this year. Both parents were in the same hospital and described very different dining experiences. From what I could observe, my mom, who had surgery and wasn't dealing with a lot of dietary restrictions, had very nice meals with two or three options for each to choose from. My dad also had menu choices, but were more limited with low-sodium options, and also softer textures. He wasn't quite as overjoyed with the experience.
The same hospital makes really great food in their cafeteria (at very reasonable prices) and is a go-to place locally for lunch.