7 Reasons to Use Avocados in Nursing Home Menus

  Menu Planning

You can make your nursing home menus more delicious and nutritious by adding avocados.

7 Reasons to Use Avocados in Nursing Home Menus

Avocados sometimes get a bad rap due to their high-fat content, but the flavorful fruit is actually a nutritious choice for older adults. In fact, thanks to their many health benefits, they are widely considered to be a top superfood for seniors.

Registered dietitians like using this superfood in nursing home menus and, after learning more about how this tasty fruit can benefit older adults, you may want to follow their advice.

No. 1: Avocados Are Nutrient-Dense

Avocados are packed with nutrients. A single serving provides a substantial amount of nearly 20 vitamins and minerals beneficial to senior health, including vitamin B5, vitamin K, iron and potassium.

No. 2: Avocados Are Heart-Healthy

Avocado is rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Older adults who consume more of these good-for-you fats can lower their LDL cholesterol and improve their heart health.

No. 3: Avocados Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Arthritis is a common problem among older adults living in care centers and nursing homes. Avocado contains phytosterols, omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols and other strong anti-inflammatory agents that can help fight arthritis inflammation.

No. 4: Avocados Help Regulate Blood Sugar

Thanks to the fruit’s high levels of monounsaturated fat and soluble fiber – and low amounts of carbohydrates and sugar — eating avocados can help stop insulin resistance and keep blood sugar levels steady.

No. 5: Avocados Help Control Blood Pressure

Ounce for ounce, an avocado contains more potassium than a banana. Potassium helps keep blood pressure at a healthy level by blunting the negative effects of salt.

No. 6: Avocados Promote Healthy Digestion

Eating more avocado can benefit the digestive health of seniors at nursing homes. The fiber in the fruit helps encourage regular bowel movements and keeps the digestive system on track.

No. 7: Avocados Reduce the Risk of Cancer

Cancer affects many older adults, and avocados may reduce the risk of certain cancers. The combination of healthy fats and phytochemicals, along with the fruit’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics, has been shown to decrease the chance of developing the disease.

With all of these health benefits, it’s no wonder avocado is considered a superfood for seniors. And, since the fruit is both flavorful and versatile, the options for incorporating it into your nursing home menus are seemingly endless.

For an easy source of dietitian-approved recipes, turn to Grove Menus. Our suite of user-friendly food service tools is designed to make it simple to incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients and create nutritious and delicious meals and snacks for older adults.

To learn more about the Grove Menus meal planning program, or to schedule a complimentary demonstration of our software system helps create nursing home menus, contact us today.

4 Ways a Menu Planning Program Helps with Weight Management

  Menu Planning

A menu planning program can make it easier for seniors in residential care to maintain a healthy weight.

4 Ways a Menu Planning Program Helps with Weight Management

As we age, weight management becomes more difficult. Many seniors carry extra pounds and slimming down can both reduce the risk of medical complications and improve quality of life. That said, weight loss can lead to the loss of muscle mass and increase frailty if not undertaken carefully.

The basic principles of weight management in the golden years aren’t all that different than during any other stage of life. However, certain factors need special consideration. A menu planning program like Grove Menus helps nursing homes and senior care centers ensure that their residents maintain a healthy weight.

No. 1: Packing in the Protein

Because seniors are at risk for losing muscle mass when losing weight, protein intake should be a primary focus of menu planning.

Eating enough protein helps support muscle growth and repair and increasing protein intake can help counteract muscle loss. Also, protein-rich meals make seniors feel full for longer, making them less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks.

No. 2: Keeping Seniors Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is critical for digestion and weight management, yet the sense of thirst diminishes as we age. Medications and chronic health conditions can make this problem worse. A meal planning program offers solutions, including flavored waters, foods with high water content, savory beverages and other healthy drinks to help keep seniors hydrated.

No. 3: Practicing Portion Control

Older adults generally require fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight, but many seniors continue to eat as much as they did in their younger years.

Portion control is essential, and menu planning programs have tricks that shave off calories without leaving seniors feeling deprived. Making small changes like serving smaller, more frequent meals and incorporating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains can make a world of difference in weight management.

No. 4: Planning Healthy Menus

Many older adults have unique health concerns that require a special diet. Meeting those needs with an eye toward weight management is much less difficult with a menu planning program like Grove Menus. Delicious and nutritious dietitian-approved recipes are included, and each can be easily modified to accommodate individual dietary needs and weight goals.

As a result, planning healthy senior menus is as easy as a few clicks of the mouse.

