If you’re being cared for or are visiting any of our three hospitals — Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital — you can use this page to find out about the meals and snacks we provide inpatients, and the food and drink options available to outpatients and visitors. 

Inpatients: mealtimes advice

We offer a variety of hot and cold drinks available at any time throughout the day. 

Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks are also provided for your convenience.

Your mealtime is important to us. If you require assistance with eating or drinking, visitors are welcome to stay and support you during meals. 

To ensure your comfort, any necessary tests will be scheduled before or after meal periods.

If you require assistance during mealtimes, let us know. We're here to help and make your dining experience as enjoyable as possible.

If you miss a meal, you can order a snack pack. Discuss this with your nurse or food service assistant.

If you've experienced unexplained weight loss, feel underweight, or have a diminished appetite, please contact a nurse. Our dedicated team can supply a dietitian for assessment and personalised advice.

If someone brings food or drink from outside, please consult the nurse in charge. 

Depending on your care plan, the provided items might not fit with your dietary requirements. Your wellbeing is our priority.

You have the flexibility to choose your breakfast, lunch, and dinner from our diverse menus. 

Our offerings include both hot and cold items, catering to different preferences. 

Vegetarian, vegan, and international cuisine options are also available.

Please inform our nursing staff or food service assistant if you have any allergies, specific dietary requirements, or religious preferences. We aim to provide meals that cater to your unique needs and preferences.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, require more information, or need assistance. Your satisfaction and comfort are our main priorities.

We cannot reheat food brought in for you.

Please contact us if you require the allergens or nutrition information sent to you in a different format.

Whilst you are free to choose any of the options from the hospital menu, it is worth noting that the menu is coded ❤ for healthy eating. These options will be the best choices for those with diabetes or those who are aiming to eat a healthy diet. These choices will be lower in fat and sugar than other menu options


The lower fat/ lower sugar options are usually fruit /yoghurts/cheese and biscuits or milk puddings +/- tinned fruit

Fruit / yoghurts/cheese and biscuits/ tinned fruit do not routinely appear on the menu but all these options available from the ward kitchen. You will need to request these from one of the ward nurses


Some people with diabetes count carbohydrates so they can match their meals with an appropriate amount of insulin If you would like this information , the carbohydrate values for all the menu options are now available under the “Carb Values” section of this guide. The carb values are given for a “ standard portion “.- (however, portion sizes may vary slightly)

To help you decide if your portion is the same as the standard portion, we have provided food photos under the section “ standard food portion photos” so that you can visually compare the portion on your plate to the standard portion


The standard carb value for mashed potato is 40g (see carb values on this guide ) You view the food photo for mashed potato and your portion looks a little larger than the one in the photo , so you decide your portion is nearer 50g carb

You use 50g carb for your insulin calculation


Snacks may be needed between meals if you take insulin or if your appetite is poor

If you take a twice daily mixed insulin e.g Novomix 30 or Humalog Mix 25, you should always have a bedtime snack

If you need a snack, you should ask one of the nurses to provide this from the ward kitchen

Some of the snacks available to you from the ward kitchen would be:

  • One glass of milk (10g carb)
  • One or two slices of bread with butter (15-30 g carb)
  • One sandwich (approximately 30g carb – see individual pack)
  • One fruit (5-20g carb)
  • Cheese and biscuits (12g carb)
  • One low fat yoghurt (15g carb)
  • Small biscuit pack (15-30g (see individual packets)

Not eating well?

An adequate food intake is important whilst you are in hospital to help aid your recovery.

If your appetite is poor and/or you are not eating well, you should choose from the whole menu (not just ❤ options) Even sugary desserts may be suitable (if these are the only foods you feel able to eat)

Thinking of losing weight?

Being in hospital can be boring and you may look forward to your meals as the main highlight of the day!!! Boredom can lead to a greater focus on food and a temptation to eat more and snack more!

