Dietitian-approved menus can address – and resolve – the many challenges of meal planning for senior vegetarians.
A well-planned vegetarian diet, focused on serving a variety of the right types of foods, can meet the unique nutritional needs of older adults. With dietitian-approved menus, seniors at adult care centers can eat vegetarian and stay healthy – not to mention, a dietitian-approved food menu program makes meal planning much easier.
Planning healthy meals that meet the dietary needs of vegetarians doesn’t have to be difficult, especially with our handy meal planning tips.
Include Protein at Every Meal
For seniors on a vegetarian diet, experts recommend including a source of protein with all meals. Fish, eggs, and dairy are great sources of protein, but are problematic in meal planning for vegans and some lacto-vegetarians. Fortunately, plenty of other options – including soy foods, legumes, beans, lentils, nuts and nut butters – can provide the protein seniors need.
Plan for Proper Nutrition
In the process of meal planning, focus on including all the nutrients required for senior health. The more restrictive a vegetarian diet, the more difficult it can be for older adults to get critical nutrients. To that end, dietitians recommend serving a range of foods that contain vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, iron, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Dairy products, eggs, beans, seafood, fatty fish and green veggies, among many other vegetarian-friendly foods, can provide these nutrients in abundance.
Make Simple Recipe Changes
Many popular menu dishes can be easily adapted to fit into a vegetarian diet.
Burritos can be made with beans and cheese, rather than chicken, pork or beef. Pasta with marinara or pesto sauce, instead of a meat-based sauce, is also a crowd-pleaser for senior vegetarians. Other health options include veggie pizza, tofu-veggie stir fry, and vegetable lasagna.
Serve Vegetarian Products
Vegetarian meat substitutes often look and taste much like their non-vegetarian counterparts – and they’re usually a better meal planning choice in terms of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Soy-based sausage patties are great for breakfast, and veggie burgers, bean burgers and falafel can bring flavor and nutrition to senior lunches and dinners. Or, add meat substitutes like tempeh, tofu, and seitan for a protein boost in soups, stews and casseroles.
Choose Fortified Foods
To ensure senior vegetarians get a full range of nutrients, include fortified foods in your meal planning. Many cereals, breads, fruit juices, and milks are fortified with vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in the typical vegetarian diet. Dietitian-approved menus for vegetarians include more of these foods to help meet the dietary needs of older adults.
Creating delicious and nutritious meals and snacks for vegetarians is a breeze with Grove Menus. Our food menu program is packed with meat-free recipes, and our dietitian-approved menus can be easily modified for the vegetarian diet.
In addition to meal planning, the Grove Menus system also offers a suite of user-friendly program tools designed to save time, reduce waste and cut food costs. For more information on our food menu program, or to schedule a free, no-pressure demonstration of our dietitian-approved menus, contact us today.