In Good Taste

 

plate-of-foodI guess it never really dawned on me until I starting working in the senior living industry that just as our hearing and eyesight are impacted as we age…so are our taste buds.  SERIOUSLY!!  Those go away??  Well, that is just fabulous, right?  Now don’t go thinking all is lost!  But believe me when I say that there is a GREAT DEAL of time and energy that is spent in planning meals for Assisted Living Communities.  And what is on the plate is not what you would expect!  We are not talking cafeteria style boredom.  Sure it may be difficult to appeal to a crowd of differing tastes and disappearing taste buds.  It can be a tall order!  But we have more than one approach to take on the task.  While bearing in mind that Assisted Living residents are given a type of diet that their physician suggests…but remembering that the resident is the captain of their own ship.  They have resident rights to direct their care and this includes their nutrition.  Our job is to do our novel best to offer food to meet their dietary needs.  It is also helpful to know that ALF communities have regulations in place that cover food from everything from receiving and storing to cooking and serving.  By following these best practices, we can offer safe, delicious and nutritious meals.  Here are some ways we aim to please.

eating-sandwich

  1. Always Available Menus. So today is Taco Tuesday and Mexican food doesn’t agree with you?  No problem!  In our communities, we offer Always Available Menus that will give you options that are designed to please.  With a little head’s up, the dietary staff can make sure that your mealtime doesn’t go South of the border.
  2. Menus that change with the Season. Guided by our Dietitian Consultant, we create menu suggestions that offer variety and nutrition to attempt to appeal to any palate.
  3. Another approach that we have incorporated is resident suggestion! Got a great recipe for your favorite dessert?  Then we want to hear about it!  We will do our best to submit it for approval to add to our menu.  From the beginning intake process, we do our best to find out what you like and what you don’t like when it comes to food.  No two tastes will be the same.  But by treating everyone as an individual, it helps set the situation up for success.

Check out our menus at http://www.greatoaksmanagement.com

 

 

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It’s Time For Soup!

The holidays are over, it’s cold outside, and so it’s time for soup.  Nothing warms a body up like a hot bowl of homemade soup. January is National Soup Month and it couldn’t come at a better time.

Do you have fond memories of a favorite soup, simmering on the stove with the smell welcoming you into the house like a big hug?  Is it vegetable, chicken, or maybe chili?  Are there special events you have celebrated with soup?

The origins of soup are as old as mankind, probably dating back to the Neolithic Age.  Early man used soup to stretch his food supply and to help survive harsh winters when fresh food was not available.  Historically, soup has been used to strengthen people who were ill and to help families stretch their food budgets.

So get out those cookbooks.  Whip up a big pot of your favorite soup to chase away the cold weather.  Go ahead and look for something new, something you haven’t tried before and see if you can find a new favorite soup.

Healthy Eating

eatright

It’s no secret that eating healthy is probably a great life choice to make, no matter your age.  But did you know that age does become a factor when selecting which healthy foods are consumed?  Sodium, added sugars, and solid fats become items that need to be monitored more closely as we get older.  You might be asking “Well then what should I be eating?”.  That is what we are going to talk about today!

Nutrients to Know

There are five main food types that the body needs to stay healthy: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, and water.

  • Proteins – Often called the building blocks of the body, good proteins include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
  • Carbohydrates – These are broken into two categories: Simple and Complex. Simple carbs include fruits, vegetables, and milk products as well as honey and sugar. Complex carbs are in breads, cereals, pasta, rice, beans, peas, potatoes, and corn.
  • Fats – These are broken down into four groups: Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, Saturated, and Trans fats.  Monounsaturated fats are in canola, olive, peanut, and safflower oils as well as avocados, peanut butter, and some nuts/seeds. Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn, soybean, and flaxseed oil as well as in fatty fish, walnuts, and some seeds. Saturated fats are found in red meat, milk products like butter, palm oil, and coconut oil.  Regular cheese, pizza, and grain or dairy based desserts are also a souce.  Trans fats are found in stick margarine and vegetable shortening.
  • Vitamins – These help the body grow as well as regulate it.  There are 13 vitamins: C, A, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate). These can be found in vitamins/vitamin supplements as well as in some foods.
  • Minerals – These help the body function.  Some important minerals include iodine, flouride, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Eating a varied diet is the best way to ensure a healthy mineral intake.
  • Water – Seems like a no-brainer, right?  You would be surprised how often health problems can be traced back to dehydration.  Research indicates that seniors are far more likely to experience adverse health effects from insufficient levels of fluid than younger adults. On average, seniors have 10% less fluid in their bodies compared to younger adults.  To read more about staying hydrated, check out our blog post on that topic here!

