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3 Phrases to Remember in Senior Care Dining

3 Phrases to Remember in Senior Care Dining

Foodservice in a senior care community or nursing home can be a tricky balance. On one hand, you have to make sure meals are safe and nutritious for residents. On the other hand, you have to empower residents to make decisions on their own. In reality, these two things don’t have to be in opposition to one another.

According to the Pioneer Network’s New Dining Practice Standards, food and dining requirements are core components of quality of life and care in senior care communities. Let’s go through three important phrases from their findings and see why.

STATEMENT 1: Choice of food has a tremendous impact on quality of life.

In fact, some say it actually defines it. Food can provide many amazing benefits, and those positive attributes begin with choices. Ask a few simple questions. What does the resident want? For example, how did they do things before moving in, and how can those things be replicated within the community’s foodservice program? What to eat, when to eat, where to eat, and with whom are all important things to determine. Provide real choice, not token choices like the difference between hot and cold cereal.

STATEMENT 2: We do not assume that just because residents may not be able to make a choice in some parts of their lives, they cannot make choices related to dining.

When both residents and staff are well-educated on matters of choice, when staff are trained to look for the right things, and when residents have consistent relationships with staff members who can advocate for them, even residents with impaired decision-making capabilities, can experience choice as it relates to dining. Studies show that cognitive impairment does not impact choice-making, and people with mild to moderate cognitive impairment can still provide input on food choice and successfully and make many of those decisions.

STATEMENT 3: Mealtime dining studies provide evidence that enabling residents to choose what they want to eat at mealtime does not result in negative nutritional outcomes.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When residents have choice at mealtimes, it actually enhances the nutritional impact of meals. Even more important, it increases not just resident satisfaction, but also the satisfaction of staff, caregivers, and family members.

 

Lakeside is here to help improve your Senior Care Dining operations with various product solutions! The Suzy Q cart is the ideal solution for providing a person-centered dining environment for senior care communities!

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Challenges and Solutions for Senior Care Dining

There are several key challenges senior care foodservice directors face. Some of these challenges are day-to-day in their nature, while others are more macro, focusing on the bigger picture. Let’s run through a few of these challenges and solutions.

BUDGETS

Tight budgets are common. In fact, directors tend to have about 10 dollars to feed a resident three meals and two snacks per day. If you’re in senior care or nursing home foodservice, you know it’s important to master the skill of doing a lot with a little.

COLD FOOD

Whether you’re transporting food from the kitchen to the dining room or even directly to a resident’s bedside, maintaining proper food temperature is always a struggle in senior care foodservice.

HIGH FOOD WASTE

We waste a lot of food. In fact, studies show as much as 50 percent of the world’s food supply is wasted. In senior care foodservice, this is also an issue. From residents who throw away food they were served but didn’t want to discarding the cold dishes mentioned above, food waste is the same as wasting money.

POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE

Meal times are some of the most enjoyable for senior care community residents. Staff should recognize this, and provide the type of service that makes residents happy.

LACK OF TEAMWORK

When staff communicate with one another, it’s easier to pinpoint potential issues in foodservice. Setting up a culture of sharing is a great way to combat this.

HIGH STAFF TURNOVER

These last three are all related. A disjointed team that provides poor service will most often be a staff that sees high turnover. Likewise, high turnover can lead to a lack of teamwork and poor service. Everything staffing-related is interconnected.

Meal delivery can make all the difference.

There are essentially two common ways to provide meal service. The first is with trays. Trays are very institutionalized. We don’t eat on a tray in our own homes, so using them in a senior care community seems a bit out-of-touch. Senior care residences are not intended for acute care, where trays are acceptable. Senior care residences are homes where people live.

The second mode is pre-plating. Similar to a restaurant, the plating is completed in the back-of-the-house with lists and tickets. Staff run plates back and forth from the kitchen and the dining room, making this what we call the “throw and go” method

The best way to deliver food is with mobile meal service.

Mobile meal delivery carts allow operators to bring fresh options and meal choice directly to the table or to a resident’s room. This way is the future of senior care dining as more and more directors realize the benefits.

