February is American Heart Month, so what better time to take stock of how well your food menu program protects the cardiovascular health of your residents. A heart-healthy diet reduces the risks of heart attack and stroke, yet many of the older adults in your care probably need guidance in making the right food choices.
Developing a heart-healthy food menu program can make a difference for the residents of your nursing home or assisted living facility. These six tips will help you plan, prepare and serve senior menus designed to improve cardiovascular health.
Scale Back on Sodium
Too much sodium in the diet increases the chance of stroke, cardiovascular disease and heart problems.
Taking control of the salt shaker isn’t enough, however, as many foods have hidden sodium. To make sure your adult care facility meals and snacks are heart-healthy, read food labels and cut back on using ingredients that contain high levels of sodium.
Feature Fruits and Veggies
Not only are fruits and vegetables excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber, but they also contain substances that may aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Offer fruit or veggies as snacks, and work on incorporating more produce to create dietitian-approved menus for better heart health.
Serve Whole Grains
Whole grains are packed with fiber and other nutrients that may help regulate blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. Whole grain bread and pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, high-fiber cereal and whole wheat flour are among the best heart-healthy grains to use in assisted living facility meals and snacks.
Limit Unhealthy Fats
To reduce blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease for your residents, limit the amounts of saturated and trans fats used in your adult care facility snack and meal recipes. Monounsaturated fats, such as canola or olive oil, are better choices for heart-healthy dietitian-approved menus.
Choose Low-Fat Proteins
Serving low-fat proteins, such as skim milk and skinless chicken breast, can also help keep cholesterol under control. Fatty, cold-water fish, eggs, beans, lentils and soy products are also recommended sources of heart-healthy protein in dietitian-approved menus.
Control Portion Sizes
How much your residents eat can be as important as which foods they choose. For a heart-healthy food menu program, aim to serve larger portions of low-fat, nutrient-dense foods and smaller portions of foods that don’t offer health benefits, like protection against cardiovascular disease.
Developing heart-healthy dietitian-approved menus to celebrate American Heart Month is easy with the Grove Menus food menu program. Our cost-effective software system is designed to simplify the process of meeting the individual dietary needs of adult care facility residents.
Along with helping you plan delicious, heart-healthy meals, the Grove Menus suite of user-friendly software tools can also facilitate food ordering and preparation – which will save you both time and money. For a complimentary, no-pressure demonstration of how our food menu program and dietitian-approved menus can benefit your assisted living facility, contact us today.