Digital resource to improve aged-care nutrition

Nestle Professional

Wednesday, 01 September, 2021

Digital resource to improve aged-care nutrition

Nestlé Professional has launched a new digital resource designed to help aged-care providers improve the nutritional quality of the meals they provide for the elderly under their care.

The free online recipe book, Nourished: Make Every Bite Count, was created in collaboration with nutrition and culinary experts to provide appetising menus with appropriate nutrition for those in aged care and healthcare settings.

The recent Royal Commission into Aged Care identified food and nutrition as one of the critical areas of focus requiring immediate attention.

Accredited Practising Dietitian and Brand Nutritionist for Nestlé Professional Karen Kingham said research shows malnutrition among elderly people living in care exceeds 1 in 2.1 While ageing can present many barriers to good nutrition, a menu offering a range of nutritious, energy and protein dense foods can make a difference.

“The idea for this resource came directly from our sales team who were being asked by customers for support in developing recipes for those in aged care, so we decided to respond,” Kingham said.

“For most residents, the food provided by a care home is their only option for a meal. This means 100% of their nutritional needs must be met through a nutritionally balanced menu that offers appealing, quality food that’s texture appropriate.”

The resource contains menu planning tools, tips and hints, and a nutrition content analysis for every recipe to provide the higher energy and protein options often required by aged-care residents.

“There is a growing body of evidence that our ability to utilise protein reduces as we get older, and we need more at every meal to maintain muscle mass that is so important in supporting the strength and mobility needed for quality of life,” Kingham said.

“Unfortunately, protein intake declines with age, so there is increased pressure on chefs to provide recipe development and menu planning that delivers better than average nutrition. A large part of developing Nourished was to ensure every recipe met the food standard for protein and aim to offer as many recipes as possible that are rich in this important nutrient,” she said.

Former aged-care executive chef Gregg Burdon, who worked with Nestlé Professional to develop Nourished, said, “We worked hard to ensure this resource was something an everyday cook in an aged-care environment could pick up and work with straight away,” Burdon said.

“These chefs aren’t cooking for 10 people, they’re cooking for 100 to 200 people. The aged-care setting is also very time poor and probably the tightest working environment I’ve worked in as a chef. Getting the right nutrition and protein — and doing it all with the limited time and resources available — is very challenging.”

“All the recipes have been dietitian approved, so you could pick this up, walk into a kitchen and have no problem with meeting an accreditation process. It really ticks the box when it comes to optimum nutrition with every mouthful,” he said.

1 Bell CL, et al. J Am Med Direct Assoc. 2013;14(2):94-100

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/amazing studio

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