Increased food intake may not be advisable if you are overweight with diabetes (especially as you will be moving less when confined to your bed/ chair for most of the day.) Increased food intake and less activity is a recipe for high blood glucose levels and high blood glucose levels could contribute to a greater length of stay in hospital

Since it is the carbohydrate content of the diet (bread/ potato/ biscuits/ crisps /desserts) that principally affects blood glucose levels, carbohydrates should usually be consumed in moderation

Tips for sensible eating / moderate carbohydrate intake if overweight

  • Avoid fruit juices, they contain large amounts of natural sugar and are generally not recommended for people with diabetes – choose fresh whole fruits instead (fruit should be spaced over the day) Ask a nurse for fruit from the ward kitchen stock
  • Breakfast should contain one carbohydrate e.g., cereal or toast not both
  • A dessert is not essential. (fruit and yoghurt are healthier options if a dessert is chosen)
  • Smaller portions. Ideally the carbohydrate portion of the meal should be no more than 1/3 of the plate.
  • Larger portions of vegetable help limit the carb portion on the plate and make the meal lower in calories

Supplement drinks

If you are not eating well, these may be recommended by the ward dietitian Whilst they all contain sugar, they are still necessary if you are not eating well

If the provision of these causes your blood glucose levels to rise, your medical team should be informed, and your diabetic medication will be adjusted to limit high blood glucose levels

If you take insulin, an insulin injection will generally be needed with these drinks

If you take tablets or are diet only treatment for your diabetes, the drinks have less effect on blood glucose levels if you sip them slowly over a period of time


If you have a low blood glucose, a nurse will provide you with two glucose gel sachets or 150-200 mls fruit juice followed by a starchy snack (usually biscuits/ fruit - see list above) .

Royal Free Hospital inpatient menus

Your feedback and suggestions are welcome to improve the quality of our service. Send your feedback and suggestions to rf-tr.rf-catering@nhs.net.

When you place your breakfast order with ward staff, please ask about any religious choices you may require, including Kosher, Halal or others.

Daily breakfast menu choices
Type Food choice
Beverages Fruit juices, fresh milk (full cream or semi-skimmed)
Cereal Selection of cereals (including porridge, granola)
Bread See table below.
Preserves Marmalade
Low fat spread
Hot drinks Tea
Hot chocolate

We serve a different choice of bread each day. Please see below for the day's selection.

Breakfast bread choices
Day Bread
Monday White wholemeal teacakes.
Tuesday White wholemeal crumpets.
Wednesday White wholemeal assorted rolls.
Thursday White wholemeal teacakes.
Friday White wholemeal assorted rolls.
Saturday White wholemeal bagels.
Sunday White wholemeal english muffin.

Gluten free breakfast menu

Breakfast cereal

  • Available on request.

Gluten free rolls

  • Served with either butter or low fat spread and jam or marmalade. Please request gluten free rolls when you place your breakfast order.

Low fat yogurt

  • Fruit
  • Plain


  • Please ask


  • Gluten free biscuits
  • (order from catering)
  • Fruit
  • Low fat yogurt (fruit or plain)
  • Drinks: tea, coffee, fruit juice

Low Potassium breakfast menu

Breakfast cereal

  • Ready Brek
  • Cornflakes
  • Rice Krispies
  • Weetabix

Bread or toast

  • Served with either butter or low fat spread and jam or marmalade.

Low fat yogurt

  • Plain


  • Cake (no fruit cake)
  • Low fat yogurt (plain)
  • Cheese and biscuits 


  • Tea

Sorry, no hot chocolate, coffee or fruit juice available.

Low fat breakfast menu

Breakfast cereal

  • Served with skimmed milk, please order from the catering staff.

Bread or toast and low fat spread

  • Served with either jam or marmalade (no butter).


  • Fruit juice


  • Fruit


  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Fruit juice

Restricted fibre breakfast menu

Breakfast Cereal

  • Cornflakes
  • Rice Krispies

Bread or toast

  • White bread served with either butter or low fat spread.

Low fat yogurt

  • Plain


  • Plain biscuits
  • Cake (not fruit cake)
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Low fat yogurt (plain)


  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Hot chocolate
  • Fruit juice

Main (a la carte) (pdf format)

From 7am to 8pm, a ward can call the catering help desk on extension 33331 to have a meal delivered. Out of hours, the ward will call the night porters lodge on extension 34870.

All wards have been equipped with at least one Iwave high speed oven to prepare the meals

Please remember that every ward has:

  • Soup
  • Toast, butter
  • Jam
  • Yogurt
  • Juices
  • Milk

The above can be served at any time.

