Dietitian-approved menus help to ensure that assisted living facility meal programs meet the nutritional needs of all residents.
Serving up healthy food is a priority, but the meals must also be flavorful. Otherwise, residents won’t be encouraged to eat properly. To develop enjoyable, nutritious menus, you must get creative with your facility meal planning.
Fortunately, dietitians know more than a few menu tricks to improve senior nutrition, without leaving residents feeling deprived. Using these tips, you can work more nutrients into your facility’s daily meals and snacks.
Dietitian-Approved Menu Favorite: Healthy Breakfast Breads
Who doesn’t love warm-from-the-oven breakfast treats? Muffins and quick breads are tasty and they’re prime targets for a powerful nutritional boost.
You can easily create moist and flavorful breakfast breads by replacing the oil with an equivalent amount of applesauce, ripe banana, pumpkin or mashed sweet potato. You can also add shredded carrot or zucchini as well as chopped or ground walnuts. Also, try replacing some of the all-purpose flour with oat or whole wheat flour.
These same tricks can be used for waffles, pancakes and baked desserts. Sweet treats are always a favorite and, using these tips, your residents won’t even notice they are eating healthier meals.
Jazz Up Veggies with Dietitian-Approved Sauces
Nutritional guidelines recommend that seniors eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day – or more. This probably comes as no big surprise, but most seniors don’t eat that many servings on a daily basis.
One dietitian-approved menu trick is to “hide” extra veggies in your meals. Pureed vegetables can be added to chili, pizza sauce, pasta dishes and soup. Give mashed potatoes a nutritional upgrade with the addition of pureed cauliflower, celery root or parsnip.
Whenever possible, puree raw or al dente vegetables rather than those that have been thoroughly cooked. This not only preserves the maximum nutritional value but also adds fiber to your residents’ diet.
Sneaking more veggies in your assisted living meal plan is easy, and none of your seniors will be the wiser.
Dietitian-Approved Smoothies Help Boost Senior Nutrition
Fruit smoothies are another great way augment the nutrients that your senior residents need. Dietitians recommend maximizing the nutritional value of your smoothies by adding one or more of these “secret” ingredients.
Aside from the usual fruits, juices and dairy products, a variety of healthy ingredients can be blended in without compromising flavor. Vegetables such as kale, spinach and cucumber go well with citrus fruits, for example. With berries, add avocado to create a smooth and creamy texture.
For more protein, add low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt or peanut butter. You can also add whole grains to smoothies, like flax seed and oats.
Assisted living facility managers and food service staff often become caught up in the day-to-day grind of designing senior menus, purchasing ingredients and preparing individual meals and snacks. It’s easy to forget how important flavorful recipes are for maintaining residents’ health.
Grove Menus offers an easy-to-use meal planning program designed to relieve some of this burden and make your life easier. Our innovative program simplifies the entire food service process while saving time and reducing costs.
Contact us today for a free demonstration of the Grove Menus program, complete with dietitian-approved recipes and flexible senior menu options