When you think of hospital food, do you picture stale bread rolls, mushy vegetables, instant gravy, and that sugar-packed orange juice that comes in a plastic cup with a foil lid? Unfortunately, so do we.

According to MUNCHIES, England is forcing its hospitals to step it up when it comes to grub. Hospitals will have to meet new, higher standards of food for patients (and staff), and the hospitals will be ranked on:

  • the quality and choice of foods they prepare
  • whether the menu is approved by a dietitian
  • the availability of fresh fruit and food between meals
  • the variety of options at breakfast (which should include warm food)
  • the cost of the food provided

The food rankings will then be listed on the NHS Choices website. If the hospitals don’t improve their grub, they’ll be liable to fines. These new standards—announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt—came after patients tweeted a series of pictures of inadequate and unappealing meals, reports The Telegraph. Oh, the power of social media.

MUNCHIES UK editor Eleanor Morgan points out that food you eat in a hospital shouldn’t just be seen as fuel. She writes,

“Patients should be able to have a conversation with someone who understands the relationship between certain foods and the healing process and not just be left to devising their own meal plan with a laminate card.”

Of course, not all hospital food is deplorable. The quality of meals (and general care) varies from hospital to hospital, and depends on where you are in the world.

Below, we take a quick look at hospital food around the globe.

Sydney, Australia

Pumpkin soup, apricot chicken, peas, and mashed potatoes. (Photo: Flickr/sally-aidan via Creative Commons)



Chicken and noodles. (Photo: Flickr/henrywongyk via Creative Commons)


Massachusetts, USA

Salad, chicken soup with crackers. (Photo: Flickr/docearls via Creative Commons)



A bento box filled with fresh vegetables, meat, fish, noodles, and tempura. (Photo: Imgur)



Simple plate of bread, sausage, and a pickle. (Photo: Imgur)


Dubai, UAE

Spaghetti, side salad, bread, vegetables, and cake. (Photo: pmslweb.com)


Paris, France

Smoked salmon salad, chicken and zucchini main, baguette, pastry. (Photo: hospitalfood.tumblr.com)


Chennai, India

Chapati with curry. (Photo: forthelove-jules.blogspot.com)


For a broader look at hospital meals around the world, head here.

[via MUNCHIES, BBC, Imgur]