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.

Dietitian-Approved Menus for Dysphagia 


Dietitian-approved menus are the best way to deal with senior care home residents who suffer from dysphagia.

Dietitian-Approved Menus for Dysphagia 

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is a common concern for older adults – at least 15 percent of seniors suffer from this age-related dysphagia.

Dietitian-approved menus for seniors are designed to address dysphagia, as any disruption in the swallowing process can lead to serious health issues. Food menu program that include recipes created by registered dietitians can provide significant benefits for adult care facility residents living with dysphagia.

How Dysphagia Affects Senior Health

Proper nutrition can be a concern for older adults without dysphagia. So, when swallowing difficulties arise, getting seniors to eat a well-balanced diet is often quite challenging.

As a result, malnutrition affects many seniors who have difficulty swallowing. Lack of appetite and less enjoyment in eating are common issues, and dysphagia often leads to weight loss.

What’s more, dysphagia increases the risk of aspiration pneumonia caused by food entering the airway. Aspiration pneumonia is a life-threatening condition, particularly for older adults with additional health concerns.

How Dietitian-Approved Menus Help Seniors with Dysphagia

Treatment for dysphagia often includes working with a speech therapist to learn exercises and techniques to improve the ability to swallow. In many cases, mealtime changes are also recommended.

Dietitian-approved menus are designed to address many different senior health concerns, including dysphagia.

When medical professionals recommend changes in food preparation, the recipes can be easily and quickly adapted for easier eating. Older adults who have difficulty swallowing frequently need their food mashed or pureed, and a food menu program makes it easy to adjust the consistency.

Dining Considerations for Seniors with Dysphagia

Adult care facilities provide nutritious pureed diet programs for seniors who have difficulty swallowing. The problem is that older adults often find these options to be unappetizing – which means many seniors turn to less healthy foods like ice cream and pudding when they get hungry.

Dietitian-approved menus can solve this problem.

Seniors find recipes that use fresh, seasonal ingredients — instead of prefabricated foods – to be more flavorful and appetizing. And, when you exchange prepackaged institutional containers for artfully-arranged, delicious pureed foods, appetite and mealtime food consumption both increase – and older adults get the nutrition they need to stay healthy.

Does dysphagia affect the seniors living at your adult care facility? The Grove Menus program is a user-friendly, cost-effective food menu program with dietitian-approved recipes designed to address the unique health concerns older adults face.

The Grove Menus meal planning program contains hundreds of delicious and nutritious recipes, each of which can be easily modified for seniors with health conditions like dysphagia. In addition, our suite of food menu program tools can cut costs and reduce waste related to food production at your adult care facility.

For more information about the Grove Menus meal planning system, or to schedule a free demonstration of our dietitian-approved menus, contact us today.

7 Reasons to Use Avocados in Nursing Home Menus

  Menu Planning

You can make your nursing home menus more delicious and nutritious by adding avocados.

7 Reasons to Use Avocados in Nursing Home Menus

Avocados sometimes get a bad rap due to their high-fat content, but the flavorful fruit is actually a nutritious choice for older adults. In fact, thanks to their many health benefits, they are widely considered to be a top superfood for seniors.

Registered dietitians like using this superfood in nursing home menus and, after learning more about how this tasty fruit can benefit older adults, you may want to follow their advice.

No. 1: Avocados Are Nutrient-Dense

Avocados are packed with nutrients. A single serving provides a substantial amount of nearly 20 vitamins and minerals beneficial to senior health, including vitamin B5, vitamin K, iron and potassium.

No. 2: Avocados Are Heart-Healthy

Avocado is rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Older adults who consume more of these good-for-you fats can lower their LDL cholesterol and improve their heart health.

No. 3: Avocados Have Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Arthritis is a common problem among older adults living in care centers and nursing homes. Avocado contains phytosterols, omega-3 fatty acids, phytosterols and other strong anti-inflammatory agents that can help fight arthritis inflammation.

No. 4: Avocados Help Regulate Blood Sugar

Thanks to the fruit’s high levels of monounsaturated fat and soluble fiber – and low amounts of carbohydrates and sugar — eating avocados can help stop insulin resistance and keep blood sugar levels steady.

No. 5: Avocados Help Control Blood Pressure

Ounce for ounce, an avocado contains more potassium than a banana. Potassium helps keep blood pressure at a healthy level by blunting the negative effects of salt.

No. 6: Avocados Promote Healthy Digestion

Eating more avocado can benefit the digestive health of seniors at nursing homes. The fiber in the fruit helps encourage regular bowel movements and keeps the digestive system on track.

No. 7: Avocados Reduce the Risk of Cancer

Cancer affects many older adults, and avocados may reduce the risk of certain cancers. The combination of healthy fats and phytochemicals, along with the fruit’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics, has been shown to decrease the chance of developing the disease.

With all of these health benefits, it’s no wonder avocado is considered a superfood for seniors. And, since the fruit is both flavorful and versatile, the options for incorporating it into your nursing home menus are seemingly endless.

For an easy source of dietitian-approved recipes, turn to Grove Menus. Our suite of user-friendly food service tools is designed to make it simple to incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients and create nutritious and delicious meals and snacks for older adults.

To learn more about the Grove Menus meal planning program, or to schedule a complimentary demonstration of our software system helps create nursing home menus, contact us today.