Recipes for Seniors Using Healthy, Tasty Citrus Fruits

  Menu Planning

Citrus fruits are in season and at their juiciest during the winter months, and using more citrus in recipes for seniors is a great way to improve flavor and nutrition 

Lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits are nutrient-dense foods, loaded with vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Citrus fruits are also fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free. And, experts say that consuming citrus is beneficial for people vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies, obesity and diet-related chronic diseases – a group which includes many older adults.

Healthy Tasty Citrus Fruits

Fortunately, bumping up the amount of citrus in recipes for seniors is easy. Here are six quick and easy ideas for adding more citrus to your adult care center food menu program.

1: Boost Beverages

Older adults are at a greater risk for dehydration, and serving up tasty drinks can help increase their fluid intake. Citrus adds great flavor and nutrition to a range of beverages – try squeezing lemon juice in tea or adding orange slices to water.

2: Perk Up Parfaits

Greek yogurt is packed with protein, probiotics and calcium, and many seniors enjoy eating it with granola or breakfast cereal. Why not add citrus fruit segments and make the dish even healthier? Oranges or grapefruit are perfect for parfaits.

3: Brighten Salads

Seniors love salads, and they’re a great option for any adult care facility food menu program. Jazz up the usual senior recipes with some citrus and get a big nutrition boost. For a flavor punch, add segments to the dish, sprinkle with a bit of grated peel and dress with some juice, olive oil and seasoning.

4: Season Veggies

When serving veggies, you can skip the salt and butter if you grab some citrus fruits. Just squeeze fresh lemon juice over steamed green beans, broccoli or asparagus, and you’ll have all the seasoning you need. When corn’s on the food menu, try adding a dash of lime juice.

5: Serve Salsa

Who doesn’t like salsa? Dietitian-approved senior recipes for chicken and fish often feature salsas – and a citrus version is a delicious and healthy option for your food menu program. Simply cut a grapefruit and orange into segments and coarsely chop. Stir that into a mixture of lime juice, garlic, oil, cilantro and season to taste.

6: Try a Trifle

For an easy and nutritious citrus dessert, make a trifle. Layer chunks of angel food cake with a mixture of fat-free, sugar-free vanilla pudding, reduced-fat cream cheese, orange peel and orange juice, and you’ll have a dessert that can tempt anyone’s taste buds.

Do you need cost-effective, nutritious, citrus-based recipes for seniors? The Grove Menus food menu program is an easy-to-use source of simple and tasty dietitian-approved senior recipes for nursing homes, assisted living centers and adult care facilities.

With a suite of user-friendly meal planning tools, Grove Menus makes it easier to meet the dietary needs of older adults. For a free, no-pressure demonstration of how our food menu program software helps plan healthy, dietitian-approved recipes for seniors, contact us today.

Healthy Menus for Seniors: The Power of Peanut Butter

  Weight Management

Menus for seniors get healthier when you add peanut butter.

Peanut butter isn’t just for kids. The tasty spread makes for a healthy addition to menus for seniors in residential care centers and nursing homes.

Healthy Menus for Seniors

In celebration of National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, adult care facilities may want to stock up on this beloved snack. Peanut spread is an affordable ingredient that’s easy to incorporate into menus for seniors, and the research confirms the health benefits of consuming this tasty spread.

Peanut Butter is Packed with Nutrition

Peanut spread is an excellent source of protein, with about 8 grams per 2-tablespoon serving. But, you might not be aware of just how much of nutritional punch this powerhouse packs.

Research shows that consuming peanut products can boost the body’s levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, magnesium and a wealth of other hard-to-get nutrients. Pairing the spread with other healthy foods also allows the body to absorb more nutrients. And, it contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber and phytosterols.

Peanut Butter in Senior Menus Helps with Weight Management

Peanut spread is relatively calories, which means it can’t be added to liberally to senior menus. However, studies have revealed that, in the right portion, the spread can be helpful with weight management.

Contrary to popular belief, regularly consuming peanut products doesn’t lead to weight gain. According to researchers, diets that are higher in fat can be more fulfilling and easier to follow, which means that maintaining a healthy weight may be easier when peanut spread is on the menu.

Peanut products can be included in senior menus without promoting weight gain. As long as older adults don’t overindulge, enjoying the spread won’t affect a healthy body weight.

Peanut Butter Helps Prevent Disease

This may come as a surprise but research has consistently shown that eating peanuts can help prevent chronic diseases.

