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Senior Living Dining November 11, 2022

To Cook or Not to Cook? Senior Living Dining Options

By: Country Meadows | Dining

In the past, senior living dining food was considered bland and boring. But just because you are retired doesn’t mean you have to retire your taste buds.

Senior living dining programs are providing more variety than ever, supporting wellness by offering more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and less high-fat dairy and fried foods. Dining teams prepare delicious meals for residents and guests to enjoy while offering options to meet most dietary needs and trends, such as those featured in this sample menu from Country Meadows.

Menu variety

Farm-to-table: Chefs at retirement communities often build partnerships with local growers to obtain fresh vegetables and fruits to make healthy, delicious meals. On-campus gardens tended by residents also provide fresh produce shared on dining menus, touting the gardening talents of seniors living on campus.

Heart-healthy offerings made available on daily menus emphasize healthier choices. By incorporating foods high in soluble fiber, adding herbs for flavor and limiting the use of processed ingredients, dining at senior living communities offers a variety of flavorful heart-healthy choices.

Seasonal menus provide an opportunity for senior living communities’ culinary teams to get creative by offering items incorporating in-season products, flavors and cooking styles. Seasonal menus offer seniors choices to suit personal preferences and dietary needs.

Regional favorites borrow from the customs and traditions in which a retirement community is located. Dining teams meet with residents to solicit meal suggestions, favorites and even recipes.

Vegetarian and vegan diets can be healthy choices for seniors to help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious medical conditions. Dining teams create delicious non-meat meals by incorporating flavorful, healthy ingredients.

Brain healthy diets stress foods shown to promote brain health including oily fish, berries, walnuts, vegetables, coffee and tea. Senior living dining teams often serve meals on colorful dishware to residents living in memory care settings as studies show colors encourage people living with dementia to take in adequate nutrition. In these cases, meal presentation is as important as taste and nutritional content.

Senior living dining options

These days, eating a meal is about more than the food being served. It is about the dining experience. Options are growing, and many retirement communities are including additional experiences for residents to enjoy meals.

  • Restaurant-style dining offers sit-down service with changing daily menus. Culinary staff take orders and serve choices at the table where residents enjoy meals as well as conversations with neighbors and friends.
  • Private dining rooms offer a private space for residents to host friends and family members to enjoy a meal together or celebrate a special event such as a birthday or anniversary. Typically, visitors bring in their own food or work with the dining team to create a customized menu.
  • Casual dining offers a simpler experience. Many retirement communities have bistros and coffee shops on campus for residents and their guests to enjoy a sandwich, salad, baked good and daily specials served in a casual atmosphere. This option also provides to-go items for busy residents.
  • Cooking demonstrations are becoming a popular dining perk. At Country Meadows, chefs have held demonstrations on international recipes, cooking for one, holiday recipe ideas and vegetarian meals.

Senior living dining also provides opportunities for residents to enjoy meals at local restaurants. Seniors enjoy breaking bread with friends while trying new cuisine in new surroundings.

At Country Meadows, we know senior living dining is an experience our residents enjoy, and we’re committed to making it special every single day.

Country Meadows offers senior living options including independent living, personal care, assisted living, restorative care and memory support services on nine campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Maryland. Please contact our team for more information about senior living options to learn how we can support you or a loved one. Our co-workers are always available to help, and perhaps you can stop by for a meal.

Country Meadows

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