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.

Dietitian-Approved Menus Celebrate Whole Grains Month


Dietitian-approved menus feature a variety of nutrient-rich foods to help older adults stay healthy as they age. Whole grains are great sources of dietary fiber as well as several important vitamins and minerals, so they’re often added to senior care center meals and snacks.


From amaranth and barley to wheat berries and wild rice, whole-grain foods both take center stage and play supporting roles in dietitian-approved menus. September is Whole Grains Month, so what better time to learn more about serving delicious and nutritious whole-grain foods to your senior care center residents?

 dietitian-approved menus

Senior Dietary Guidelines for Whole Grains


According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, females over the age of 50 need at least 6 daily grain servings, while males age 51 and over need a minimum of 8 servings.


Of these total grains per day, at least half should be whole. In other words, senior women should aim to eat a minimum of 3 servings of whole-grain foods, and senior men should make at least 4 of their grain servings whole.


Health Benefits of Whole Grains


Whole-grain foods offer a host of health benefits. Diets that feature more whole grains have been linked with:


  • Reduced inflammation

  • Decreased risk of stroke, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

  • Slower cognitive decline

  • Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease

  • Living longer


Refined grains, or those that are missing one or more of their three key parts – the bran, germ and endosperm – don’t offer these same benefits to senior health.


Dietitian-Approved Tips for Serving More Whole Grains


Incorporating more whole-grain foods in senior care center meals and snacks isn’t difficult. In many cases, it’s a matter of making an easy ingredient substitution or addition, like:


  • Swapping out half of the white flour in baked goods for whole wheat flour

  • Using whole cornmeal for muffins and cornbread

  • Mixing uncooked oats into burgers, meatballs and meatloaf

  • Adding cooked wheat, rye berries or brown rice to soups and stews


Older adults also enjoy trying new foods. Why not try dietitian-approved recipes for whole-grain foods that may be unfamiliar to your senior care center residents, such as:


  • Pilafs, risottos and rice-like dishes made with bulgur, quinoa or sorghum

  • Whole-grain salads that feature barley, farro or wheat berries mixed with greens and veggies

  • Barley bread, teff flatbread and other interesting whole-grain breads


Planning dietitian-approved menus that are rich in whole-grain foods is easy with the Grove Menus. Our food menu program has hundreds of delicious and nutritious recipes, all of which can be modified as necessary to meet the individual health needs of senior care center residents.


Along with dietitian-approved menus, the Grove Menus system includes a suite of user-friendly food menu program tools that can help streamline meal and snack production, reduce waste and cut costs. For senior care centers, adopting our software system is an effective way to facilitate food service operations.


For more information on Grove Menus, or to schedule a free, no-obligation demonstration of how our dietitian-approved menus work to serve up the whole grains seniors need, contact us 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.

Seasonal Menus for Seniors: Best Produce Picks for August

  Menu Planning

Does your assisted living facility offer seasonal menus for seniors?

Making meals and snacks with locally-grown fruits and vegetables picked at the peak of ripeness provides many advantages, especially as compared to consuming pre-packaged processed produce. Fresh, seasonal foods have more nutrients than those shipped in from afar or processed and packaged. They’re also fresher and have more flavor.

What’s in season in August? These are some of our favorite produce picks this month, for use in your seasonal menus for seniors.

Seasonal Menus for Seniors Best Produce Picks for August


August is the month for melons! Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon are all at their peak of freshness and flavor right now. Serve chunks on their own for a delicious snack or mix them into a summer fruit salad.

Melons also make for great frozen desserts, smoothies, and slushy drinks.


Plump, sweet blackberries are delicious when served with a dollop of whipped cream. They can also be featured in a variety of baked goods like muffins, cakes, and cobblers. Try tossing a few in hot or cold cereal for a bit of freshness at breakfast time.


Tomatoes are at their best in August, and many seniors enjoy them with just a touch of salt. Roasted tomatoes are delectable with garlic and basil, served on crostini or tossed with freshly-made pasta. Jazz up your seasonal menus by featuring fresh tomatoes in summertime salads and sandwiches.

Sweet Corn

Roasted sweet corn is especially tasty this time of year, as is slightly charred corn that’s grilled in the husk. For seniors who can’t enjoy sweet corn on the cob, try slicing it off and serving it in a fresh salsa or salad.

You can also use this popular veggie for creamed corn, a seasonal menu favorite among older adults.


August is prime time for cucumbers, and crisp slices are a great addition to the raw salads on your seasonal menus. Cucumber is also easy to juice, which makes it ideal for refreshing drink recipes and cold soups. If your food service staff is so inclined, you can even make your own pickles to serve as a part of your seasonal menus.


Eggplant is incredibly versatile, healthy and popular with many seniors. Cubed, roasted eggplant is wonderful in pasta. Grilled slices with a bit of basil and feta cheese make for a satisfying senior meal. You can also try serving baba ghanoush – a creamy spread similar to hummus – with pita bread.

Could your assisted living facility benefit from an easy source of dietitian-approved recipes to feature in seasonal menus for seniors? The Grove Menus software system is designed to make it simple to use fresh, locally-grown produce in creating meals and snacks for older adults.

Along with hundreds of dietitian-approved recipes that can be modified to incorporate in-season produce, the Grove Menus system includes an integrated suite of user-friendly meal planning tools designed to facilitate food service operations. Our food menu program helps improve senior nutrition while reducing waste and cutting food costs at assisted living facilities.

Adopting the Grove Menus system is a cost-effective way to plan delicious and nutritious seasonal menus for seniors. To schedule a free, no-pressure demonstration of how our food menu program can benefit your assisted living facility, contact us today.