What Was Food Like On An ED Ward? Here’s My Experience…


Food in hospital was different and not just because of my ED! From menu options to meal plans, everyone is treated as an individual. Yet, when I was asked if it was any good, it got me thinking, was it? Opening up to you all, here is what the dining experiences was like for me and the meal options we were given weekly!

Good Morning Lovelies, 

A few days ago, someone asked me what the food is like on an ED inpatient ward. It was a bit out of the blue, yet, it got me thinking about what I used to eat and how it impacted me. Up until I was discharged nearly four years ago, I have found it hard to have the meals I had there, as they are quite triggering for me. 

As soon as I taste some of the foods, I just think back to that horrible time and get put off them. I do try to still eat some of the components, yet, I now make meals that I want to eat and not off of a menu. 

Each week, we would have a piece of paper slid under our doors. We would then have to circle what we wanted or had agreed with the dietician under our individual meal plans. The dishes would come with your allocated amounts of water, juice or milk too, however, the way we weren’t allowed more than allocated has left a big problem within me, as I now struggle to drink more than I was told I could have in hospital. 

Back to the meals though and I managed to unearth the images I used to take of the menus to remind me of the choices I made. Once you had circled your options, you were not allowed to change it. Although, in very unsettling times, we were asked to when food wasn’t delivered or had been used up by staff. 

The meals on the menu included the following shown in these pictures…

As a vegetarian, I only really got one choice a meal, with the option to swap in a jacket potato and beans if I didn’t want what was on offer. The meals were often ready cooked dishes by Brakes that were reheated, with the sandwiches coming up from the canteen on site in the evening. In terms of breakfast, we would get the normal dishes of cereals, toast, juice, milk (either hot or cold), fruit (dried and fresh), as well as toppings and yogurts. 

Not all ED wards have foods or plans like this. Some I know have kitchens, which will make you the dishes you want. Others don’t work with dieticians and serve you the basic dishes and options in regard to your meal plans. Some people can’t manage the meals and have tubes fitted or meal replacement drinks. 

Everyone is different with their treatments and that is okay. My ED ward was based in London and some of the people I were with wanted to be able to enjoy foods from their own countries again, which I loved and hope that they achieved. 

When I was asked the question a few days ago, the person was asking me to see if it was any good. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t my food of choice to be faced with in the early steps of recovery or facing fears, yet it wasn’t bad. In fact, I adored the old school dinner type of mash potato that came out in ice cream scoops. I liked most of the sandwiches and pies, which also gave me the opportunity to try new things too. 

However, sadly since leaving hospital I just can’t face them now. A lot of the fears came back, whilst the taste of others just horrifies me. Never will I be able to look at hash browns, roasted vegetables and Quorn dippers the same again after having them on my own in hospital on Christmas Day. I was truly scarred for life. Yet, I want to say again that this isn’t the case in every hospital and every person is different. You just have to be gentle and do the best for yourself.

So, in answer to that person, the meals were the same every four weeks, which is disordered in its own way. Yet, it saved my life, so whilst it might not have been good, it was what gave me life again. So, yes, it was good! It was a lifeline! One ice cream scoop of mash potato at a time! 

Joey X

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