Collaboration Creates Gourmet Options for Patients with Special Dietary Needs
NEW ORLEANS, LA - Goodbye mystery meat, bland broth, mushy veggies and green jello - Ochsner Medical Center is making gourmet fare a bedside option. Ochsner Medical Center is trading in on New Orleans' hallmark cuisine by enlisting world-renowned Cajun Chef Paul Prudhomme's help in developing hospital patient meals. This new trend is showing up in patient rooms in about 20 percent of U.S. hospitals, as they begin to offer restaurant-quality meals with fresh produce offered from elaborate menus.
The Culinary and Nutrition Departments at Ochsner and Chef Prudhomme have created a new menu of selections for hospital patients who want healthier, tastier food options as well as a new bedside ordering system with a personalized touch. "Through our electronic ordering system, hospital patients can order from the bedside and we'll know exactly what their restrictions are for the best possible culinary and care experience," explains Randi McMillan, RD, Manager, Ochsner Culinary and Nutrition Service Department.
Hospital meals are typically very bland because most patients are sensitive to heavy, salty or spicy foods and some are on medications that affect their sense of taste; therefore, dietary options are limited.
Ochsner now offers more flavorful patient meals through the creative use of herbs and seasonings as well as recipes that cater to patients who have to restrict salt and sugar intake. New menu items include healthier versions of New Orleans classics such as crawfish etouffee, red beans and rice, jambalaya, beignets, remoulade, and sauce piquant. Additional meal selections include:
- Grilled Tuna with Orange Balsamic Glaze
- Chicken Marsala
- New Orleans Shrimp Creole
- Filet Mignon
- Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin
- Zucchini Parmaesan
"This initiative comes at a time when patients and family members are demanding healthier food with better flavor. It's a trend among hospitals to move away from the typical ‘hospital food' mentality," says McMillan. The improved food choices have also had a positive effect on patient satisfaction.