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Patient Meals

Patient eating in hospital bed

Your nutrition, care and recovery are very important to us. Your physician and a registered dietitian evaluate your medical status and prescribe a diet appropriate for your medical condition.

We ask that family members not bring you food from home. If, for religious or cultural reasons, you are unable to select from our menu, please advise your nutrition representative so we may accommodate your special request.

Flexibility and Convenience: Always on the Menu

Regardless of which Johns Hopkins hospital you are staying at, we offer patients freedom and flexibility in both meal times and food selections:

  • Patients can choose their meals from a wide range of delicious food items and ask for their meals to be delivered to their room at a specific time.
  • Patients who are scheduled for procedures, can pre-order meals ahead of time from their hospital room or from home before the admission.
  • Patients who need assistance ordering, can get help from a nurse and/or room service operator, or have a family member call in meal orders from home.

We request that you eat in your room, unless you have the written consent of your physician. However, with this written permission, you are free to eat elsewhere in the hospital

How to Order

Room dining hours and meal delivery times vary by hospital and by patient unit. Ask your nurse when room service dining is available.

If possible, please assist us by clearing your over-bed table at meal times. Please notify the nursing staff and patient advocate in advance if you wish to purchase a meal tray for a guest. Guest meals are available for an additional fee and charged to your hospital bill.

Learn more about ordering your meal at:

  • You can order a meal between 7 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. from the menu in your room. Because we specially prepare many meals, it could take up to 75 minutes for delivery of your order. Some items may not be available, based on your doctor’s instructions.

  • Patients may have access to a menu with a variety of selections and customization options, including build-your-own sandwiches and made-to-order omelets and pizzas. Room service is available from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day.

    If you have questions about your meal service, please call Nutrition Services at 410-550-0635 between 5 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., or if you have questions about special dietary concerns, you can reach a nutrition services representative by calling 410-550-1549.

  • Howard County General Hospital is pleased to offer an innovative service system that provides convenience and flexibility for your meal time and meal selections and uses the freshest ingredients available.

    After your physician prescribes a diet to meet your medical needs, with our registered dietitians review, it is entered in the system and you are free to order meals.

    Menus are available in each room. Simply dial 443-718-3663 (or x3663, xFOOD) and trained staff in the dietary office will assist you in choosing meals appropriate for your needs. Please place your order one hour before you want to be served, or earlier, so we can provide your meals in a consistent and timely manner. Your meal will be delivered within one hour.

    If you do not place an order, a pre-selected meal that meets your diet specifications will be sent. If your physician has ordered a special diet, some of the items on the menu may need to be modified or may not be available. We will gladly assist you with ordering. You are welcome to request food at any time during our regular operating hours: 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.

    We would like to suggest the following time for meals:

    Breakfast: 7:30 - 9:30 a.m.
    Lunch: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    Dinner: 4 - 6 p.m.

    We encourage family members to assist with placing orders for patients who are unable to do so by themselves. To order several meals at a time we request you call between prime meal times listed above. Gourmet meals are also available for patients and visitors for an additional fee.

    Menus are accessible at the nursing stations for family members to place orders or take home to refer to when calling in meal requests. Visitors and family members are invited to dine at our cafeteria located on the basement level.

    We are committed in providing you, our guest, with the highest quality food service. If you have any questions or any dietary needs, please contact us by calling x3663.

  • Sibley’s inpatient dining is available from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. When you arrive in your room, a room service menu will be available at your bedside. Once your information has been activated in the computer, simply pick up the phone and dial FOOD (x3663).

    A room service operator will help you make meal or snack selections in accordance with your physician-prescribed diet. Once your order is complete, we prepare your meal and deliver it to your bedside within 45 minutes.

    Meals can also be scheduled in advance up to three days in the future. From outside the hospital, dial 202-660-6374.

  • To order your meal, please review the menu, then call 301-896-3663 between 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Trained staff in our Nutrition Office will assist you in choosing meal items that are appropriate for your prescribed diet. Meals can be delivered bedside within 60 minutes after requested or at a specific time of your choosing. You can order meals up to two full days in advance. Kosher and vegetarian options are available.


Special Requests

Your hospital menu includes nutrition information to help you identify vegetarian, heart-healthy, and other options when you order. Let your nurse or Nutrition Services know if you have celiac disease, a food allergy, or any other medical condition requiring a special diet, or if you would like a Spanish menu or translation services.

Kosher meals are available on request. The Johns Hopkins Hospital has Shabbos elevators and a kosher pantry. Kosher meals can be ordered from the menu, and are prepared at a local kosher restaurant. For other hospitals, ask your nurse or contact Nutrition Services.

Therapeutic Diets

What you eat plays an essential role in helping you stay healthy and manage health conditions. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, seizure disorders and many other health problems are affected by diet.

Your physician may prescribe a therapeutic diet for you while you are in the hospital. Your meal choices are automatically adjusted so you don’t have to worry about choosing an item that is not on your diet. Your room service operator can assist you with meal selection.

Here are few common diets and what they mean to help guide your food choices.

  • Patients on this diet may have all of the foods listed on the menu. There are no restrictions.

  • Foods are chopped or ground for easier chewing and safer swallowing. Raw vegetables and fruits are not allowed, except for bananas.

  • All foods are pureed to a smooth consistency to promote swallowing safety and limit chewing. Menu items that cannot be safely pureed are not permitted.

  • May be used during periods of gastrointestinal illness or postoperatively to promote normal bowel functioning. Foods are soft and easy to digest. Total fiber intake is limited to 10 grams or fewer daily and all fruits and vegetables must be cooked. High-fiber selections, like whole wheat, bran, and fresh fruits and vegetables are not allowed. Milk should be limited to two cups or fewer daily while the bowels return to normal functioning.

  • Patients are limited to a set number of carbohydrate choices per meal, depending on the level prescribed, to promote blood glucose control. One carbohydrate choice contains 15 grams of carbohydrates.

  • This diet limits overall fat (50 grams daily), cholesterol (300 milligrams daily) and sodium intake (2000 milligrams daily).

  • Patients requiring thickened liquids will receive thickening packets on their meal trays to be mixed into the liquid foods. We provide “nectar thick” and “honey thick” liquids. To ensure swallowing safety, certain liquids that cannot be thickened, such as ice cream or gelatin, are not permitted.

Nutritional Counseling

Whether you are in the hospital or you have been released, our registered licensed dietitians and other health professionals can provide you with nutritional counseling to help you maintain your therapeutic diet, take charge of your health and feel your best.

Here are some of Johns Hopkins’ specialized nutrition centers and programs:

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