In addition to meal planning, the Grove Menus program features an integrated suite of user-friendly tools that facilitate food service operations. Our software system is designed to improve senior nutrition, reduce food waste and cut food costs at nursing homes and adult care centers.

Adopting the Grove Menus program is a smart, cost-effective approach to helping seniors maintain a healthy weight. For more information, or to schedule a free, no-pressure demonstration of our menu planning program, contact us today.

Food Menu Program Ideas: 10 Healthy Snacks for Seniors

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Food menu programs feature all kinds of healthy recipes for seniors – including creative snack ideas. Serving between-meal bites that are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber helps ensure that older adults get the calories and nutrients they need each day.

healthy snacks for seniors

 

Nutritional needs change as we age, and many seniors are better able to meet their dietary requirements by eating smaller amounts of food more often. Simple, healthy snacks are a great way to round out your assisted living facility food menu program.

Fruit Salad

Seasonal fruits make for delicious, nutritious snacks. Try slicing up some strawberries, apples and bananas. Mix together with blueberries, raspberries and diced kiwi, then toss with a bit of honey and orange juice for a healthy treat.

Homemade Granola Bars

Granola bars aren’t always considered healthy snacks for assisted living facility residents, but homemade versions can be. To pack yours with nutrition, stir together rolled oats, crisp rice cereal, chopped nuts and seeds with nut butter and maple syrup, then bake.

Turkey Wrap

Turkey wraps are low in calories and high in protein, making them a perfect snack choice for seniors. Spread honey mustard on a whole grain tortilla wrap, add sliced turkey, tomato, lettuce and shredded cheese, then roll up tightly and refrigerate before cutting.

Berry-Topped Waffles

Waffles aren’t just for breakfast — they can be healthy snacks. Top mini whole grain waffles with low-fat cream cheese and blueberries or raspberries for a snack time treat your senior residents will love.

Veggies with Hummus

Sugar snap peas, baby carrots, strips of red pepper and cucumber slices offer seniors much-needed nutrients – and serving them with hummus dip makes for an even healthier snack.

Apples with Nut Butter

Juicy, crisp apples are a senior favorite at snack time – and paired with nut butter, they’re particularly tasty and nutritious. Peel the apples for easier eating, and slice for dipping.

Finger Sandwiches

Tiny finger sandwiches are appealing to seniors and, with the right ingredients, they can be a healthy addition to your assisted living facility food menu program. Try serving tuna or chicken salad on rye, or nut butter with banana slices on whole grain bread.

Avocado on Crackers

Avocados are naturally nutrient-dense, so snacks featuring this superfood can be healthy for older adults. Spread slices of avocado on crackers or lightly toasted bread for a delicious assisted living facility snack.

Strawberries with Pudding

Strawberries are appetizing on their own, but who doesn’t love them with a little chocolate? Serve strawberries with low-fat or fat-free pudding for a sweet and healthy snack time treat.

Natural Popsicles

Homemade popsicles are refreshing, healthy snacks for seniors. Blend non-fat plain Greek yogurt with fruit puree – try strawberries with bananas or blueberries with raspberries — and pour into popsicle molds, then freeze overnight.

If you would like even more fresh ideas for healthy snacks, the Grove Menus software system – with a suite of user-friendly food menu program tools – features hundreds of delicious, dietitian-approved recipes designed to meet the nutritional challenges of older adults.

Meal and snack planning for seniors is much easier and more cost-effective with Grove Menus. For a complimentary, no-pressure demonstration of how our food menu program can benefit your assisted living facility, contact us today.

Menu Planning Programs Help Build Healthier Burgers 

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An assisted living facility menu planning program provides recipes for healthier senior dishes – including burgers.

Menu Planning Programs Help Build Healthier Burgers 

Hamburgers are traditionally dripping with calories and fat, but nutritious versions can be just as tasty. In honor of National Burger Month this May, we’re sharing our top menu planning program tips for building healthier burgers for seniors.

Swap Out Some of the Beef

For many seniors, beef is a must for burgers – ground turkey or chicken just isn’t the same. Using lean or extra lean ground beef is best but, to make hamburgers healthier, replace half the meat with finely chopped mushrooms. The hearty texture goes well with ground beef, and mushrooms add a big nutritional punch.

Add Healthy Mix-Ins

Seasonings like salt, pepper and dried herbs boost flavor without adding calories or fat. To pack in more taste and nutrition, consider making burger patties with mix-ins like barbecue sauce, steak sauce, minced onion or even shredded zucchini.

Make Smaller Patties

When it comes to healthier burgers, serving size is important. Seniors can safely enjoy hamburgers on a regular basis, but older adults don’t need supersized servings. Make slider-sized burger patties instead, using about 3 to 4 ounces of meat for each.