Peanut spread has a potent lipid-lowering effect that acts to reduce inflammation, an underlying factor in the triggering of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and countless other diseases and medical conditions. In addition, the superfood has been found to help manage blood pressure and decrease the risk of stroke, gallstone disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Thanks to the many health benefits if offers, peanut butter definitely earns its place in menus for seniors in nursing homes and adult care facilities. For nutritious recipes featuring this powerhouse ingredient, look to the Grove Menus meal planning software system.

The user-friendly Grove Menus food menu program tools make meal planning easier and more cost-effective. To learn more, or to schedule a free, no-pressure demonstration of software system helps your food service staff plan healthy menus for seniors, contact us today.

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Seasonal Menus: 7 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

  Menu Planning

As seasonal menus go, Thanksgiving presents some nutritional challenges for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Although beloved and delicious, most of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner foods are high in fat, sodium, sugar and calories.

Fortunately, preparing a traditional holiday meal that tempts the taste buds without sabotaging senior health is easier than you may think. Here are seven seasonal menu tips to help you create a healthier Thanksgiving dinner.

Healthier Thanksgiving

No. 1: Stick to Turkey Breast

Turkey breast is an excellent source of lean protein. A three-ounce portion provides 24 grams or protein with just 160 calories and two grams of saturated fat. Serving turkey breast instead of dark meat is a healthier choice for your Thanksgiving food menu. And be sure to skip the skin, as it adds calories and saturated fat.

No. 2: Make Your Own Gravy

Canned or jarred gravy is convenient, but it often contains excessive sugar, fat and salt. Use unsalted turkey stock, skim milk and herbs to make an easy homemade gravy that’s tasty enough to please the pickiest senior care center residents.

No. 3: Be Smart About Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are must-have on any Thanksgiving food menu, but dessert-like candied yams and marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole are not healthy options for your seasonal menu. Instead, try roasting them. Simply drizzle peeled and chopped sweet potatoes with a small amount of maple syrup and pop them in the oven.

No. 4: Slim Down the Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are an integral part of many seasonal menus – and Thanksgiving is no exception. To make them healthier, use low-sodium stock or low-fat milk in place of the cream. You can also sneak in some pureed parsnip or cauliflower for added nutrition.

No. 5: Switch Up the Stuffing

Traditional stuffing is packed with fat, sodium and calories. Make yours with less bread – using more veggies, fruit and nuts – and you’ll have a much healthier seasonal menu side dish. Swap out your usual bread choice for whole wheat or whole grain bread, and your stuffing will be even more nutritious.

No. 6: Skip the Canned Cranberries

Cranberries are rich in vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, all of which are beneficial to senior health. But canned cranberry sauce contains excess sugar and calories that seniors don’t need. Create a healthier version of this Thanksgiving staple by cooking down fresh cranberries and orange segments with a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup. Or make a fresh cranberry relish using the same ingredients, with some chopped walnuts or pecans added for texture.

No. 7: Pick Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin offers a host of health benefits, making pumpkin pie the perfect pick for your all of your fall seasonal menus. Make yours with fat-free evaporated milk and top with fat-free whipped topping for a lighter way to end your holiday meal.

Do you need cost-effective, healthy recipes for your nursing home or senior care center seasonal menus? The Grove Menus food menu program is a user-friendly source of simple, cost-effective dietitian-approved recipes for adult care facilities.

The Grove Menus meal planning software includes a suite of helpful tools designed to make it easier for senior care center to meet the nutritional needs of their residents while cutting food and labor costs – even on special occasion and seasonal menus. To schedule a complimentary, no-obligation demonstration of our food menu program, contact us today.

Dietitian-Approved Menus Reduce the Need for Dietary Supplements

  Menu Planning

Dietitian-approved menus rely more on nutritious foods – and less on dietary supplements – to improve the health of senior care center residents.

Nutritional supplements can be beneficial for older adults, but dietitians and health experts agree that they supplementation should not be the first line of defense against malnutrition and weight loss. Instead, the primary focus should be to help seniors meet their dietary needs through healthy eating.

Dietitian-Approved Menus Reduce the Need for Dietary Supplements

Dietitian-approved menu plans take a food-centric approach, which can also help reduce the need for nutritional supplements.

Meeting Nutritional Needs from Food

Consuming a wide variety of nutritious foods is a better way to stay healthy than turning to dietary supplements to meet nutritional needs.

Nutrient-dense foods can have a positive effect on senior health, as they contain essential vitamins, minerals and other naturally-occurring substances. Taking a nutrient out of a food and concentrating it into a pill or tablet isn’t the same and supplements can’t replicate all the nutrients in real food.

On this topic, the Mayo Clinic says that, “Supplements aren’t intended to be a food substitute because they can’t replicate all of the nutrients and benefits of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables.”

