New Year’s Resolutions


For many individuals, the beginning of a new year can be a stressful time as they attempt to set food-related goals for the upcoming months. Many people acknowledge that they want to eat “healthier”, but they fail to create a realistic and attainable goal of what that means for them. As an older adult, it can be more difficult to choose a resolution due to health conditions and diet restrictions. However, this does not mean that you cannot set food-related goals. Here are some resolution ideas for you to try during 2019!

Resolution #1: Define “Healthy”

There are many connotations of the word “healthy”, and it is important to decide what that concept means to you. On one hand, eating healthy might mean following a strict diet to adhere to a doctor’s order or a specific health condition. On the other hand, eating healthy possibly means consuming a wide variety of foods when and where you choose. What is healthy for one is not necessarily the best option for another. Regardless of your situation, it is important to personally define the term “healthy” to have a strong relationship with food. Try writing your own definition!

Resolution #2: Try a New Food

If you cook for yourself, are you constantly preparing the same recipes? If you have your food prepared by your senior care facility, do you usually opt for the alternate hamburger? Why not try something new this year? Eating new foods can be intimidating, but you may find a new favorite dish. Do not be afraid to make suggestions to the kitchen staff and food service director at your facility. You can also ask family and friends for new recipes to try.

Resolution #3: Learn How to Cook

A new year is a great time to pick up a new hobby! For many people, cooking or baking is a great creative outlet. There may even be opportunities at your facility to learn how to cook! Talk to your activity coordinator to see if your facility offers cooking classes. If they don’t, ask if it would be a possibility in the future. You can also learn from family and friends or seek out classes offered in your community.

Resolution #4: Back to the Basics

For many people, a new year means a new diet. There are many different fad diets nowadays, and often they are tiring, restrictive and ineffective. If you find yourself caught in this cycle, it might be time to go back to the basics. A variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and protein foods is a great place to start. Eating a combination of these food groups in moderation is the way to ensure that you are consuming all the nutrients that your body needs!

Dining Practice Standards for Assisted Living Food Menus

  Assisted Living Menus

For assisted living food menus, therapeutic meal plans designed to improve senior health used to be the norm. However, research has revealed that few older adults – even those diagnosed with chronic medical conditions – actually benefit from restrictive diets.


Now, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recommends that long-term care providers follow more liberal dining practice standards that empower seniors to make their own food choices.

dining assisted living food menus


Giving Older Adults the Freedom of Food Choice


Therapeutic diets, including low-fat, low-salt and low-sugar meal plans, often lack appeal and favor. When seniors are limited to restrictive assisted living food menus, the pleasure of eating diminishes. Older adults who don’t enjoy their meals eat less, which often leads to weight loss and malnutrition.


In contrast, assisted living facilities that adhere to liberal dining standards find that residents are much happier at mealtime. Giving seniors the freedom to choose their own foods is associated with better appetite and increased food intake. For the majority of older adults residing in long-term care communities, the benefits of a liberalized assisted living food menus – based on food preferences rather than medical diagnosis – outweigh the risks.


Dealing with Risky Dining Decisions


In treating chronic medical conditions, health care professionals often advise patients to follow restrictive diets. Diabetics are told to limit their sugar and carbohydrate intake, for example, while people with heart disease should avoid saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and red meat.


Older adults don’t always make the wisest food choices – but, according to the latest dining practice standards, that’s ok. Long-term care providers need to inform seniors with chronic disorders about the benefits of sticking to a restrictive meal plan, but they shouldn’t veto risky dining decisions. Instead, assisted living food menus should honor resident mealtime preferences.


Making the Switch to Resident-Directed Dining


For long-term care communities, stepping away from restrictive diets and committing to resident-directed dining can be difficult.


Adopting liberal dining practice standards means providing a balanced diet and monitoring nutrient intake, while also allowing seniors greater freedom with their food choices – and assisted living facilities don’t always know how to balance these goals. Plus, though staff members discuss food preferences with residents, many long-term care communities don’t have the tools to implement a resident-directed dining plan.


Grove Menus offers a simple, cost-effective solution. Our innovative meal planning software system considers resident food preferences and medically-necessary dietary restrictions in developing menus for seniors residing at long-term care communities. As a result, the meals and snacks offered are both delicious and nutritious.