Out of hours menu

Cold meals

  • Selection of sandwiches and salad

Hot Meals

  • Beef cottage pie (GF RF LF Carbs: 23)
  • Pasta minced lamb served with beans and vegetables (Halal)
  • Cheese omelette served sauté potatoes and baked beans (EGF EC V Carbs: 38)
  • Chicken korma curry served with boiled rice and peas (❤ GF LS RF LF Carbs: 44)
  • Fish and chips served with mushy peas (LF carbs: 60)
  • Mexican-style mixed bean chilli served with a mixture of white and wild wice and baby sweetcorn (❤GF V VG LS LF Carbs 48)
  • Vegetarian kosher meal (v)
  • Meat Kosher meal

Key to symbols

  • ❤ Healthier eating
  • ⬆E Higher energy
  • EC Easy to chew
  • GF Gluten free
  • V Vegetarian
  • VG Vegan
  • LS Low salt
  • RF Restricted fibre
  • LF Lactose Free

Carbs value: grams of carbohydrate per meal.

Dyphagia ward (pdf format)

The following is available on the ward at any time. Please ask nursing staff, housekeepers, or dietitians.

  • Assorted biscuits
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Custard fruit salad
  • Full fat/low fat and dairy free yogurt
  • Hot chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • Jelly
  • Milk/dairy free milk
  • Orange/apple juice
  • Rice pudding
  • Sponge cake
  • Vegan pudding

Gluten and allergy free (pdf format)

If the Halal dish on the day is not to your taste, please order from any other day and we will endeavour to meet your needs. All international menu meat is Halal food certified.

Halal menu
Day Lunch Supper
Monday Roast chicken, potato, beans and vegtables
Fish fillet in Parsley sauce, potato, beans and vegtables
Green bean masala, urad dai and rice
Pasta and minced lamb with beans and vegetables
Fish in tomato sauce with mushy peas and potatoes
Pasta vegetarian with beans and vegetables
Tuesday Lamb korma, masoor dai and rice
Fish masala, potato, beans and vegtables
Spinach masala, chana dai and rice
Brown stew chicken rice and red kidney beans
Ackees saltfish and rice 
Aloo saag, blackeyed bean dal and rice
Wednesday Chicken fillet bites, chips, baked beans and veg
Fishermans pie with mushy peas 
Mataar paneer, black chana dal and rce 
Cottage pie with carrots 
Fish in tomato sauce with mushy peas and potatoes
Sweet potato curry and rice
Thursday Shepherds pie
Fish Fillet in parsley sauce, potato, beans and veg
Peas and Potato, blackeyed bean dal and rice
Chicken biriyani, ehole moong dal and rice
Fish masala, potato, beans and veg
Green bean masala, urad dai and rice
Friday Jerk chicken rice and red kidney beans
Ackee with saltfish, marley stew and rice 
Moroccan Quorn and vegetables with couscous
Beef bolognaise and past with carrots
Fish masaia,potato, beans and veg
Spinach masala, chana dal and rice
Saturday Cottage pie with carrots
Fishermans pie with mushy peas
Lentil bolognaise and broccoli 
Curry mutton and rice
Fish in tomato sauce with mushy peas and potatoes
Mataar paneer, black chana rdal and rice
Sunday Chicken biriyani, whole moong dal and rice
Fish fillet in parsley sauce, potato, beans and veg
Omlette, beans and potatoes
Lamb korma, masoor dai and rice
Ackee with saltfish, marley stew and rice
Moroccan Quorn and vegetables with couscous
Jain food
Available items
Sweetcorn and spinach (palak makka) - Jain
Vegetable shaak, kichdi and kadhi - Jain
Khichdi and kadhi - Jain
Chick pea curry (whole masala) - Jain
Red kidney bean curry (Rajma masala) - Jain

Kosher (pdf format)

Renal (pdf format)

Renal a la carte (pdf format)

Salad and sandwich (pdf format)

  • Middle Eastern vegan salad (vegan couscous falafel, houmus salad)
  • Avocado, wweet potato and cherry tomato vegan salad (vegan sweet potato salad)
  • Houmus and chickpeas vegan sandwich

