Catering for Vegetarian and Vegan Care Home residents

Finding out people’s dietary preferences and needs is an important part of the process of moving into a care home. Enabling people to continue to make their own food choices helps them to dine with dignity and feel relaxed and comfortable in their new home.

Catering Support Manager Ian Powell explains how care home chefs cater for residents with differing dietary requirements and preferences. In this blog, we look at Vegetarian and Vegan Diets.

What is a Vegan Diet?

A vegan diet excludes all animal products. Many people choose to eat this way for ethical, environmental or health reasons. Vegan residents must not be given any foods containing animal products. This includes gelatine, eggs and milk as well as meat and fish. Plant-based products must be used instead, so our chefs use soya and Agar Agar.

What is a Vegetarian?

A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat and fish. There are some vegetarians who also avoid other products such as leather or gelatine, and others who might eat no meat but eat fish instead (known as pescatarians).

The benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets.

Both vegetarian and vegan diets typically include lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils. These plant-based foods contain several healthy components:

  • a wide variety of antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties that are linked to better health
  • lots of fibre, which helps prevent constipation
  • low cholesterol helping to control blood sugar and weight
  • low saturated fat compared with a non-vegetarian diet.

Challenges

Avoiding animal products in the diet may mean that people receive less calcium, protein and Vitamin B12. Older people need to get enough calcium in their diet as it is good for bone, heart, nerve and blood health. Our catering teams will ensure that there are plenty of plant-based foods that are rich in calcium on the menu, such as almonds, dark leafy greens (kale, spinach), figs, tofu, and oranges.

Chefs also used protein-rich plant foods including soy products, legumes (beans, lentils) and nuts (walnuts, almonds). Fortified plant milks (like almond or soy milk) or fortified cereals are also used as they often contain vitamin B12.

Examples of dishes we create at Country Court Care Homes

Our chefs regularly consult with residents to create various Vegan and Vegetarian dishes to their tastes. These are just a few examples of the dishes that we have created and are regularly on the menu in our homes.

  • Asparagus & lemon spaghetti
  • Vegan cottage pie
  • Root Vegetable stew and dumplings
  • Vegan cherry & almond brownies
  • Vegan lemon cheesecake

Listening to our residents

Our residents are very helpful when discovering new menu ideas and many will have their own recipes that they are happy to share with the chefs. Understanding people’s preferences and favourite dishes is key to providing the person-centred care that we are striving for.

For more information about vegetarian diets click here or to find out more about vegan diets click here. For more information on Hospitality and Catering at Country Court contact info@countrycourtcare.com or click here.

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