Here we gave you just a small overview of ways to eat healthier as you age.  If you want to learn more, visit the National Institute on Aging.

For more information on our company Great Oaks Management and senior living communites, visit us at www.greatoaksmanagement.com.

Top Superfoods for People Over 50 (it also never hurts to start eating them now!)

Eating healthy has many benefits, regardless of age. Food provides nourishment and essentials that our bodies need in order to function and maintain stability.  Some foods go the extra mile. They are rich with vitamins, minerals, and other necessities that, while being healthy in general, also boost other areas of our body.  These particular foods are called Superfoods!

Superfoods

Apples – They contain soluble fiber.  Apples can help lower cholesterol and slow glucose intake.  This can aid in keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level.

Asparagus – Lycopene is found in high volume within asparagus.  Lycopene aids in prostate protection and can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.  Asparagus also contains Vitamin A which is important for the eyes and immune system.  In addition, asparagus also contains iron and protein.

 Blueberries – Blueberries, like apples, have high levels of soluble fiber within their tiny blue spheres, but more importantly they contain Vitamins C, Vitamin K, antioxidants, and the mineral manganese which aids metabolism.

  Broccoli – Broccoli is high in fiber, vitamins A, C, B9, and K as well as antioxidants.  These aid your eyes, immune system, red blood cells, bones, and tissue.

Butternut Squash – Butternut squash is practically overflowing with betacarotene, which is essential in maintaining healthy eyes.  The squash also contains Vitamin C and high fiber content.

Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate contains antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols, which can help prevent heart attacks by lowering the chance for clogged arteries.

Coffee – The National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study found that people that drink regular or decaf cofee were less likely to die from heart and respiratory diseases, stroke, injuries and accidents, diebaetes, and infections.

There are plenty of other superfoods available. To learn more about them and other helpful topics regarding Senior Care, visit us at GreatOaksManagement.com.

Preventing Poor Nutrition

Eating well is important no matter the age, but it can become increasingly difficult for seniors to get the proper nutrition their bodies need as they age. Health issues and physical limitations play a role in the rising problem of malnutrition in our seniors.  Poor nutrition and malnutrition occur in 15% to 50% of the elderly population.

Let’s look at the causes of poor nutrition:

  • Decrease in Sensitivity – Senses such as taste and smell can decline with age.  Meals that are not appetizing is less likely to be eaten.
  • Medication Side Effects – Side effects of some medications include reduced appetite, nausea, or simply throwing off taste buds.
  • Poor Dental Health – Dentures that do not fit properly, jaw pain, mouth sores, missing teeth, or other dental problems can make eating difficult or painful.
  • Financial Burden – Sometimes finances play a role.  Groceries can get expensive, making the cheaper, less nutritious options seem like the better solution.
  • Forgetfulness – Dementia, poor memory, or alzheimer’s can cause seniors to get off schedule, eat the same foods over and over, or even forget the last time they have eaten.
  • Depression – Life can get harder as you age.  Loved ones might be far away or simply do not visit as often, bodies start to fail; loneliness takes hold.  Depression can decrease appetites or simply cause one not to care.

Ensuring Proper Nutrition:

  • Offer Better Food Options – There are plenty of nutritionally-dense foods such as peanut butter, seeds, nuts, olive oil, brown rice, whole wheat bread, fresh fruits and vegetables, benas, legumes, meat, and dairy products.
  • Aromas and Flavors – Appeal to the senses.  Intensify flavors and aromas with marinades, herbs, and seasonings.
  • Make it Fun – Make mealtimes a social event.  Maybe make dinner a family event or invite friends over.
  • Healthy Snacking – Small snacks throughout the day also help.  Snacks like nuts, seeds, cheese, and cereals are a great choice.
  • Take Care of the Teeth – Proper oral health enhances nutrition and appetites.  If their teeth or jaw is hurting, get it looked at by a dentist or proper physician.
  • Set Reminders – Sticky notes, calendars, alarms… Anything to help set a routine.

For more information, visit GreatOaksManagement.com.