Main courses: halal options from Maples menu

  • Peas and potato (served with black eyed bean dal and rice)
  • Vegetarian pasta (served with beans and pasta)
  • Green bean masala (served with urad dal and rice)
  • Aloo sag (served with black eyed bean dal and rice)
  • Aloo gobi (served with whole mong dal and rice)
  • Spinach masala (served with chana dal and rice)
  • Lentil bolognaise and pasta (served with carrots)

Main courses from a la carte menu

  • Lentil cottage pie (served with sliced carrots and peas)
  • Mildly spiced chickpea and lentil curry (served with white rice, peas and gobi aloo)
  • Mexican style mixed been chilli (served with a mixture of white and red rice and baby sweetcorn)

Cold dessert

  • Seasonal fruit selection

Hot dessert

  • Coconut and raspberry rice pudding (from a la carte menu)
  • Cinnamon apple with soya vanilla sauce (from a la carte menu)


  • Coconut milk
  • Almond milk unsweetened

Outpatients and visitors: food and drink options

Wellspring restaurant

The Wellspring restaurant, located adjacent to the main entrance on level 1, serves a selection of food and drink, including: 

  • homemade daily specials
  • cooked breakfasts
  • a healthy breakfast selection of oats, cereals, and fresh fruit
  • a range of hot meals, soup, salads, sandwiches, jacket potatoes and pizzas

It also serves bean-to-cup coffee, and a choice of desserts and healthy snacks.

Opening times: 7.30am to 8pm every day. 

  • breakfast: 7.30 to 11am.
  • lunch: 12 noon to 3pm.
  • dinner: 6 to 8pm. 

Snacks and ‘lite bites’ are available at all other times.

Payment: cash and credit/debit card accepted.

Costa Coffee

Location: level 1 

Costa Coffee serves coffee and cold beverages, sandwiches, paninis, cakes, and pastries. It's in the corridor that runs from the main entrance to the main lifts.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, from 8.30am to 3pm.

Payment: cash and credit/debit card accepted.

Friends of Barnet shop

Location: level 1 

The Friends of Barnet shop sells healthy snacks and fruit, cold food and stationery, magazines, and newspapers.

Opening hours:

  • weekdays from 8am to 6pm
  • weekends and bank holidays from 9am to 5pm

Payment: cash and card accepted.

Vending machines

There are vending machines located throughout the hospital, including in the emergency department. All products are available to take away via our retail outlets.

There is also a snack trolley service which visits wards and departments between 11am and 2pm Monday to Friday. 

Costa Coffee

A Costa Coffee outlet is available near the main entrance serving hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, and light snacks. It's open weekdays from 7.30am to 7pm, and at weekends from 8am to 3pm. 

Payment: card only.

Little Fresh shop

The Little Fresh shop on the ground floor sells a range of healthy snacks and fruit, hot and cold food, stationery, magazines, and newspapers. The shop is open weekdays from 7am to 7pm. 

Payment: card only.

Vending machines

Vending machines are located around the hospital, including in the urgent care centre waiting area.

Royal Free Hospital restaurant

The Royal Free Hospital provides a restaurant with a deli bar and our own Aromata coffee shop inside the restaurant. To find it, take the lift or stairs to the lower ground floor.

The Royal Free restaurant serves breakfast and lunch, Monday to Sunday, from 7am to 7pm.


  • Breakfast: served from 7am to 10.30am
  • Lunch: served from 11.30am to 2.30pm
  • Supper: served from 4.30pm to 7pm.

Sandwiches, salads cakes, and other items are sold between meals.

Deli Bar

The Deli Bar serves a selection of hot and cold sandwiches, panini’s, wraps, salads and jacket potatoes, all custom-made and fresh to order.

Opening times: Monday to Friday, 11.30am to 2.30pm.

Aromata Café

A range of speciality Aromata coffees are available including cappuccino, latte, espresso, mocha, herbal and traditional teas, plus a selection of in-house made pastries and cakes. It's open from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and is closed at weekends.

Opening times:  Monday to Friday, from 7am to 5pm.

Vending machines

There are selections of vending machines located throughout the hospital, including the maternity waiting area and the emergency department. These serve hot and cold beverages and snacks, including healthy food options.

Marks & Spencer and WHSmith

The hospital has a M&S Simply Food outlet and WHSmith, both located on the ground floor. They sell a wide selection of sandwiches, snacks, cold drinks, and other items.