Chef Eric Stein, MS RD CCE

Wellness Chef | Registered Dietitian
Certified Culinary Educator

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Hospital Food: Should McDonald's Be An Option?

Posted: May 4, 2012 6:53 PM

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Today I have a guest blog from Irena Shnayder
A Chicagoian with her Masters of Science in Clinical Nutrition from NYU

Hospital Food: Should McDonald's Be An Option?
By: Irena Shnayder

Ever walk into a hospital only to be bombarded with tons of fast food options? It may seem counterproductive to serve patients the very food that instigated their visit in the first place. However, blaming fast food chains or even the hospital may not be a worthy battle. After all, they aren't forcing us to purchase their food; they are just offering an option to do so.

NPR recently reported that "fast food outlets like the hamburger chain [McDonald's] can be a convenience and a comfort for patients. The food may also appeal to some patients' picky tastes when undergoing difficult treatments." The problem with that statement is that hospitals aren't serving their patients McDonald's. People visiting the hospitals are the ones who are purchasing their food. So what is the solution to the problem? Is it the hospital's responsibility to police our food? Is McDonald's liable because they are selling us a product that most would deem unhealthy?

Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer to this question. McDonald's, along with many other fast food chains, is now offering healthier options to their classic 1000 calorie burger and fries. They have even added salads, snack wraps, apple slices and yogurt parfaits to their menu. So next time you're in a situation where fast food is your only option or, if you're just craving a burger and fries, try ordering a kids meal instead of a value meal--you'll be just as satisfied without the added calories and saturated fat.

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