New York Hospitals Now Required To Offer Plant-Based Meals

mbg Editorial Assistant By Christina Coughlin
mbg Editorial Assistant
Christina Coughlin is an editorial assistant at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2019 with a degree in psychology and music.

Image by Leandro Crespi / Stocksy

Just in the past week, we've seen big companies like Dollar General and Nestlé announce initiatives to switch elements of their businesses to healthier, plant-based approaches. The newest group getting on the bandwagon? New York State Hospitals.

Last Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into effect requiring all New York hospitals to offer plant-based meal options to their patients.

This bill could mean good things for the state of New York. Currently, heart disease accounts for 40% of all deaths in the state, and an estimated 1.6 million New Yorkers have type 2 diabetes. In hospitals where patients are already suffering from some sort of ailment, it's necessary for the nutrients of the food they're consuming to match the medicine they may be receiving. The bill is requiring all hospitals to have a list on their menu with all plant-based options written out, along with having meals or snacks with no animal products readily available upon request. 

Not only will this bill positively affect the hospitals' patients, but it may actually save the hospital money. According to a report done by St. Joseph Health System in California, vegetarian entrees cost about half the price of meat entrees. 

The bill was sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, (PCRM) a nonprofit group based in Washington, D.C., which focuses on improving lives through plant-based diets and ethical research. The committee also helped pass similar bills in California and D.C., creating more options for plant-based meals and eliminating highly processed foods like bacon and hot dogs from hospital menus. 

Director of nutrition education for the PCRM Susan Levin says, "By making plant-based meals the law in hospitals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has put New York on the forefront of a growing movement to ensure that hospitals provide patients healthy, plant-based meals to fight heart disease, diabetes, and obesity."

With great news like this, we can only hope that other states across the country will continue to adopt similar plans to promote not only healthy eating but healthy living.

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