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.

 

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002095.htm

https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/smart-shopping/frozen-foods-convenient-and-nutritious

https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/are-canned-foods-nutritious-for-my-family

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

Weight

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.

Pros and Cons of Coffee in Assisted Living Food Menus

  Menu Planning

Coffee always seems to have a spot on assisted living food menus – but is it a good idea for older adults to drink coffee on a regular basis?

Research suggests that overall, coffee is a healthy beverage that offers several benefits to seniors. However, as with many other well-liked foods and drinks, there is such a thing as drinking too much coffee. In addition, coffee isn’t the best choice for every older adult.

coffee assisted living menus

With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of including coffee in assisted living food menus.

Health Benefits of Coffee Consumption

Coffee has been associated with many impressive health benefits. Drinking about three cups per day may reduce the risks of a range of medical conditions and health outcomes, including:

  • All-cause mortality
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Gout
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Depression
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Keep in mind, however, that studies of coffee consumption and its health benefits aren’t based on a standard cup size or preparation method. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three to five 8-ounce cups per day, or no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine in total – but, seniors who don’t currently drink coffee aren’t encouraged to add the beverage to their food menus.

Drawbacks of Drinking Coffee

Coffee is known for its caffeine content – and for some older adults, consuming large doses of caffeine isn’t advised. Seniors with the following medical conditions may need to limit their intake:

  • High blood pressure
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Sleep issues
  • Decreased bone density

Decaffeinated coffee can be a good food menu substitute for seniors who love the beverage, but removing the caffeine may eliminate or reduce some of the potential health benefits.

Coffee Recommendations for Assisted Living Facilities

Like anyone else, seniors at assisted living facilities should also limit their consumption of fancy coffee drinks – many coffeehouse-style beverages have added fat and sugar as well as extra calories.

Also, though studies show that coffee consumption offers numerous health benefits, dietitians and nutrition professionals don’t recommend that all older adults drink the beverage. Assisted living food menus must be tailored to the individual, not based on population-wide advantages of a particular food or drink.

Grove Menus makes it easy to meet the individual dietary needs of older adults at assisted living facilities. Our cost-effective food menu program, featuring an integrated suite of user-friendly meal planning tools, has hundreds of dietitian-approved menus and recipes that can be modified to address nutritional concerns.

To learn more about the Grove Menus software system and how it works to create delicious and nutritious assisted living food menus, contact us and schedule a free, no-pressure consultation and demonstration today.

How Dietitian-Approved Menus Promote Wound Healing

  Menu Planning

A meal planning program with dietitian-approved menus can be a smart solution for assisted living facilities and senior care centers.

Wound healing in older adults is impaired, as the body’s inflammatory response to injury naturally weakens with age. Seniors can recover from most wounds, but the process happens more slowly and the risk of infection is greater.

Food choices and nutritional status play a big role in wound healing – yet many seniors have difficulty eating a healthy diet. A meal planning system with dietitian-approved menus addresses this challenge, promoting better wound recovery in older adults.

Healthy Meals and Snacks

How Dietitian-Approved Menus Promote Wound Healing

For faster wound healing, seniors need to consume enough calories. Depending upon their gender and level of activity, this may be somewhere between 1,600 and 2,800 calories.

A balanced diet is just as essential as adequate caloric intake – and that’s where a meal planning system comes in. With dietitian-approved recipes, serving up healthy, meals and snacks that include a range of proteins, fruits, vegetables dairy products and whole grains is much easier.

Optimal Nutrition

Nutrition is a major factor in determining how quickly older adults recover from wounds.

Protein is particularly important. For better wound healing, every meal should include about 20 to 30 grams, and every snack needs to contain about 10 to 15 grams. And with some wounds, a higher amount of certain vitamins and minerals may be necessary. Using a meal planning program that has adjustable recipes allows assisted living facilities and senior care centers to easily optimize nutrition to meet the specific needs of their residents.

Proper Hydration

Staying well-hydrated can also help older adults recover from wounds.

Water, tea, coffee, milk and 100-percent fruit juice are all smart options, but convincing seniors to consume enough of these beverages – and not less-healthy options like sugary soda or fruit-flavored juice — is often difficult. To encourage proper hydration, meal planning systems have plenty of delicious dietitian-approved drink recipes that appeal to the senior palate.

Wound healing can be a serious problem for residents of assisted living facilities and senior care centers. Implementing a meal planning program that features dietitian-approved menus and easily-adaptable recipes – like the Grove Menus system – is an effective way to encourage problem-free wound recovery.

With Grove Menus, planning meals that address the unique health concerns of older adults is much simpler. And, along with meal planning, our software system includes a suite of user-friendly food service tools designed to help streamline production, reduce waste and cut costs.

For more information about the Grove Menus meal planning system, or to schedule a free, no-hassle demonstration of how our dietitian-approved menus can help promote wound healing, contact us today.

Food Menu Program Tricks to Boost Appetite in Older Adults

  Assisted Living Menus | Menu Planning

Assisted living facilities need effective food menu program strategies to deal with the loss of appetite. The problem is common among older adults, a decreased desire to eat can lead to malnourishment – and dietary deficiencies can create serious health consequences.

Seniors struggle with mealtime for a number of reasons. Dental issues, medical disorders, depression, and changes in the sense of taste have all been linked to loss of appetite, and the issue can also be a side effect of a medication.

Overcoming appetite loss in older adults can be an ongoing challenge for assisted living facilities. We share six food menu program tricks that may help make mealtime more appealing to seniors, reducing their risk of malnourishment.

Food Menu Program Tricks to Boost Appetite in Older Adults

Experiment with Flavor

Spicing food menus up with stronger seasonings and exotic flavors can help boost appetite in seniors at assisted living facilities. Try serving dishes seasoned with garlic, turmeric, cumin, dill, red pepper or curry. For baked goods, consider adding flavor-boosters like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves

Serve Colorful Foods

Richly-colored foods tend to be higher in nutrients, and serving up meals and snacks with colorful produce can help reduce the risk of senior malnourishment. Fruits and veggies with vibrant colors look appealing on the plate, which can help encourage older adults to eat more.

Try Different Textures

For more interesting and visually appealing meals, consider texture when planning assisted living facility food menus. Dishes with combined textures – such as Greek yogurt with granola or flaky biscuits topped with creamed chicken – are often more appetizing to older adults.

Think About Presentation

How food is presented can make a difference in senior appetite. To make mealtime more appealing, use a bit of creativity in arranging the food on the plate. We all eat first with our eyes, so meals that look good are more likely to be eaten.

Keep Track of Senior Favorites

Keep a watch over what works – and what doesn’t work – to stimulate senior appetite at your assisted living facility. By tracking favorite foods, mealtime flops and what times of day older adults are more willing to eat, you’ll be able to serve up meals that stand a better chance of being consumed.

When assisted living facilities take steps to address the loss of appetite in seniors, malnourishment is less of a problem. For more food menu program strategies to make mealtime more appealing, turn to the Grove Menus software system.

The Grove Menus meal planning program — featuring hundreds of adjustable dietitian-approved recipes along with a suite of user-friendly food service tools — is a cost-effective solution for meeting the dietary needs of assisted living residents.

To learn more about the Grove Menus software system, or for a free, no-pressure demonstration of how our food menu program works, contact us today.