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.

Dietitian-Approved Menus: Meal Planning for Vegetarians

  Menu Planning

Dietitian-approved menus can address – and resolve – the many challenges of meal planning for senior vegetarians.

A well-planned vegetarian diet, focused on serving a variety of the right types of foods, can meet the unique nutritional needs of older adults. With dietitian-approved menus, seniors at adult care centers can eat vegetarian and stay healthy – not to mention, a dietitian-approved food menu program makes meal planning much easier.

Planning healthy meals that meet the dietary needs of vegetarians doesn’t have to be difficult, especially with our handy meal planning tips.

Dietitian-Approved Menus Meal Planning for Vegetarians

Include Protein at Every Meal

For seniors on a vegetarian diet, experts recommend including a source of protein with all meals. Fish, eggs, and dairy are great sources of protein, but are problematic in meal planning for vegans and some lacto-vegetarians. Fortunately, plenty of other options – including soy foods, legumes, beans, lentils, nuts and nut butters – can provide the protein seniors need.

Plan for Proper Nutrition

In the process of meal planning, focus on including all the nutrients required for senior health. The more restrictive a vegetarian diet, the more difficult it can be for older adults to get critical nutrients. To that end, dietitians recommend serving a range of foods that contain vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc, iron, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Dairy products, eggs, beans, seafood, fatty fish and green veggies, among many other vegetarian-friendly foods, can provide these nutrients in abundance.

Make Simple Recipe Changes

Many popular menu dishes can be easily adapted to fit into a vegetarian diet.

Burritos can be made with beans and cheese, rather than chicken, pork or beef. Pasta with marinara or pesto sauce, instead of a meat-based sauce, is also a crowd-pleaser for senior vegetarians. Other health options include veggie pizza, tofu-veggie stir fry, and vegetable lasagna.

Serve Vegetarian Products

Vegetarian meat substitutes often look and taste much like their non-vegetarian counterparts – and they’re usually a better meal planning choice in terms of saturated fat and cholesterol.

Soy-based sausage patties are great for breakfast, and veggie burgers, bean burgers and falafel can bring flavor and nutrition to senior lunches and dinners. Or, add meat substitutes like tempeh, tofu, and seitan for a protein boost in soups, stews and casseroles.

Choose Fortified Foods

To ensure senior vegetarians get a full range of nutrients, include fortified foods in your meal planning. Many cereals, breads, fruit juices, and milks are fortified with vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in the typical vegetarian diet. Dietitian-approved menus for vegetarians include more of these foods to help meet the dietary needs of older adults.

Creating delicious and nutritious meals and snacks for vegetarians is a breeze with Grove Menus. Our food menu program is packed with meat-free recipes, and our dietitian-approved menus can be easily modified for the vegetarian diet.

In addition to meal planning, the Grove Menus system also offers a suite of user-friendly program tools designed to save time, reduce waste and cut food costs. For more information on our food menu program, or to schedule a free, no-pressure demonstration of our dietitian-approved menus, contact us today.

Recipe Ideas for Seniors: Easy & Healthy Ice Cream Recipes

  Menu Planning

Developing healthy ice cream recipe ideas for seniors is no simple task – nutrition is key, but both the flavor and texture must be on point.

July is National Ice Cream Month, so now’s the perfect time to look for quick and easy frozen dessert recipe ideas for seniors. Below are four of our favorite healthy ice cream recipes to try.

healthy ice cream

No. 1: Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream

Peanut butter and banana is a much-loved flavor combination – and this two-ingredient frozen treat really couldn’t be easier.

Place frozen bananas and creamy peanut butter in the food processor, then blend until smooth for a delicious dessert. For an added flavor boost, garnish with dark chocolate shavings, chopped peanuts or toasted coconut.

No. 2: Pineapple-Mango Ice Cream

Fruity frozen desserts are senior favorites in the summer, and this tasty treat — with no dairy and no added sugar — definitely delivers on nutrition.

Whir up frozen pineapple and frozen mango in the blender or food processor, adding lemon or lime juice and a small amount of water to balance out the sweet flavor and create a smooth, creamy texture. Top with toasted coconut or fresh fruit.

No. 3: Lemon Ice Cream

A frozen treat that offers the flavor of lemon cheesecake – minus the fat and calories – is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any adult care center.