Mobile meal delivery can eliminate cold food and food waste by allowing residents to hand-select what they want for dinner. It promotes interaction with staff and builds a sense of connection and teamwork. And, they’re certainly great for an operation’s bottom line.

 

Lakeside is here to help you improve your senior care dining experience. The Suzy Q cart is the ideal solution for providing a person-centered dining environment for senior care communities!

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Six Essential Senior Care Mealtime Elements

Chef serving senior care resident in their room and handing meal tray

No matter who we are or where we live, mealtimes are often some of the most enjoyable moments of the day. We get to spend time with friends and family. We can order or decide to cook things that will meet our cravings. And we can take a few moments to slow down and relax. For residents of senior or long-term care communities, meals can provide the exact same benefits.

“Mealtimes are a mainstay of life through which residents’ experiences are characterized, exemplified, and magnified,” one study found. To understand just how important meals can be, consider this. They play an integral role in the emotional and psychological connections residents feel with other residents. Meals can help residents manage competing interests with limited resources, and they can provide an element of familiarity and routine that is so important.

On an even more granular level, food and mealtimes can provide three critical components. First, they bring people together. Through what are traditionally communal dining spaces (an area that has been challenging during the Covid pandemic), opportunities are created for socialization that are critical to a person’s mental health.

Second, food provides a sense of control. In a senior care community, this can mean selecting a certain entrée off a menu or even choosing to double up on a helping of green beans instead of receiving a plate of mashed potatoes a particular diner might not even like. With a demographic that tends to lose control of many health-related issues, having control at the dinner table can enhance the importance of mealtime.

Finally, meals provide structure and routine. These points of the day can provide much-needed stabilization and familiarity. In some situations, due to deteriorating mental capacities, the structure meals provide can be critical to a resident’s well-being.

The 3 Principles for Successful Senior Care Dining

Now that we understand the importance of senior care foodservice, what does a successful operation look like? This is an important question, and no matter where you end up in the ensuing discussion, that conversation must always begin with the safety of the residents. First and foremost, successful senior care foodservice should be safe and nourishing, promoting the overall good health of those who eat the food.

According to the Pioneer Network, food and dining are the core components of quality of life in long-term care communities, and they can be defined in three important ways.

STATEMENT 1: Choice of food has a tremendous impact on quality of life.

In fact, some say it actually defines it. Food can provide many amazing benefits, and those positive attributes begin with choices. Ask a few simple questions. What does the resident want? For example, how did he or she do things before moving in, and how can those things be replicated within the community's foodservice program? What to eat, when to eat, where to eat, and with whom are all important things to determine.

STATEMENT 2: We do not assume that just because residents may not be able to make a choice in some parts of their lives, they cannot make choices related to dining.

When both residents and staff are well-educated on matters of choice, when staff is trained to look for the right things, and when residents have consistent relationships with staff members who can advocate for them, even residents with impaired decision-making capabilities can experience choice as it relates to dining. Studies show that cognitive impairment does not impact choice-making, and people with mild to moderate cognitive impairment can still provide input on food choices and successfully make many of those decisions. Let’s honor this.

STATEMENT 3: Mealtime dining studies provide evidence that enabling residents to choose what they want to eat at mealtime does not result in negative nutritional outcomes.

In fact, it's quite the opposite. When residents have a choice at mealtimes, it actually enhances the nutritional impact of meals. Even more important, it increases not just resident satisfaction, but also the satisfaction of staff, caregivers, and family members.

Partners in success: Lakeside can help promote the positive benefits of foodservice in senior care communities.

Lakeside foodservice believes in honoring residents' fundamental right to self-determination at mealtime. Bringing hot, safe, flexible meal choices to residents is our goal and we are here to help your community accomplish this with SuzyQ carts, hydration carts, action stations, and more.

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How Digital Tools are Transforming Foodservice

Chef Taking Food Inventory

Are you interested in improving efficiency, increasing output, and reducing food waste in your restaurant or other foodservice business? If you are, it may be time to get technical. That's right, technology is playing an increasingly important role in the foodservice industry.

