How’s the Food in Rehab?

image of different foods like juice, blueberries, jam, bread

My mother is having her knee replaced, and she will be staying at an Optalis rehabilitation facility to recover.

However, she is an extremely picky eater.

I’m concerned she won’t like the food and will be miserable during her stay.

Yours Truly,


Choose the Food You Like at Rehabilitation Centers

Dear Cynthia,

Your mother doesn’t need to worry about eating foods she dislikes because she’s able to choose the food she wants to eat unless she is on a restricted diet for health reasons. At most rehabilitation centers, patients (or family members if the patient is indisposed) select the type of foods they want to eat and can be as specific as asking for toast with strawberry jam each morning.

If your parent is temporarily unable to answer when she first arrives at an Optalis rehab center, we’ll work together with the family to develop a nutrition plan that accommodates your mother’s health and satisfaction.

Meals Should Be Appealing and Nutritious to Promote Healing

One of the main reasons driving high-quality dining options at rehabilitation and skilled nursing centers is that patients today have higher expectations for food. They are more knowledgeable about nutrition, have dined out on a regular basis and enjoy a variety of foods, from hamburgers and chili dogs to Chinese and Mexican food.

As a healthcare provider, I have seen how patients recover quicker and healthier when they are eating foods that are both nutritious and enjoyable for them.

Also, your mother is likely to heal faster when getting nutrients that promote healing, such as foods rich in vitamins C, D and zinc. It’s also important for her to stay hydrated for kidney function, which helps the body deal with illness and healing. Getting the proper nutrients and hydration is much easier when you have a licensed dietitian planning her meals.

Tasty, Healthy Food Served at Optalis Rehab Centers

At our rehabilitation centers, we offer a seasonal menu and alternative menu selections, as well as ethnic favorites and homemade soups and desserts. Our registered and licensed dietitians work with our culinary staff to provide a wide variety of made-from-scratch dishes specifically created to tempt the tastebuds of the most discriminating diner.

For example, one evening, the dinner menu included smothered pork chops, German potato salad, stewed apples, rye bread, a frosted brownie, and their choice of beverage. However, your mother can always choose an alternate meal. If she’s not on a special diet, you may bring in a favorite dish to enjoy, too.

We also offer a variety of tasty treats for her to snack on between meals. She can even order coffee service.

If your mother is on a low-salt, low-fat, or sugar-restricted diet, our dietitians work together with our dining services manager to ensure each meal is appealing and nutritious. We also monitor what your mother eats to ensure she’s eating enough to stay healthy.

Your mother can eat in our dining room, stay in her own room or join family and friends in our café. No matter where she chooses to dine, she’ll be served her meals when she’s ready to partake.