When adult care facilities use dietitian-approved menus, nutrient-rich foods significantly reduce the need for nutritional supplements.

Older Adults and Dietary Supplements

Older adults are at an increased risk of developing nutrient deficiencies, and sometimes dietary supplements are necessary for overall health.

As we age, getting enough vitamin B12 and vitamin D can be difficult. Senior care facility menus typically include fortified foods, but older adults often require additional supplementation.

Nutritional supplements can also be helpful in the management of certain senior health conditions, especially for those residents who have digestive disorders and other ailments that affect how their bodies use nutrients may need dietary supplementation. In addition, seniors with specific nutrient deficiencies often need to take supplements.

However, in addition to vitamins and minerals, whole foods also provide essential dietary fiber and highly beneficial substances such as antioxidants and phytochemicals, which help seniors stave off diabetes, heart disease, cancer and hypertension.

So, even if residents need supplementation, a dietitian-approved menu provides many other important health benefits.

Dietitian-Approved Menus Meet Individual Nutritional Needs

Dietitian-approved menus are designed to address the health needs of older adults. However, some residents at senior care centers have limited food choices due to allergies, medical conditions or dental problems.

When older adults cannot obtain sufficient nutrients from standard menus, or when special conditions must be addressed, it can create a challenge for food service staff.

The Grove Menus meal planning program is designed to meet the dietary needs of older adults through healthy eating, as well as to simplify the processes of food service. It also offers a high degree of customization potential through diet extensions, to address special dietary needs of individual residents.

The cost-effective, user-friendly Grove Menus suite of food menu program tools makes it easier for adult care facilities to take a food-first approach to senior nutrition. Contact us today and schedule a free, no-hassle demonstration to learn more about how our dietitian-approved menus can save you time and money and help your senior care center residents stay healthy.

Assisted Living Food Menus Rethink Classic Comfort Foods

  Menu Planning

Assisted living food menus must include a range of balanced meals, to provide residents with the necessary dietary nutrition. But, while proper nutrition is crucial for care facility residents, flavor and visual appeal are just as important.

Comfort foods are always a favorite at assisted living centers as well as nursing homes Well-loved, classic dishes evoke feelings of nostalgia and well-being among residents. Unfortunately, many classic comfort foods are less-than-ideal from a nutritional standpoint

Assisted Living Food Menus Rethink Classic Comfort Foods

To keep residents healthy and happy at mealtime, you can make a few adaptations to help these foods fit into your facility’s menu program.

Making Comfort Foods Healthier for Assisted Living Menus

Many classic dishes are high in fat, calories, sodium and sugar which, some people might argue, is why they’re so tasty and beloved.

Fortunately, dietitians have tricks to lighten up classic recipes without sacrificing flavor. Using low-fat milk instead of heavy cream, swapping good fats for bad fats and using egg whites in place of whole eggs are all simple and effective ways to make comfort foods healthier.

Assisted living food menus can also feature classic foods that are prepared in a healthier way.

Oven “frying” gets food crispy with much less fat and calories, for example. And for cheesy dishes, choosing bold-tasting hard cheeses (like extra-sharp cheddar or Parmigiano Reggiano) is a healthier food prep strategy as you can use less and still create a bold flavor impact.

Considering the Total Meal

Although many comfort foods can be transformed into healthier dishes with a few tweaks, dietitians can go in increasing the health quotient of comfort foods. Make too many changes and these well-loved favorites no longer taste the same – which your residents will be quick to point out.

In that case, use these classic dishes as a component of the meal, rather than the entire meal.

Comfort foods can be served in smaller portions alongside healthier options for delicious, filling meals. For example, pair a small serving of lasagna with a leafy green salad and whole grain garlic bread.

When eaten in moderation, these less-healthy dishes can become part of a balanced food menu program.

Should Classic Foods Be Modernized?

Dietitians generally advocate healthy food tweaks, like serving mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes or adding different seasonings to lower the salt content in classic dishes.

However, while some assisted living facility residents appreciate interesting ingredient changes to their favorite foods, many more do not.

Residential care facilities may wish to proceed with caution before putting a modern spin on a beloved comfort food recipe. Try small test runs of new dishes before making them a part of the regular food menu program. Depending on the tastes of your residents, modernizing classic foods may or may not be a wise plan.

For an easier way to find healthy and flavorful classic dishes for your food menu program, consider the Grove Menus meal planning software system. The system is a simple-to-use, cost-effective program designed to meet the dietary needs of residential care center residents. For more information and a complimentary demonstration of our assisted living food menu program, contact Grove Menus today.