Second, when you are really sick, and on certain meds such as antibiotics, your sense of taste can be altered. That does not help.
Third, just as with schools and dorm food, great advances have been made in hospital food.
That said, in general, hospital food sucks.
It takes time to assemble all the trays and load the slots in the carriers. They have hot metal plates under the plates, so things will wilt and overcook and dry out. After 2013, I knew enough to never order vegetables again. And the fruit -- blech.
The way to survive in a rehab hospital, assuming you have an appetite, is to think about what you really eat every day. In my case, I pretty much eat the same breakfast and lunch every day. So I don't need the variety of the main option to tempt me.
Breakfast is two of those little disposable bowls of Honey Nut Cherios, a hard boiled egg and toast no butter and jelly. 2% milk at every meal in little cartons -- it's second grade! None of the juices taste good. Allow yourself variation -- today I had a warm cinnamon roll and two poached solid eggs (grin).
I've also gotten oatmeal or cream of wheat, but they desperately need salt and for me, maple syrup.
I've eaten the same sort of cheese sandwich for forty-fifty years. Lunch is not dinner for me. So with certain exceptions, I order a turkey and cheese sandwich with mayo and mustard, and blueberry yogurt. Not bad, actually.
Dinner, like the lunch/dinner selections, is a crap shoot. Beef lasagna is good, the manicotti is very good -- order two, same with cabbage rolls. Avoid chicken and fish dishes, they are dull and dry by the time they get up to you. I know Wisconsin -- brats are not red like a fat hot dog. The cheeseburgers, though, are decent. Add lettuce and tomato, ketchup, mustard, maybe mayo. You can get that at any meal. Finish with blueberry yogurt and raspberry sherbet.
There are evening snacks, including half sandwiches. But they're always gone. So the dietician sends up a turkey sandwich with my name on it. Maybe add Lorna Doones.
So I am not starving.
Now, about those damned condiments. You know what they're like. Surprisingly, the big mayo packets are the easiest to open, followed by ketchup. Mustard, however... always get two. Sometime you can get a corner to tear, but mostly they bend over and double up. Four corners, four tries. If it's at a meal, a fork can poke a hole, otherwise, you may be out of luck with mustard. Double the difficulty level for relish packets. If you do get one open, you'll mainly get juice. Sad, really.
So, if you're feeling good enough, you can survive hospital food. If you are sick sick, you're probably shit out of luck.
Also, don't worry about waste at a hospital -- everything is wrapped and there's tons of packaging. And if some food doesn't appeal, don't eat it. Breakfast sausage sets me off -- take it away!
Because ultimately you have one job in the hospital -- getting the hell out of here! (grin)