The UK’s National Health Service is creaking at the seams as it struggles to deal with a growing wave of chronic conditions resulting from poor diet, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, obesity and cancer.
Given the scale of this challenge, it is astonishing how many NHS hospitals continue to allow fast food franchises to operate on site. It’s not as if they need to generate more work for themselves.
A recent survey discovered that over one hundred NHS hospitals now have fast food outlets on their premises, including Burger King, Subway, Starbucks and Costa Coffee. This figure does not include the myriad WH Smiths outlets on hospital premises that try constantly to persuade customers to buy chocolate bars on apparent permanent discount. A hospital not all that far from even me has a Greggs sited in the middle of its state-of-the-art Heart and Lung Centre.
The incongruousness of these unsuitable partnerships between healthcare providers and fast food corporations is not confined to the UK. In the USA there are similar examples of hospitals with McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A restaurants on their premises.
What a poor message this sends out to patients and visitors.
It is time to terminate these unsavoury alliances and allow our health services can be unequivocal in the promotion of good health, rather than making themselves another small part of the problem.
On to the recipe, an example of healthy fast food.
You will need to use firm tomatoes for this dish, which is surprisingly light and tasty. These stuffed tomatoes can be served as a light lunch along with a salad. They also make a good side dish and can be served as an alternative breakfast.
herb and Parmesan stuffed tomatoes
8 medium-large tomatoes
100 g breadcrumbs
40 g grated vegetarian Parmesan
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
2 tbsp basil leaves, finely chopped
½ tsp sea salt
50 ml extra virgin olive oil
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F, gas mark 4).
2. Slice across the top off of the tomato, and use a teaspoon to remove the seeds and pulp. Place base-down on a lightly oiled flat baking tray.
3. In a bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, spring onions, chives, basil, sea salt and olive oil. Carefully spoon this mixture into each of the hollowed tomatoes.
4. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the tomatoes have wrinkled and the top of the filling has turned a golden brown.