According to an article in Forbes magazine, we owe many of the improvements in the production, packaging, shelf life, and safety of food to improved technology in the food industry. From drone farmworkers to robotic butchers, technology is impacting all areas of food production and distribution. For example, satellite imagery helps monitor weather patterns that can affect the timing of planting and harvesting. Farm drones pinpoint diseased crops so that pesticides can be applied precisely where they're needed instead of blanket bombing entire fields. Advanced packaging can improve food safety, increase shelf life, and help eliminate waste.

Going Green

Technology can even help your business go green. An app such as Copia can keep track of your food inventory to help you make more informed purchasing decisions. It will also help you reduce food waste by connecting you with local non-profits who can make good use of your surplus food.

After-school programs, shelters, and other programs will benefit from that surplus while you reap the tax benefits of your donations. Not only that, but you'll no longer be contributing to the 40% of American food that gets wasted each year. That's an important point for many customers, especially millennials and generation Z.

Sustainability is a major concern for many of these younger customers. They may even choose a place to eat based on it. Reducing water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions go hand in hand with reducing food waste. So too does sourcing food locally, since it reduces the fuel and emissions associated with long-distance shipping. Not only is improved sustainability beneficial to the planet, but it also benefits your bottom line through lower food costs and an increased customer base.

Managing Inventory and Production Schedules

Use technology to help you with more accurate inventory management so that you always know what to order and when. You can also use it to manage your production schedule in order to improve efficiency and reduce wasteful overproduction. According to the non-profit ReFED organization, you can save thousands of dollars annually just by using technology to track and reduce waste.

Want More Like This? View the recording of our "Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021" webinar!

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Food As Medicine – An Intro Guide

Fruit and Medicine Bottles

 

If there's one thing we learned in the past year, it's that our health is the most important thing we have. And as we know, one of the most important aspects to staying healthy is eating a healthy diet. Yes, food is important because it helps us stay healthy.

Eating a healthy well-balanced diet year-round is key in keeping your immune system healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables give us many of the vitamins and minerals our body craves and prevents infections. While supplements can be useful, it's better to get what you need from fresh or frozen foods and not a capsule. Hospitals and senior care communities across the country know this, and that's why food is often viewed as medicine — food has the power to heal.

With cold and flu season in full swing, now is the time to do everything necessary to keep our bodies healthy and free from disease. Especially in the age of COVID-19, bodies need these six beneficial vitamins and ingredients:

Vitamin C

Your mother probably told you to drink your orange juice because it was packed with vitamin C, and you should always listen to mom. The simple reason it's so important is that it may increase white blood cell production, which helps to fight viruses, bacteria, and infections.

Foods packed with vitamin C include:

  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Red bell peppers
  • Broccoli

Not only do these foods help boost immunity, but they're also great for maintaining skin and eye health.

Vitamin E

Not always thought of as the most common vitamin when boosting immunity, but vitamin E is a powerhouse. Packed with antioxidants, which help protect cells against free radicals, vitamin E is important for eye, blood, and brain health.

Foods full of vitamin E include:

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Canola oil
  • Olive oil

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is super important in that it is anti-inflammatory and may help antibodies respond to toxins in the body. It's also fat-soluble, which means it's best to include healthy fats with it to aid in absorption.

Important for vision and cell division and reproduction, here are some common foods packed with vitamin A.

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Butternut squash
  • Spinach
  • Dairy products
  • Cantaloupe
  • Dark leafy greens

Iron

Iron helps support immune health. It is a key nutrient in helping develop white blood cells and mobilizing their response. Iron is also crucial to blood health and reproductive health.

Need more iron in your diet? Try these foods.

  • Chicken
  • Red meat
  • Turkey
  • Oysters
  • Clams
  • Canned tuna

Zinc

In order to produce new immune system cells, zinc must be present. Unfortunately for us, zinc is a mineral our body doesn't produce, so we need to get it elsewhere. It's typically found in shellfish (oysters, crab, lobster), but eating yogurt or chickpeas will also do the trick.

