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Healthy Hospital Program

Plant-based options should be integrated into your regular inpatient and cafeteria menus.

Bringing plant-based options onto your menu offerings is easy. You probably have many already. And keep them on your main menu, not on a special menu that people need to request. You might mark them with a special symbol.  This will allow people to try new options and not have to make a special request. Here are some simple steps to accomplish this:

Take stock of plant-based options.

Review your current patient menu for existing options. Is there a substantive option for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? If there is a gap? Perhaps you are using recipes that with a few modifications would create a meal that would satisfy different preferences.

Pasta with marinara sauce: Make the meatballs optional and offer additional mushrooms or even a lentil bolognese.
black bean chili
Southwestern chili: Make it with beans or lentils in place of meat and serve over a baked potato or condense and serve as a taco filling or taco salad topping.
roasted vegetables
Roasted vegetables: Serve over brown rice as a stir-fry, on a sub roll with hummus, in a wrap with quinoa, or on a pizza.
cinnamon oatmeal
Creamy cinnamon oatmeal with raisins and walnuts: Make with nondairy milk or water.
Vegetable soup with a hummus “quesadilla” 


  • If you use a food service provider, ask about available plant-based recipes.
  • Independent providers can use our tested recipes. Your kitchen can experiment by replacing animal products with high-protein, plant-based foods like beans, lentils, and tofu. 

Need innovative ways to meet diner requests?

Try our Universal Meals recipes that are good for Vegan and Vegetarians, those with allergies and intolerances or who follow religious traditions.

Lower Cancer Risk by Eliminating Processed Meat

The American Medical Association and American College of Cardiology have called for elimination of processed meats, such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage, and deli meats, because of their contribution to heart disease and cancer. A 2020 Patient Satisfaction Survey found that a large majority of patients supported excluding processed meats from hospital menus for cancer prevention. 

As you remove processed meats from the menu, consider new ideas. For breakfast, instead of bacon and eggs, consider a sweet potato and black bean hash. For lunch, instead of a BLT, how about roasted red pepper hummus and roasted veggies on rye bread? Here’s an excellent resource to help you.

You may find that you need to make the change in stages and offer plant-based replacements that are as similar as possible to the original product used plant-based meat to help ease the transition. Work with your dietitian and food supply company to find what works and is available. 

Dining Services Resources

Free assets to help bring plant-based options to your hospital.