Whisk low-fat milk together with non-fat sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice. Freeze in a shallow pan until solid, then break it up and blend in the food processor until smooth. For a flavorful garnish, try fresh berries and graham cracker crumbs.

No. 4: Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Frozen yogurt is refreshing in the summer, and this tasty and healthy recipe idea comes together in just a few minutes.

Combine frozen unsweetened strawberries and a bit of granulated sugar (or sugar substitute) in a food processor. With the machine on, gradually add a mixture of non-fat plain Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Blend until smooth, then garnish with fresh banana slices or mini chocolate chips.

Would you like more healthy ice cream recipe ideas for seniors? The Grove Menus meal planning system has hundreds of dietitian-approved menus and easily-adaptable recipes designed to meet the unique nutritional needs of older adults.

For assisted living facilities, group homes, nursing home and adult care centers, the Grove Menus program offers a user-friendly, cost-effective approach to meal planning. Our suite of food menu program tools is designed to reduce food waste, cut food cuts and improve senior nutrition.

To learn more about the Grove Menus meal planning system, or to schedule a free, no-pressure demonstration of how our food menu program menu provides quick and easy access to dietitian-approved recipe ideas for seniors, contact us today.

Top Trends in Menus for Assisted Living Facilities

  Menu Planning

Menus for assisted living facilities are constantly changing to satisfy their residents. Today’s seniors – many of whom are from the baby boomer generation – have very different needs and expectations than their predecessors.

The new population of older adults tends to be educated, well-traveled and affluent, and all of these factors must be considered in planning meals and snacks. Baby boomers are redefining menus for assisted living facilities. Below, we take a look at some of the top food menu program trends for 2018.

Top Trends in Menus for Assisted Living Facilities

Focus on Variety

Baby boomers expect variety, so menus for assisted living facilities are expanding to provide a wider range of meal and snack options. International cuisine, local favorites, seasonal foods and more are interspersed with much-loved classics to create inspiring, varied menus.

Flexible Meal Solutions

These days, seniors prefer a casual dining environment with few restrictions. To that end, instead of set hours for meals and snacks, adult care centers are aiming for flexibility. Nutritional needs are met, but residents can come and go as they like.

Restaurant-Quality Meals

Today’s adult care centers are putting a larger focus on food quality. Baby boomers demand the best, and institutional-style menus that feature processed foods offer little appeal. So, assisted living facility residents and their guests are now served restaurant-quality meals inspired by the latest trends.

Fresh Food Around the Clock

Fresh foods used to be reserved for meals – snacks consisted of prepackaged or processed foods like graham crackers, gelatin and pudding. That’s no longer the case today. Residents of adult care facilities can snack on fresh fruit, freshly-baked muffins, hot-from-the-oven cookies and many other fresh foods.

Locally-Sourced Foods

Buying local has gone beyond a trend to become an expectation for baby boomers. Seniors appreciate seeing locally-sourced foods from vendors of distinction on the menu. To boost resident satisfaction, adult care centers are now getting many of their foods from nearby farms, local artisans and in-town food producers.

Themed Meals and Celebrations

Baby boomers grew up attending social activities and gatherings that involved food – birthdays, holidays, graduations, anniversaries were all occasions to entertain, and many seniors held frequent dinner parties. Adult care facilities are working to create this type of social atmosphere by holding themed meals featuring fun party foods and upscale menu options.

When it comes to menus for assisted living facilities, resident satisfaction is crucial. Meals and snacks need to be delicious and appealing to keep seniors happy – but at the same time, the food menu program needs to provide proper nutrition.

Grove Menus makes it easy to meet both the nutritional needs and meal expectations of today’s seniors. Our cost-effective software system, with a suite of user-friendly food menu program tools, allows adult care centers to change with the times – without increasing their food service budget.

The Grove Menus software system includes hundreds of adjustable dietitian-approved recipes for seniors, which saves on the expense of keeping a registered dietitian on staff. Our food menu program also facilitates food ordering and meal production to save time and reduce waste.

For more information about the Grove Menus software system, or to schedule a complimentary, no-hassle demonstration of how our food menu program will help you create on-trend menus for assisted living facilities, contact us today.