The thing about zinc is that you need it for healthy immune function, but getting too much of it can have the opposite effect and impair immunity.

Garlic

Garlic isn't used to just season food or give you stinky breath, but it contains a myriad of compounds to support immune system health. It has been shown to reduce stress hormones and increase the production of T-cells. This superstar may also lower blood pressure and cholesterol according to recent clinical trials. Used throughout the ages to treat colds and infections, soldiers even used it in World War II to prevent gangrene.

The concept of "food as medicine" is just one trend to look for in 2021. Learn more about the top food and beverage trends of the new year in our recorded webinar, “Top 10 Foodservice Trends of 2021”.

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2021 Trends Foodservice Consultants Should Consider

Sustainable consumption and healthy eating, along with climate change, are significantly influencing consumer choices.

 More than ever before, people want to know the source of their food, how healthy are its contents, and whether it has been produced, processed, packaged and distributed in a sustainable fashion.

This article from Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) quotes a report by the research firm Datassential indicating the climate crisis and a new generation of plant-based foods will impact our industry in 2020, and these are all trends that foodservice consultants should know.

Sustainable Food

The relevant questions for sustainable food are how much land is required, how much water are we using, and are we using too much energy in the production and processing of our food supplies?

Tastewise, a company that brings the power of AI to analyzing food trends, studied over two billion social interactions, more than three million online recipes, and the largest restaurant menu database available of 274,000 restaurants to conclude that, compared to a year ago, food sustainability is a high priority item for 23 percent more consumers. 

Customers are now placing greater emphasis on sustainable ingredients and resource-light production techniques like hydroponics, recyclable packaging, and the avoidance of plastic. Another notable fact is the emergence of vegetarianism and veganism as mainstream trends. 

Clara Ming Pi of FCSI says, "I am very pleased to say that, finally, the plant-based movement is here!" The adoption of plant-based foods has another motivation driving it: health consciousness.

Healthier Food Choices

It turns out that a meat-based diet is not only resource-intensive but also a contributing factor to health issues like cancer. 

"Our food supplies contribute to one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, and the foods that create the most greenhouse gases are the same foods that are contributing to many of our chronic diseases," Pi said. 

Thirty-nine percent of consumers' conversations about sustainable food also include references to the health benefits of various food choices. Another relevant statistic is that the sale of plant-based food in the U.S. has increased by 8.1 percent over the last year. 

"We see more healthy, sustainable and plant-based dining that tastes appetizing to a wider demographic than ever before," said Melanie Corey-Ferrini, CEO of 3.14DC Design and Consulting, an FCSI associate.

Technology and the Food Chain

The food industry needs to cope with shifts in consumers' preferences. Advances in technology enable production techniques like hydroponics. Technological advances also help the industry cope with the recent trend towards catering and takeout. Restaurant layout, kitchen design, and staff skills have to change to adapt to this emerging trend. 

"Think smart equipment, mobile technology like order/pay apps, and robots for foodservice tasks including delivery,” said Connie Dickson, a principal with FCSI associate member.

Taste Trends

FSCI reports the following shifts in U.S. consumers' taste preferences:

  • Trending regional flavors: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American.
  • Foreign foods in demand: Mexican Puebla Hot Pot (a chicken dish), Greek Manouri (a goat cheese), Indian Millet (an ancient grain), Tanzanian Mishkaki (marinated meat skewers), and Chinese Jianbing (street-food breakfast crepe)
  • Growing restaurant concepts: Chef-driven fast-casual, Farm-to-table, and Family-friendly
  • Emerging restaurant concepts: Dog-friendly, Upcycling, and Hyper-local
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2020 Year in Review: Senior Care Foodservice

Here are the highlights of our senior care foodservice blogs from this year.

Senior care facilities were put on high alert early on during the Coronavirus pandemic. With residents at a higher risk than most, it has been vital for senior care staff to continue to deliver necessary foodservice safely. Meal delivery during COVID-19 has never been as important, and with the right tools, it was being done in a safe, effective manner. The changes we saw over the course of 2020 will no doubt impact how senior care foodservice is handled as we embark on the new year.