The Grove Menus system offers hundreds of easily-adaptable, dietitian-approved recipes along with a suite of user-friendly food service tools that save time, reduce waste and cut the costs of preparing and serving enjoyable meals and snacks. For more information, or to schedule a free, no-hassle demonstration of our assisted living food menu program, contact us today.

In Menus for Seniors, Are Fresh, Frozen or Canned Foods Best?

  Menu Planning

Menus for seniors frequently incorporate fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, as produce straight from the farm is both delicious and nutritious.


Are fresh foods always best? Frozen and canned foods are often cheaper and more readily available than freshly-picked produce. But are they also less healthy? Not necessarily – all three can be smart food choices in menus for seniors.


fresh menus for seniors

Fresh Foods


Fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables offer several advantages over frozen and canned foods.


Of the three options, just-picked produce packs the biggest nutrient punch. The food isn’t processed in any way, so it contains no additives or chemicals. Plus, seasonal produce delivers on taste – to many seniors, fresh, locally-sourced foods provide the best flavor.


When planning menus for seniors, keep in mind that not all fresh fruits and veggies are grown at local farms. Often, they come from far away – and the time between picking and eating can cause produce to lose some of its nutritional value and flavor.


Frozen Foods


When fruits and veggies are picked at the peak of ripeness and frozen quickly afterward, they can be just as tasty and healthy as the freshest, in-season produce.


The freezing process locks in the flavor as well as the vitamins and minerals in the produce. Since fresh foods begin losing nutrients immediately after harvest, frozen foods often offer greater dietary value in menus for seniors.


However, some frozen vegetables and fruits aren’t healthy picks. Read the product labels carefully, as many selections contain added ingredients that are high in salt, added sugars or saturated fat.


Canned Foods


Canned fruits and veggies, like frozen foods, can be just as nutritious and delicious as fresh produce. Canned foods are picked at peak freshness, which preserves flavor quality. What’s more, the canning process retains most nutrients, with the exception of certain water-soluble vitamins, and canning can also increase the antioxidant content in some foods.


That said, canned foods aren’t always healthy. When using canned fruit in menus for seniors, choose varieties that are packed in water, their own juices or 100 percent juice – skip any that come in light or heavy syrup. As for canned vegetables, look for cans labeled as either “low sodium” or “no salt added.” And, never use cans with dents or other damage, as they may contain bacteria.


When chosen with care, fresh, frozen and canned foods can all be healthy options in menus for seniors at residential care facilities. Fruits and vegetables are a key part of a balanced diet — and the Grove Menus meal planning system is an easy source of tasty, produce-rich recipes designed to meet the nutritional needs of older adults.


The Grove Menus system also features an integrated suite of user-friendly meal planning tools that cut expenses, reduce waste and facilitate food service operations. With everything our cost-effective food menu program has to offer, Grove Menus makes developing healthy and appealing menus for seniors much faster and easier. For a free, no-obligation demonstration, contact us today.

Dietitian-Approved Menus Encourage Liver Health for Seniors

  Menu Planning

Liver health is an important factor in dietitian-approved menus for senior care centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is common among older adults, and the risk increases with age. The condition is often preventable, however, and can even be reversible if caught in the earlier stages.

Since no medical treatments or medications are currently FDA-approved for NAFLD, treatment typically involves improved diet and nutrition. Below, we explore four of the primary ways that dietitian-approved meal planning programs help to prevent chronic liver disease.

Dietitian-approved menus liver health


Obesity is a definite risk factor for NAFLD. In fact, most people diagnosed with chronic liver disease are either overweight or obese.

Research shows that gradual weight loss can improve liver health and reverse the condition. However, daily calorie reduction needs to be carefully managed, as a diet too low in calories can increase inflammation in the liver and make NAFLD worsen. With dietitian-approved menus, older adults can lose weight without risking their health.

Fat Intake

Some studies have suggested that eating a diet high in saturated fat increases the risk for chronic liver disease. At the same time, consuming polyunsaturated fats – particularly omega-3 and monounsaturated fatty acids – may help prevent NAFLD.

