Jail menu is bland, but healthy

February 18, 2008 4:20:39 AM PST
Spending time behind bars in New York City might turn out to be good for your health.

The overhauled menu at the city's jails includes no sweets, no butter and only skim milk. The Department of Corrections wants healthy alternatives to traditional jailhouse grub.

A breakfast might include fresh fruit, whole wheat bread and wheat flakes. A sample dinner: pepper steak, rice and steamed carrots.

"These people are in our custody, and they don't get to make their own choices," said Department of Correction Commissioner Martin Horn. "We have a moral obligation to make sound choices for them."

That means unsweetened muffins, which are expected to replace the wickedly sweet ones for the roughly 14,000 inmates in the jail system.

"We have no choice but to eat what they give us. It's bland - so I guess that's healthy," said Christopher Alberici, a 40-year-old inmate.

The healthier menu costs the city as much as the previous one, which had included white bread and sweetened drinks, Horn said, adding that it may cost the city less in the long run.

"The cost of an inmate having a stroke or going into diabetic shock is far greater than keeping people healthy to the extent we can," Horn said.