Healthy hospital food is taking root with Mater sprouting a new plant-based menu for patients, inspired by celebrity chef Luke Mangan.
Plant-packed dishes like beetroot risotto with vegan parmesan and crispy tofu stir fry will be served to patients’ bedsides in a ground-breaking move that embeds healthy nutrition into the overall care and treatment of hospital patients.
Mater Director of Dietetics and Food Services Sally McCray said plant-based diets helped to boost patients’ immune systems, reduce inflammation and improve gut microbiome.
“Eating more fruit and vegetables is one of the most important ways we can improve our health and well-being and at no other time is this more critical than when we are recovering in hospital,” Ms McCray said.
“Less than five per cent of Australians currently eat the recommended serves of vegetables each day and less than fifty per cent of us meet the recommendations for fruit intake.
“You don’t need to be a vegan or vegetarian to benefit from a diet that’s rich in whole, natural foods and low in refined, processed ingredients.”
Mater broke new ground in hospital food in 2013 when it became the nation’s first hospital to introduce a room service model for patients with an a-la-carte menu. Earlier this year, it built on its food innovation record by becoming Australia’s first hospital to partner with a restaurateur and chef to offer restaurant-style dishes.
The new plant-based menu has been developed by Ms McCray, Mater Executive Chef Aman Marwah and celebrity chef Luke Mangan.
Mr Mangan said Mater was a leader in incorporating nutrition into the care framework for
patients and its new plant-based menu took hospital food to a new level.
“Mater patients are getting restaurant-style dishes prepared by a team of extraordinary chefs and talented dietitians who are up to date with the latest research on how food helps us heal enhances our wellbeing,” Mr Mangan said.
“There are vegetarian and vegan options as well as dishes with lean protein like lamb, chicken and fish but the focus of every meal is on whole plant-based ingredients and low or refined, processed food.
“Many restaurants in Australia would not meet the same standard of food being offered to Mater patients.”
Dishes on the new menu include Moroccan spiced quail with zucchini, pine nuts and currants, grilled field mushrooms with fresh corn salsa and roasted tomato and lemongrass soup.
Traditional desserts of jelly and ice-cream have been replaced by coconut rice pudding with lychees, passion fruit and mango and grilled pineapple with lime chili glaze and coconut yoghurt.
Patients can also order cold pressed juices, including a cucumber celery and apple option as well as a watermelon, lemon and mint mix.
“Balanced plant-based diets are associated with a healthy weight range, reduced incidence of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes and heart disease and protection from some cancers including prostate and breast cancer,” Ms McCray said.