Dietitian-Approved Menus Improve Mealtime for All Seniors

  Menu Planning

Dietitian-approved menus help give older adults the dignity, respect and choices they deserve.

Every senior care center resident has the right to an exceptional experience at mealtime, regardless of their capabilities or special requirements. Achieving this goal can, however, be a challenge – and that’s where a food menu program comes in.

Dietitian-Approved Menus Improve Mealtime

A menu planning systems, especially those with delicious, dietitian-approved menus, can help ensure that mealtime is satisfying for all of your residents.

Menus for Seniors with Special Health Needs

Diabetic residents must follow a carefully-controlled, low-carbohydrate meal plan in order to regulate their blood sugar. Older adults with high blood pressure and heart conditions need to follow a low-sodium diet.

And those are just two examples. Seniors with other serious health conditions may also have specific dietary requirements.

Dietary restrictions shouldn’t prevent residents from enjoying the same types of interesting meals and tasty flavor profiles as their non-restricted peers. With dietitian-approved menus, seniors with special health needs don’t have to feel deprived when they see the meals others are served.

Everyone – no matter their dietary needs — gets to enjoy crave-worthy food at every mealtime.

Menus for Seniors on Pureed Diets

Many older adults have difficulty chewing or swallowing, so senior care centers provide a pureed diet program. Focus is placed on nutrition and taste, both of which are essential. However, in many cases, presentation is lacking.

We eat with our eyes first, no matter how old we may be. And, if we’re honest about it, pureed foods generally look unappealing.

Food that looks good can help boost senior appetite and increase mealtime food consumption.

A dietitian-approved food menu program can address this problem. Swapping out prefabricated items for fresh, seasonal foods makes for more appealing meals. Seniors also appreciate when pureed foods are artfully arranged, rather than served from prepackaged institutional containers.

Menus for Seniors with Limited Dexterity

Older adults with physical challenges often find mealtime difficult to manage on their own. Rather than staff assistance with feeding, many senior care centers turn to finger foods.

A finger food program helps preserve mealtime dignity for seniors with limited dexterity, but finding ways to serve a balanced diet through handheld bites can be difficult. That’s why so many healthy, easy-to-prepare meals require the use of silverware.

Dietitian-approved food menu programs include plans for attractive, well-balanced meals that allow older adults to maintain their mealtime independence. The menus use the same fresh, nutrient-rich and flavorful ingredients as the standard meal plans, but everything is made in a mouthwatering finger food form.

For an easy-to-use, cost-effective way to improve mealtime for all of your senior care center residents, explore the Grove Menus meal planning system. With thousands of scalable and customizable dietitian-approved recipes, our food menu program can help you provide healthy and delicious meals to everyone, regardless of their needs.

To schedule a free demonstration of our food planning program and dietitian-approved menus, contact Grove Menus today.

4 Myths About Assisted Living Food Programs

  Menu Planning

For seniors entering assisted living, food programs are an important consideration. After all, delicious meals and good nutrition can help improve the quality of life for older adults living in senior care facilities.

Assisted Living Food Programs

When it comes to facility meal plans, people often have the wrong idea. Below we debunk four of the most common myths about assisted living food programs.

Myth No. 1: Seniors Don’t Get Food Choices

The institutional, assembly-line style of menu planning is what many seniors expect from assisted living communities, with everyone served identical meals. While this type of food program may have been the norm decades ago, today’s residential care facilities provide a much different mealtime experience.

Now, seniors are given choices for tasty and well-balanced meals and snacks. With many facility food programs, several different options are offered. So, residents are actually able to eat what they want.

Myth No. 2: Seniors Have to Eat at Scheduled Times

At senior care facilities, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are served only at specific times. Right?

Not exactly. Residential care community food programs typically do have scheduled mealtimes – but in most cases, the dining time is long enough to allow seniors to eat when they want. And, if anyone gets hungry outside the scheduled times, the kitchen staff can whip up a quick and satisfying light meal or snack.

Myth No. 3: Seniors Must Eat in the Dining Room

Residential care community dining rooms are typically bright, cheerful and comfortable, allowing seniors to enjoy socializing at mealtime.

But, that doesn’t mean eating in the dining room is a must. Seniors can choose to eat in their rooms or apartments, if they prefer. Some assisted living facilities also have beautiful outdoor areas that are perfect for a picnic.

Myth No. 4: Assisted Living Communities Have Terrible Food

In the past, developing tasty menus wasn’t the focus for many senior care food programs – mealtime was all about serving nutritious, easy-to-prepare foods. So, it’s no surprise that many seniors continue to believe that residential care facilities have awful food.

