Planning healthy nursing home menus poses several key challenges.
The dietary needs of seniors and those suffering from chronic disease are more demanding than for other populations. Unfortunately, most seniors have a reduced appetite and a more sensitive palate.
Although the so-called superfoods pack an increased nutritional punch, they don’t all appeal to the picky senior appetite. By selecting some of the healthiest – and most flavorful – fruits and vegetables, however, you can boost the health and appeal of your assisted living or nursing home menus.
Consider These Nutrient-Packed Fruits When Planning Menus
Some of the healthiest fruits are also the most nutrient-rich.
Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that gives the immune system a boost and helps the body’s natural healing mechanisms. And a mere cup of strawberries meets the body’s daily vitamin C needs.
Likewise, blueberries are truly a superfood. With plenty of vitamins and fiber, they’re a perfect staple for your nursing home menus.
Watermelon, although relatively low in calories, is rich in vitamins C and A. It’s also low in sugar content, so it works well for many special dietary requirements.
Vegetables Pump Up the Nutritional Value of Care Home Menus
Vegetables can be challenging in the assisted living or nursing home environment.
Many older residents prefer well-cooked (overcooked) versions of veggie dishes, with lots of salt. Cooking vegetables extensively, as you may know, removes much of the nutritional value. And, of course, sodium is a tightly controlled additive.
Some of the healthiest vegetables can be incorporated into your menus in alternative forms, including fresh juices and salads. Fresh spinach and kale both lend themselves well to juice mixtures as well as salads.
Broccoli and cauliflower are both full of vitamins, fiber and minerals, as well as immune boosters. Incorporate al dente versions into cold salads and veggie trays to make them more attractive to the senior palate.
Remember the Phytonutrients When Planning Menus
Nutritional experts recommend using fruits and vegetables that cover the color spectrum, to maximize the amount of phytonutrients in the senior diet. In fact, you can count on color as an indicator of nutritional value.
Everything from red cabbage to yellow squash, from golden mango to bright green kiwi will help provide the healthy boost your nursing home or assisted living menus need.
The simple and effective menu planning tools from Grove Menus are designed to help you incorporate the most nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables while appealing to the unique taste and preference challenges you face.
Contact us today to learn more about our dietician-approved recipes and how Grove Menus can help you save money and time in your nursing home menus and planning efforts.