You don’t need to attend a medical school to understand the importance of diet for a recovering patient. The cocktail of medicines, the discomfort after surgery & actual illness already takes a heavy toll on one’s appetite and restricting the patient to bland hospital mess food is no relief. There is a huge difference between the taste of simple things like chapatti/breads and rice, which no matter how hi-tech the hospital kitchen is, cannot replicate. No wonder a patient consumes twice the amount of mummy/biwi (mother & wife) ki roti, curries, vegetables & pulses compared to what concortion is fixed in an industrial kitchen.
Papad, deserts or sweets are not normally a part of the typical home cooked food esp. when served to the patients in tiffins. However they are the centerpoint of the hospital thali which needs these savories to supplement its lack of taste. So contrary to what hospital authorities make you believe, home cooked meals are much more balanced, hygienic, nutritious and fulling. Then one must not undermine the personal touch of being fed by the loved ones. The emotional bonding it provides cures half the ailments.
If these homemade food was so toxic, we would have a billion hospital beds in India alone. Most patients are mature enough to understand the need to limit the chilli, spices, oil etc. in their meals. In addition, I am sure it is easier to emphasize the need of properly cleaning the ingredients & cook them than to a semi-literate mess staff worker. The family members already know and fully understand the patient’s food allergies and dietary preferences. So there is no need to over-complicate the matter by serving them a wrong meal and then scrambling for making it compliant with the restrictions. Ask anybody who has spent more than a few days in the hospital bed; their number one complaint would be on the food. Yet, unless the patient skips a minimum of two meals (and deteriorates their health because of that), the doctors/dieticians would not issue a pass for home cooked meals. I do not understand why for a problem that is completely unrelated to healing, they would still proscribe home meals.
The way I see it, these restrictions only helps the self-serving mission of the private hospitals by enabling them to rake up huge bills. They charge you an exorbitant price for the food & beverages and then slap you an additional fee for dietitian consultation. (A person who for most practical purposes is a glorified steward who jots down your menu.) If hospital were so worried about the patient’s diet, they would have stopped the cakes, pastries, sweets etc. served in the coffee shops & lobbies. If you insisted on healthy food, they might give you a sugar free version cooked in olive oil, but it will still be junk food and cannot satiate the taste buds that one morsel of “mummi ki roti” can.