These days, however, senior care communities employ experienced chefs and utilize dietitian-approved menu planning systems to create a more enjoyable mealtime experience. The meals are restaurant-quality, not institutional. Seniors are often amazed by the appetizing, flavor-packed foods that are served.

Many residential care facilities across the country rely on the Grove Menus meal planning system, a flexible and cost-effective tool for developing high-quality, nutritious menus for seniors. For a free demonstration of our assisted living food programs, with thousands of dietitian-approved recipes, contact us today.

Recipe Ideas for Seniors: 5 Easy, High-Protein Breakfasts

  Menu Planning

Are you looking for some new recipe ideas for seniors, to beef up the protein level in your residential care or nursing home menus?

If you aren’t, you may want to consider it. Research shows that 50 percent of institutionalized geriatric patients are undernourished and approximately 90 percent of geriatric individuals do not assimilate the RDA for total calorie intake – primarily for protein, calcium and vitamin D.

High-Protein Breakfasts

Serving a high-protein breakfast is a great way to give older adults the fuel their bodies need to get through the day. Starting the day with the right foods can help keep seniors healthy and strong. And, as the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

So, what’s for breakfast? These five recipe ideas for seniors are loaded with protein and flavor.

Veggie Scrambled Eggs

Eggs are a natural choice for breakfast. They’re delicious and versatile, and every large egg contains more than 6 grams of complete protein.

Veggie scrambled eggs are an easy, tasty and nutritious morning meal. Simply stir diced, sautéed vegetables into two scrambled eggs, then serve. If cholesterol is a concern, prepare the dish with egg whites.

Greek Yogurt Parfait

A six-ounce serving of Greek yogurt typically contains at least 15 grams of protein – some brands have up to 20 grams – as well as calcium and vitamin D.

For a simple breakfast, whip up some Greek yogurt parfaits. Layer the yogurt with antioxidant-rich berries and one-quarter cup of crushed walnuts – another 3 grams of protein — for a balanced, flavorful, high-protein meal.

Peanut Butter Banana Toast

A two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter delivers 8 grams of protein, and it is a favorite of many seniors.

For a more filling and nutritious breakfast, pair peanut butter with fruit and whole grains and serve with a glass of skim milk – milk offers another 8 grams of protein. Toast a slice of whole wheat or multigrain bread, top with the peanut butter and add sliced bananas for a satisfying morning treat.

Fruit and Walnut Oatmeal

Oatmeal is often used in breakfast recipe ideas for seniors because it is high in fiber and easy to eat. But oatmeal is also high in protein — on its own, a cup of cooked oatmeal has about six grams.

Fruit and walnut oatmeal can offer a further boost in protein. Cook the oatmeal in skim milk for an extra eight grams. Add in 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts for another 3 grams. For added flavor and nutrients, fold in a tablespoon of honey and some diced fresh apple or handful of mixed berries.

Berry Smoothie

Packing protein into a smoothie is easy, and the results can be delicious. In fact, many seniors love these milkshake-like treats for breakfast and snacks.

For a simple protein-packed breakfast berry smoothie, blend six ounces of silken tofu, which provides 14 grams of protein, with one cup of skim milk, which adds an additional 8 grams. Add two-thirds cup of blueberries, one medium banana and a tablespoon of honey, and blend until smooth. Serve chilled for a maximum flavor punch.

Would you like more help with your meal planning for seniors? The Grove Menus food menu program makes it easy to prepare healthy, delicious meals for the residents of your assisted living facility or senior care center. Even better, our food service system reduces costs and saves time.

The Grove Menus system also contains hundreds of dietitian-approved recipe ideas for seniors. Contact us today to learn more, or to schedule your free demonstration.

Menus for Seniors: 5 Ways to Add More Produce

  Menu Planning

Menus for seniors must have plenty of fruits and veggies, because most older adults don’t consume enough. According to a recent study, fewer than half of senior adults eat the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Eating the right amount of these nutrient-rich foods promotes a longer lifespan and reduces the risks of chronic disease, cognitive decline and functional impairments. To boost the produce quotient of your senior menus, try these simple tips.

menus for seniors

Serve Fruit or Veggies at Breakfast

Start the day right by serving fruit- or veggie-packed breakfast options.

Fruit and yogurt parfaits are healthy and delicious. Or, use chopped apples, bananas or berries as a topping for pancakes or waffles.

