Seasonal menus for seniors celebrate the flavors that are fresh right now. And, since pumpkin season has arrived, why not consider adding fall’s favorite squash to your fall menu?
Because pumpkin is versatile as well as flavorful, the recipe options are seemingly endless. But, beyond the familiar flavor profile, pumpkin packs a powerful health punch. Read on to learn more about this fruit (yes, it’s a fruit!) and why it deserves its status as a superfood standout for seasonal menus.
Pumpkin is Packed with Vitamin A
Did you know that just one cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin is more than enough for seniors to meet their recommended daily intake of vitamin A?
Vitamin A is known to provide many health benefits, aiding in vision and in maintaining healthy teeth, skin, bones and soft tissue. This powerhouse vitamin also plays a role in proper immune system function.
Obtaining vitamins directly from food sources is almost always preferable to supplementation. And, as vitamin A supplements can interact with certain medications, this makes for yet another reason why pumpkin is a great addition to your seasonal menus.
Pumpkin is Loaded with Beta-Carotene
Pumpkin is a source of carotenoids, including beta-carotene. When consumed, the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A.
More important, beta-carotene acts as an antioxidant, helping to slow or prevent cell damage. Because of its antioxidant properties, the carotenoid is believed to lower the risk of several health problems that are common in older adults.
Seniors who eat plenty of pumpkin may have a reduced chance of developing certain types of cancer, age-related macular degeneration and heart disease.
Pumpkin is a Good Source of Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber is essential for seniors. Eating high-fiber meals can benefit digestive health and aid in weight management. Fiber also helps to lower cholesterol and control blood sugar levels.
Most senior men need about 30 grams of dietary fiber each day. For senior women, the recommended intake is 21 grams. Because this squash has nearly three grams of fiber per one-cup serving, adding pumpkin to your facility’s seasonal menus can help residents reach these daily goals.
With all of these nutritional benefits, it’s no wonder pumpkin is considered a standout superfood for seniors. And it’s no surprise that adult care facilities across the country are adding more of this squash to their fall menus.
For more seasonal menu ideas, the Grove Menus meal program provides a cost-effective source of easy, delicious and nutritious recipe ideas for assisted living facilities, nursing homes and group homes.
The Grove Menus suite of user-friendly food service tools is designed to make menu planning easier – and seniors at adult care facilities love our dietitian-approved menus. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-hassle demonstration, to see how our meal program can help with your food service operation, including seasonal menu adaptations.