Dietitian-approved menus for nursing homes, senior care centers and assisted living facilities are designed with fat intake in mind. Meals and snacks are planned to include healthy fats and avoid unhealthy saturated fat.

Sugar Intake

Sugars, and more specifically, fructose, have been associated with an increased risk of NAFLD. Research reveals that people with chronic liver disease tend to drink more soft drinks than people who don’t have the condition — and the fructose these beverages contain triggers triglyceride and fatty acid synthesis in the liver.

Some studies have found that short-term carbohydrate and sugar restriction may be more effective at improving liver health than calorie reduction. To that end, meal planning programs track and manage the amount of fructose and other sugars seniors consume on a daily basis.

Protein Intake

While proteins haven’t been proven to help prevent or treat chronic liver disease, some researchers have found that increasing protein intake may reduce the risk of NAFLD. However, other studies have determined that a diet high in animal protein can have the opposite effect.

Meal planning programs feature nutrient-dense dietary proteins from a range of animal and plant-based sources. Proper protein intake is vital for older adults, so recipes for seniors are often packed with protein.

Dietitian-approved menus can help prevent and treat chronic liver disease in older adults. However, planning nutritious meals and snacks to meet individual senior health needs can be a challenge. That’s where Grove Menus comes in.

The Grove Menus software system offers hundreds of tasty and healthy dietitian-approved recipes, each of which is easily modifiable to address specific dietary concerns. In addition, our meal planning program contains a suite of user-friendly tools designed to streamline meal production, reduce kitchen waste and cut food costs.

For more information about Grove Menus, or to schedule a complimentary, no-pressure demonstration of how our dietitian-approved menus can work to help improve liver health in seniors, contact us today.

A Menu Planning Program Can Help Lower Cholesterol

  Assisted Living Menus

A menu planning program with heart-healthy options is essential for any senior care center. The body’s chemistry and metabolism change as we age, so many older adults need to work on lowering their cholesterol.

Eating the right foods can have a dramatic impact on cardiovascular health. As September is National Cholesterol Education Month, now’s the ideal time to share our best senior care center menu planning program tips for lowering cholesterol.

Menu Planning Program Cholesterol

Avoid Foods with Unhealthy Fats

Foods that contain trans-fat shouldn’t be included in a heart-healthy diet, as they raise the level of bad (LDL) cholesterol, while also lowering the good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are nearly as unhealthy, so intake should be seriously limited – according to the American Heart Association, no more than 5 or 6 percent of the daily caloric intake should come from saturated fat.

Choose Foods with Healthy Fats

Not all fats are bad for cholesterol levels — consuming foods that contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can actually help in lowering cholesterol. When menu planning, senior care centers should aim to select recipes that rely on healthy fats like plant-based liquid oils, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Serve Up Plenty of Produce

Fruits and vegetables are low in saturated fat and loaded with fiber, and both characteristics aid in lowering cholesterol. Every form counts, so senior care centers can create heart-healthy meals and snacks with fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and veggies.

Go for Whole Grains

As we mentioned, high-fiber foods help reduce cholesterol levels. For that reason, whole grain foods are highly recommended for heart-healthy menu planning. Whenever possible, make whole grain breads, cereals, and starches a part of your senior care center meals and snacks.

Make Ingredient Substitutions

Older adults have favorite recipes, ones they’ve been making for years. If those recipes rely on ingredients that aren’t heart-healthy – like salt, butter and heavy cream — senior care centers need to recommend replacements. In addition, seniors who need help lowering their cholesterol should be encouraged to use herbs and spices to boost food flavor, rather than salt.

Could your senior care center benefit from a user-friendly, cost-effective menu planning program that includes heart-healthy options for lowering cholesterol? The Grove Menus software system is designed to make it easy to plan meals and snacks that meet the individual dietary needs of older adults.

Adopt the Grove Menus system, and you’ll have access to hundreds of delicious dietitian-approved recipes – all of which are easy to adjust for seniors with specific nutritional concerns. You’ll also have a suite of meal planning tools designed to reduce both food waste and food costs.

For more details about the Grove Menus software system, and for more of our menu planning program tips for lowering cholesterol, contact us and schedule a complimentary consultation and demonstration today.