Think back to your school years, take it to high school or even further. In our pre-adult minds what was one of the top things we judged our educational institution on harshest? Surely it wasn’t how the education was superior and could lend itself to improving our adult life (you know the mature way of thinking). Nay, it was what they served in the cafeteria. Was it pizza roll day? Count me in! Meatloaf? Not so much.
It’s often that senior living communities are judged similarly. Of course when selecting where you want to live (potentially the rest of your life) you want to eat well on a daily basis. You can equate it to choosing a restaurant you plan on eating at 2-3 times a day for years to come. Nutritious and tasty food is high on the priority list when families select a senior living community. So what do you have to stand out from the crowd? Check out these senior living dining tips!
Because residents eat with you 2-3 times a day you have to balance scalable offerings with menu changes. No one wants to eat the same thing every day, but we understand it’s hard to have completely different menus all month long. Look to see if you can repurpose available food for the next day. Maybe you have some chopped vegetables that didn’t get used before to make a veggie egg scramble. Allow residents to request what vegetables they would prefer mixed in!
It’s no secret that healthy food is a necessity to remain healthy. While comfort food is great for a treat, it shouldn’t be the norm for residents. Be sure to offer heart-healthy, low-sodium and sugar-free options to accommodate seniors who have specific dietary needs. Even if they don’t have a medical need for particular types of food, it’s important to eat lots of vegetables and lean protein as health maintenance. As always, look to cook with whole ingredients as much as possible and avoid processed food.
Understand that your team is preparing for residents every day. While you may offer kitchenettes in your apartments, the majority of residents eat all their meals with you. Taste is often tied with precious memories of the past and giving residents the option to request certain dishes or share family recipes is a personal touch.
Providing seniors, who often come with a long list of dietary needs, healthy and tasty options isn’t always the easiest. The best tasting things in life usually don’t come guilt free. Look for new ways to prepare old favorites. Comfort foods can be tweaked to include more nutritious ingredients and still retain flavor. Try out new recipes by holding cooking demonstrations. It’s entertaining to residents, and you have an audience ready to taste-test and provide feedback before rolling it out!