For a savory veggie breakfast, fold diced green peppers and onions into scrambled eggs. You can also serve up spinach omelets or a low-fat potato hash.

For another easy, produce-filled breakfast, make smoothies with seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Get Creative with Substitutions

Fruits and veggies are incredibly versatile, so think outside the box to increase the produce in your facility’s senior menus.

Mashed cauliflower can substitute for pizza crust, for example, and zucchini noodles are a tasty option for any pasta dish. Unsweetened applesauce or fruit puree can also be substituted the oil or fat in baked recipes, like muffins, quick breads and cookies.

Boost the Veggies in Soups, Stews and Sauces

Menus for seniors often include a range of soups and stews, because they’re filling and comforting. Pasta with sauce is another popular favorite. Many of these dishes already have veggies but you can always add more.

Simmer finely chopped mushrooms and peppers in your tomato sauce, for instance, or thicken soups with a puree of root vegetables. For stews, increase the veggie-to-meat ratio by adding more carrots, potatoes and onions.

Make Meals Colorful

Try to add more color to every plate. By tweaking your senior recipes in this manner, you’ll naturally reach for more fruits and vegetables.

Menus for seniors should aim to serve a rainbow of produce over the course of the day. Providing a range of colorful choices is a great way to help meet the dietary needs of older adults.

Offer Healthy Fruit Desserts

Older adults love sweets and, for many, meals simply aren’t complete without dessert. Instead of serving heavy, fat-laden or sugary treats, offer healthy fruit desserts.

Fruity frozen desserts, like sorbets and ice creams, feel indulgent. But they can also be nutritious with the right recipes. Baked apples, poached pears and fruit salad with a dollop of fresh whipped cream also make for tasty treats. Or, simply serve up sliced fruit with a dark chocolate or honey yogurt dipping sauce.

For more help adding fruits and veggies to your senior menus, check out the Grove Menus system. Our simple, cost-effective meal planning program, with hundreds of dietitian-approved recipes, makes developing nutritious menus for seniors much easier, faster and more cost-effective. For a complimentary demonstration, contact us today.

Dietitian-Approved Menus & Person-Centered Care


Dietitian-approved menus can help improve the quality of life for those living in assisted living or senior care centers. Likewise, person-centered care can help reduce some challenging mealtime behaviors in seniors.

Person-Centered Care

When food choices are driven by the individual interests and needs of the residents, everyone is much happier. For older adults, simple things – like getting to eat what they want, when they want – make a big difference.

With a dietitian-approved food menu program, person-centered care is built right in. This is just one way that food service meal planning programs can boost senior well-being.

Seniors Get to Make Food Choices

In the past, assisted living centers traditionally had set meal plans and seniors basically had to eat whatever food was provided. As you can imagine, the take-it-or-leave-it style of food service has never been a favorite among seniors.

Offering choices can be difficult for many senior care centers, however. Budget may be a concern, and the food service staff may not have the resources to plan for a variety of menu options.

Meal planning programs address these challenges. Inventory management makes it easier to stay on budget, and the advanced software technology automates much of the meal planning process. With this type of menu system in place, seniors can make their own food choices.

More than “Three Square Meals” a Day

Senior care centers typically offer three nutritious meals every day. However, not everyone can – or want to – make it to the dining room for every scheduled mealtime.

Seniors benefit from having the option to eat earlier or later, based on their needs and desires. While not every assisted living facility can offer all-day food service, those that provide person-centered care avoid rigid, set-in-stone times for meals.

Automated meal planning makes it easier to give seniors some flexibility in terms of when they eat their meals and snacks. With a food menu program in place, seniors can access healthy snacks and light meals outside of the scheduled mealtimes.

Menus Designed to Meet Individual Dietary Needs

Most seniors don’t appreciate being told what to eat or when to eat it. However, eating a balanced diet is important for residents of assisted living centers. So, some choices do need to be limited.

Dietitian-approved menu programs do a great job of balancing the tastes and wants of the residents along with proper nutrition.

In planning appropriate food options, the preferences, restrictions and allergies of each resident are taken into consideration. The meals and snacks offered meet the individual dietary needs of the seniors as well as any doctors’ dietary directives.

Grove Menus offers an easy-to-use meal planning program designed to provide person-centered care to residents of assisted living and senior care facilities. Our innovative food service program saves time, reduces costs and makes meals and snacks more enjoyable for seniors.

For a free demonstration of the Grove Menus program – with dietitian-approved menus and flexible mealtime options – contact us today.