Food Menu Programs Can Help Prevent Senior Malnutrition


The food menu program at your assisted living facility is no doubt designed to meet the nutritional needs of your residents. Yet research suggests that up to 16 percent of community-dwelling older adults may be at risk for malnutrition.

Food Menu Programs Can Help Prevent Senior Malnutrition

The number is substantially higher – up to 60 percent – for seniors in long-term care centers.

Malnourishment has serious consequences for seniors. From diminished immunity and slower wound healing to muscle weakness and poor memory, malnutrition can significantly impact senior health. To help prevent senior malnutrition, consider adopting one of more of the following strategies for you food menu program.

Serve Nutrient-Packed Foods

In older adults, malnutrition often occurs because of a loss in appetite. To combat this, try to make sure that every bite packs a nutritional punch. Focus on serving foods that are packed with nutrients, including fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Treats are certainly ok on an occasional basis, but avoid empty calories whenever possible.

Make Sure Meals Taste Great

It’s not enough to serve up healthy, nutrient-dense foods – meals also have to taste good, or seniors aren’t going to want to eat. Boost the flavor and appeal of your food menu offerings and help prevent senior malnutrition by using lemon juice, garlic, spices and herbs. Experiment with different seasonings, but be careful to keep the salt level at a reasonable level.

Provide Between-Meal Snacks

For many older adults, eating large meals is out of the question. To avoid malnourishment in seniors with smaller appetites, make healthy between-meal snacks a part of your food program. Snacking on fresh veggies, fruit, cheese, nuts or whole grains can provide much-needed nutrients and help prevent malnutrition.

Turn Meals into Social Events

Eating alone isn’t much fun, so encourage your residents to sit with friends at mealtime. In addition, ask your senior care center staff to socialize with the residents during meals. The more enjoyable mealtime is, the more older adults are likely to eat – and the less likely they are to suffer malnutrition.

Consider Nutritional Drinks

For seniors who are having trouble meeting their dietary requirements through the food menu, nutritional drinks can help fill the gaps. Getting nutrients from whole foods is preferred, but fortified beverages are beneficial for older adults who are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition. A range of varieties of are available, suited to meet specific health and nutritional needs.

Senior malnutrition is a serious issue but assisted living facilities can take steps to meet the day-to-day dietary needs of older adults. The Grove Menus meal planning software system makes this easier and more cost-effective. Our food menu program is designed to provide simple, nutritious meal solutions designed specifically for senior care centers.

To schedule a complimentary, no-pressure demonstration of the Grove Menus user-friendly food menu program tools, contact us today.