You Can Plan for Better Options to Hospital Food

I was in the hospital for about 2 weeks. And for the majority of my stay, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything; I couldn’t keep anything in/down. I was being fed a “lovely” Gatorade-looking concoction called TPN (total parenteral nutrition) via my IV. I lost a bunch of weight, but I was recovering—slowly.  

Towards the end of my stay, as I was getting better, I was finally allowed to eat something. And boy, was I excited to be able to order hospital food! You know I had to be in bad shape to look forward to that.


My doctors started me off on a solid liquid diet—broths, juices, and flavored gelatin. What was weird is that each morning, in addition to the solid liquids, I got this weird frozen Italian non-dairy dessert cup (I wish I would have taken a picture of it to show you all). I didn’t recognize any of the ingredients. I asked the cafeteria to stop sending it with my meal. I remember appreciating being able to choose what kind of broth I wanted: chicken, broth, or veggie. However, I quickly learned that all the broths lacked substance. They tasted as if they had been made from a powder mix. I don’t know for sure. When it finally came time for me to eat solid food, I was very surprised that the hospital’s nutritionist was offering me menu items that contained food items that are known to cause inflammation and/or allergies. I did what I could and tried to stay away from nightshades, soy, and dairy.

Towards the end of my stay, I learned that my doctor would have allowed me to have some homemade broth and soup if it was made with low sodium. (He seemed to imply the fluid retention was caused by salt). I was pretty excited about this, but there was talk of me going home soon, and I didn’t want my DH, who was already doing so much, to have to worry about making soup. Plus, I wanted him with me and not at home making food. However, the idea got me thinking.

Studies (done in 2011 & 2014) have shown that lupus patients have a high readmission rate. I have already been admitted to the hospital twice in the past 12 months, so I’d like to think I’ve met my quota. However, in the event that I am ever admitted again, I’d like to have a food plan in place. I recently asked my doctor if he would give me permission to have outside (homemade-doctor-approved) food were I ever to be back in the hospital. And he said he would. He said he would give me permission to have McDonald’s if he felt my system could handle it. (Not the kind of food I was angling for, but I am happy he is on board with the idea.) So, I want to be ready minus the McDonald’s if there is a next time. This will call for some planning and recruiting.

The first step towards this plan is to call upon members of my village. I have a few friends and family members who are familiar with my paleo diet. They have either been following a similar diet or have made certain recipes at my request. I have asked a couple people if they can help out with a few food items if I were ever to be hospitalized. Everyone I asked agreed; I am so grateful. So, here the plan. I am really going to try to keep a supply of bone stock in my freezer at all times. This means I will need to keep a rotating supply. And just in case I run out on the day I might go to the hospital, I’ve included broth recipes below for my helpers. I’ve also included additional recipes that are nutrient dense and fall under the categories of “Clear Liquid Diet’ and “Solid Liquid Diet”. These are some of the recipes that are staples in our house.

Clear Liquid Diet

Bone Broth (stock)
Nom Nom Paleo has a pressure cooker Bone Broth recipe and a slow cooker recipe. Both are spectacular!

Against All Grain has a great chicken stock recipe as well.

Organic Fruit/Veggie Juice (with no pulp)
This is the juice made in a juicer or a blender (strained). A good rule of thumb when juicing is 80% veggies and 20% fruits. No nightshade vegetables or tropical fruits for me please.

Fruit Gelatin
Here is a simple straight forward recipe from Paleo Leap (minus the whole fruit for this one). I use this unflavored Kosher beef gelatin.

Solid Liquid Diet
All foods in the Clear Liquid Diet including the below.

Pureed Soups
Against All Grain’s Roasted Pumpkin Soup is a household favorite.

I could eat Autoimmune Paleo’s Cream of Broccoli Soup every day. And a potato substitute for the rutabaga is okay for me.

I have this smoothie (recipe below) as a meal or as a snack on a regular basis. And these are the stainless steel straws I use for my smoothies.

 Did you know that you could get your doctor’s permission to bring in outside food to the hospital? Talk to your doctor about it now and talk to your village about a hospital food plan just in case. What solid liquid diet foods would you add to the list?

Berry Protein Smoothie
Serves 1
This smoothie works well as a meal or a snack.
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Total Time
5 min
Total Time
5 min
  1. 1 cup coconut milk
  2. 2 T. chia seeds
  3. ½ frozen or fresh berries (I prefer blueberries)
  4. 3 T. hemp protein powder
  5. 3 drops of French Vanilla Stevia Extract
  6. 3 ice cubes if using fresh berries
  7. 1 T. shredded unsweetened coconut (optional)
  1. Add all ingredients except shredded coconut to blender in order listed. Blend. Mix in shredded coconut once you pour smoothie into a glass. Enjoy!
Moons & Spoons

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