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Eating Well During Your Hospital Stay


Good nutrition is vital to your health.

Making sure that you are eating enough and following a balanced diet is an important part of your hospital stay and can help to minimise tiredness, reduce risk of infection and reduce the length of your hospital stay.

Nutrition at The Walton Centre 

This hospital has a nutritional screening programme in place for all patients.

This can help to identify anyone who is underweight (undernourished), not eating enough, or at risk of becoming undernourished.

You will be nutritionally screened on admission to hospital. This means that you should be weighed on arrival to the ward and asked about your appetite, usual weight and height.  This process should be repeated weekly during your admission.

If screening shows that help is needed with your nutrition, you may be offered extra nourishing drinks or snacks.

You may also be referred to a dietitian for individual assessment and support. If required, you may be prescribed oral nutritional supplement drinks.

Being a healthy weight is assessed using Body Mass Index (BMI).  A healthy BMI is between 20-25kg/m2.

Your BMI is documented during nutritional screening on admission so please ask a member of the nursing team if you would like to know what your BMI is. 

If you feel that you have lost weight unintentionally or you have lost your appetite, please speak to a member of the nursing staff.

If you feel you would like support to reduce your BMI to within the healthy range please seek advice from your GP who may be able to refer you to your local weight management service if you wish.    

Hospital menu

You will be provided with a hospital menu during your stay. 

Breakfast is continental style available each morning.  Lunch and evening meal consist of starters, main courses and puddings.  These change on a seasonal basis, please ask to see the current menu for choices 

Special diets

Please inform nursing staff if you have special dietary requirements not catered for on the standard menu, such as gluten-free and Halal meals.

We will try to accommodate most dietary requirements.  If you are following a special diet and require more information you may request to see a member of the catering team to discuss further. 


(Please Note: Relatives or friends may bring food and drinks that can be served cold. Ward kitchen facilities are not able to heat or store meals/snacks. If you are on a special/textured diet, this leaflet may not be appropriate for you, please ask your nursing staff for further advice.)

Mealtimes are an important part of the day. This hospital has a ‘Protected Mealtimes’ policy meaning you should not be interrupted during mealtimes, unless it is essential.

Always inform nursing staff if you feel your mealtimes are disturbed or if you need more time to eat.  If you miss a meal due to an investigation or procedure, please speak to nursing staff who can arrange a “Light Snack Meal” for when you return. 

Helping you to eat and drink

When someone is unwell it is not unusual to have difficulty eating and drinking.  Staff on your ward will be happy to offer their assistance when you need it.

Always let staff know if you have any difficulties or if you need help to choose from the menu, eat or drink.

Poor appetite/Weight Loss

If you have a poor appetite or have lost weight during your admission, changes to your diet can make a difference; some helpful tips are listed below:

 Try small frequent meals and snacks to boost your appetite.

The ‘E’ symbol on the hospital menu indicates high energy meal options.  Try to include these at each meal.

Try to eat protein foods such as meat, fish, cheese or beans at lunch and evening meal.

Try to have a dessert in addition to main meals.

Ask for cups of milk as well as hot drinks. 

Snack Options

Snacking in between meals can be an effective strategy to increase your energy and protein intake if you have a reduced appetite or have lost weight:

Include extra snacks like yoghurts, cheese and crackers in the day.

Choose a biscuit or fruit snack free of charge from the hospital beverage service.

Snacks from shops in sealed packets can be stored on the bedside for later use.

High sugar desserts and snacks contain more energy which can help minimise weight loss, however these may not be appropriate for patients with diabetes/high blood glucose levels. You should ask your nursing staff for further advice.

Healthy Menu Choices

These are highlighted on the menu by the ‘Hy’ symbol.  You may want to consider these options if you wish to follow a healthy balanced diet during your stay.    

Following discharge from hospital

Following discharge from hospital, if you require further advice relating to your diet please contact your GP. If you were prescribed oral nutritional supplements in hospital and feel that these may still be required, please contact your GP.

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    Making sure that you are eating enough and following a balanced diet is an important part of your hospital stay and can help to minimise tiredness, reduce risk of infection and reduce the length of your hospital stay.

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