Here are the biggest takeaways of the significant changes we witnessed in senior care foodservice in 2020.

Continue reading 2020 Year in Review: Senior Care Foodservice

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The COVID Resource Roundup

If there was one word to describe 2020, “uncertainty” has to be at the top of the list.

The world has completely changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ability to adapt and adjust to this new world we live in, especially in foodservice, has never been more critical. Here at Lakeside, our first instinct is to help our customers, whether it’s through in-room meal solutions in healthcare, sanitization in restaurants, or meal delivery and accessibility in K-12 and colleges and universities. Continue reading The COVID Resource Roundup

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How Healthcare Foodservice Leaders Are Responding in 2020

Pressure was placed on healthcare foodservice leaders to develop an unexpected pandemic response plan.

Many have prepared for emergencies like fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, or mass shootings, but a pandemic was not on the list for the near future. Since being prepared is key to any good action plan, a lot of pressure was placed on healthcare foodservice leaders to develop an unexpected pandemic response plan. Nonetheless, they stepped up to the plate and knocked it out of the park with response plans created to anticipate the worst, respond immediately, and adapt to the inevitable changes to come. Circumstances differ from hospital to hospital due to location and outbreak, but food service leaders are working hard to keep providing food to patients and staff. Continue reading How Healthcare Foodservice Leaders Are Responding in 2020

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The Celebrity Appeal Behind Food Waste Reduction

Food waste reduction is popular for a variety of reasons. It fights hunger. It’s good for the environment. It’s appealing to younger consumers. And it’s profitable.

But there’s another type of popularity to consider when it comes to food waste reduction, and it involves celebrities and household names.

James Beard is arguably the most recognized name we associate with restaurants. The James Beard Foundation Awards are essentially the “Oscars of Food,” as every year, restaurants, chefs, journalists, writers, TV producers, bartenders, and sommeliers are given our country’s top honors. Now, they’re also educating us on how to make the most of our food.

With the release of Waste Not: How to Get the Most From Your Food, the James Beard Foundation provides some answers from several “scrap-savvy” chefs. Some of their tips?

  • Utilize roots as part of the dish. They can add a beautiful element, and depending on the type of vegetable, add a great bitter element.
  • Roast wilting vegetables like celery and carrots to bring them back to life.
  • Don’t peel vegetables. Instead of shedding the outer layer of a carrot or cucumber, wash it well, and use the brilliant colors. Citrus peels? Send them to the bar for use in cocktails.
  • Purée wilting herbs with olive oil before they turn black. Then freeze them for later use.
  • Freeze berries on a tray rather than together so they don’s stick to one another.
  • Use vegetable scraps, roots, tops, and greens to create vegetable stock.

These are just a few examples contained in James Beard’s book on food waste, but the Beard name isn’t the only one popping up in food waste reduction efforts. All across the country, famous chefs and culinary experts are joining the fray, as we look to reduce the amount of food we waste.

Wasted! The Story of Food Waste

A film from the late executive producer Anthony Bourdain, Wasted! The Story of Food Waste aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle, and eat food. As seen through the eyes of some of the most famous chefs in the world, this documentary shows viewers how to make the most of our foods, transforming what most consider as scraps into incredible dishes.

Celebrity Chefs Across the Pond

In an article in Reuters, Chef Douglas McMaster described working in a previous job as a young cook, watching as hundreds of gem lettuces were thrown away as only the root was served… as a garnish. McMaster was the 2009 BBC Young Chef of the Year and now owns Britain’s first zero-waste restaurant.

“We like to think of zero waste as not having a bin,” McMaster said. “Every natural thing has a purpose, you just got to find out what that purpose is.”

Food Waste Pop-Ups

Chef Dan Barber was featured in the first season of Netflix’s critically-acclaimed series, Chef’s Table. Barber has been called a “philosopher chef,” and owns the prestigious Blue Hill restaurant in Westchester County, New York. He also owned a restaurant in Greenwich Village called Blue Hill, but changed it to a food waste pop-up called WastED, serving dishes from ingredients that would normally be headed for the trash.