Choose the Right Cheese

To some, a burger isn’t a burger without the cheese – but many cheeses are high in calories and fat. Processed cheese slices are the usual choice, but low-fat shreds or ultra-thin slices of block cheeses make for healthier burgers.

Stay Away from White Buns

White buns don’t offer much in the way of nutrition. Whole grain buns are much healthier and using half the bun to make open-face burgers is a great way to cut calories. Or, switch out the regular white bun for a 100 percent whole wheat English muffin.

Pile on the Veggies

Another way to make burgers healthier – and more flavorful — is to top them with a pile of veggies. Leafy greens like spinach or kale work well, or pile on some cabbage slaw. You can also try sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions or roasted red peppers.

Be Careful with Condiments

Mayonnaise is high in fat and calories, and ketchup is filled with sodium and sugar. To make healthier burgers for seniors, use these condiments in sparingly, or switch them out for mustard, hummus, guacamole or salsa.

Building healthier burgers to celebrate National Burger Month is easy when you use the Grove Menus software system. Our menu planning program features hundreds of delicious and nutritious dietitian-approved recipes as well as an integrated suite of user-friendly tools that facilitate food service operations.

To learn more about the Grove Menus software system, or to schedule a free, no-pressure demonstration of how our assisted living facility menu planning program can help you serve healthy, hearty meals while saving time and money, contact us today.

Dietitian-Approved Menus Help Fight Arthritis Inflammation

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Did you know that dietitian-approved menus can help alleviate arthritis pain and stiffness?

dietitian approved menus help fight arthritis inflammation

Arthritis may not be considered a diet-related condition, what we eat impacts our joints. Research shows that certain foods reduce inflammation while others can trigger inflammation. Serving seniors more arthritis-friendly foods – and less of those that cause inflammation – may help reduce pressure on their joints, helping to mitigate arthritis pain and stiffness.

This May, in honor of National Arthritis Awareness Month, consider adopting a meal planning program that features dietitian-approved menus for seniors. A meal planning program makes it easy to provide your residents with arthritis-friendly meals and snacks.

Focusing on Foods that Fight Arthritis Inflammation

To ease arthritis pain and stiffness, dietitian-approved menus aim to serve seniors more of the foods that reduce inflammation. The top arthritis-friendly foods to include in meals and snacks are:

  • Tuna, salmon and other fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Soy foods, including tofu and edamame
  • Red and purple fruits, like cherries and berries
  • Oranges, limes and other citrus fruits
  • Low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt
  • Oatmeal, brown rice and whole grain cereals
  • Red beans, kidney beans and pinto beans
  • Onions, leeks and garlic
  • Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage and kale
  • Nuts like almonds, pistachios and walnuts

Limiting Foods that Trigger Arthritis Inflammation

Studies show that eating certain foods can increase arthritis inflammation. To help fight arthritis pain and stiffness, dietitian-approved menus limit servings of the following foods:

  • High-sugar beverages and treats
  • Red meat, full-fat dairy products and other foods high in saturated fat
  • Fried foods and others high in trans fat
  • Mayonnaise, salad dressings and oils high in omega-6 fatty acids
  • Refined carbohydrates like white breads, white rice and white potatoes
  • Foods that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG)

Planning Arthritis-Friendly Meals and Snacks

Menu planning for seniors with arthritis requires more than serving up the right foods. Some medications prescribed to treat this condition can interfere with how the body absorbs nutrients. Consequently, you must take care to ensure that senior residents derive the maximum nutritional benefit from the foods they consume.

In addition, seniors who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or gout have additional food considerations. For example, fish can lead to gout flare-ups, even though it’s a good choice for seniors with rheumatoid arthritis.

For those reasons, the task of planning with arthritis-friendly meals and snacks is best left to a dietitian – or to a meal planning program like Grove Menus, with hundreds of delicious and nutritious dietitian-approved menus for seniors.

Our cost-effective suite of menu planning tools makes it much easier to fight arthritis inflammation through food. All our recipes are designed by registered dietitians and each is simple to adapt for seniors with different dining and dietary needs. Adult care facilities can avoid the expense of keeping a dietitian on staff and instead rely on our dietitian-approved menus to plan arthritis-friendly meals and snacks.

In addition to menu planning, Grove Menus facilitates food ordering and food production, which saves time and reduces waste at adult care facilities. To learn more about how our software system can cut food costs and improve senior nutrition, or to schedule a free, no-pressure demonstration of our arthritis-friendly dietitian-approved menus, contact us today.