Care Home Management

The Care Home Decision Makers’ Magazine

Insight & Analysis

Healthy eating

Fresh Thinking

Value, experience, sustainability and tech will be at the heart of future residents’ food preferences, predicts Creed food service in a new report

Care home catering in these cash-strapped times remains a key challenge for care home caterers, but it’s worth spending time on. Getting the hospitality offering right can make a massive difference to occupancy rates, revenue and profit, says Anna Clapson, Creed insights manager. 

Among the top tips that care homes can adopt: 

Carve it out: We all love a restaurant that has a signature dish so why not create one in your care home that residents and their families can get to know and love  

Make it personal: Adapt your menu to residents’ individual desires and tastes, and appetites 

Go global: Future generations of care home residents are well used to global foods and experiences. So, why not give your dining ambiance some va-va-voom with themed days and activities like a pop up Indian restaurant, Spanish nights or simply a cosy night in front of the TV 

Sustain and retain: Half of those currently aged over 58 years old are keen to see their foods ethically or sustainably produced, so make sure local or home-grown supplies feature large on your menu

Better for you: Tomorrow’s care 

home consumers have also grown old with calorie and nutritional information on their labels, so make labelling part of your menu information.

Miles to smiles

US researchers suggest that fruit and vegetables found in supermarkets are anywhere between 5-40 per cent lower in vitamins and minerals due to the time and miles they may have travelled to reach our shelves. 

Choosing local and in-season foods means you are potentially increasing the nutritional density and quality of the meals you serve, although this can limit the ingredients available to you.  

To support seasonal catering, consult useful information online, including:  

  • Seasonal UK grown produce – Vegetarian Society (vegsoc.org)
  • What’s In Season When? (lovebritishfood.co.uk)
  • Seasonal calendar – BBC Good Food 
  • almanhall Pass (almanhall clients only)   

For more information:

Creed Trends Kitchen: Insights, Reports and Trends (creedfoodservice.co.uk)

Little Chefs

Bringing kids into the kitchen is a truly beneficial intergenerational experience but the potential risks must be understood, says Anita Astle, owner and manager of Wren Hall Nursing Home

Earlier this year we welcomed children to cook for our residents to mark ‘Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day’ — a fun initiative encouraging children to participate in meal preparation, whilst promoting nutrition and healthy eating habits.

The principle of positive risk-taking is central to the philosophy of both the nearby Little Wrens Nursery and Wren Hall Nursing Home. This shared belief is not an endorsement of recklessness or carelessness in our approaches to risk but a way for the children and adults to feel a sense of achievement in all they do. The curriculum at the Little Wren nursery places a strong emphasis on teaching children the safe and responsible use of various tools and equipment, including knives. Through hands-on experiences, children not only understand the importance of safety but also acquire practical skills in handling sharp instruments. By carefully balancing the potential benefits with any associated risks, we aim to provide opportunities for continued intergenerational mixing.   

As part of the risk assessment for the initiative, we chose pizza as a meal that can be made without the need to use high risk equipment. Toppings for the pizza were also prepared in advance by Wren Hall’s catering team as this avoided the need for the children to grate cheese and slice pepperoni. Wren Hall’s catering manager Lesley Boulton was also on hand to manage the cooking, so that children did not have to go near hot surfaces.  

The children were also able to take advantage of a dedicated area in which to do their meal preparation, so that they could receive focused support from both Little Wrens’ nursery practitioners and members of Wren Hall’s catering team. They were also provided with a wide step to stand on so that they could access the countertop and resources safely.

This also reduced interruptions to the flow of regular kitchen activities, and other food preparation.   

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