When designing menus for nursing home residents, nutritional value is of great importance. However, taste and appeal are equally important for nutrient delivery.
March is National Nutrition Month, and that makes this the perfect time to discuss the importance of a nutrient-rich diet for seniors living in a residential care facility.
Reduced Appetites Are Challenging for Nursing Home Menus
As we age, our appetite declines. Reduced levels of activity, medications, difficulty chewing and diminished senses of smell and taste all contribute to this problem. Those residents with dementia may be too distracted to eat or even reject food.
Over time, this can lead to malnourishment, dehydration and the mounting health challenges that follow. Not surprisingly, these factors create a challenge when designing menus for the care home setting.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) estimates that 85 percent of nursing home residents are undernourished. Seniors require a different nutritional profile, featuring menus that are lower in calories but higher in vitamins, minerals and protein.
Better Nursing Home Menus Encourage Optimal Health
The right approach to menu planning and recipe selection is an important first step in improving residents’ nutrition.
The NIA recommends that care facilities and nursing homes adopt a flexible approach to menus and pay greater attention to the behavioral cues of residents. While peas may provide important nutrients, they can’t deliver that value when left on the plate.
Consider providing more of what your residents do seem to enjoy eating, but modify the recipes to maximize the caloric and nutritional values of those foods.
The National Institute on Aging also suggests making food more readily available to residents, in the form of protein snacks that are available outside of regular mealtimes.
Consider a Flexible Menu Planning Approach
Grove Menus’ menu planning solutions provide a high level of flexibility while simplifying the entire nutritional delivery process. Best of all, your residents will love our recipes.
Our menus are designed to provide maximum nutritional value, taste and visual appeal, and all included recipes offer the option for customization. So, when you find recipes your residents enjoy, your staff can modify them with protein and other supplements to improve their nutritional value.
Every recipe in our database is dietitian-approved and time-tested for satisfaction. With more than 20 years experience in creating menus for assisted living and nursing home facilities, we know what works and what doesn’t.
For those residents who must adhere to special dietary constraints, Grove Menus includes diet extensions and trayline cards to assist in the delivery and management of doctors’ diet orders.
Contact Grove Menus today, or visit us online, to learn more about our integrated suite of menu planning tools. You can view a sample menu or prep list, and see for yourself just how simple our program makes customization, scaling and the overall improvement of menus for nursing homes and care facilities.