Hospitals and nursing homes
Most important principle: to assist the patient in making a faster recovery or to assist the resident in maintaining a better standard of well-being, the menu planner must strictly follow dietary regulations that have been set by the dietician.
- Use at least a 3-week cycle for menu planning.
- Ask the patients about their food habits and preferences and follow these as often as possible.
- Serve fresh fruits and vegetables / salads three times a day.
- At least one cup of milk and one milk product a day.
- Prefer serving milk products for dinner.
- Seafood and fish at least twice a week.
- Serve soups and foods with a high amount of water (e.g. salads, cucumbers, tomatoes, any kind of fruits) every day to increase the fluid intake of the patients.
- Serve 1.5 – 2 liter beverages, e.g. water, fruit / herb tea, every day.
- Prefer cooking methods such as poaching, steaming, pressure-cooking, roasting /sautéing, baking and broiling to prevent vitamin loss.
GOOD TO REMEMBER
Nutrient density is defined as the ratio of nutrient content to the total energy content:
Nutrient content (g/mg/μg per 100g)
Energy content (per 100g)
Foods low in calories and high in nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, are nutrient-dense, while foods high in calories and low in nutrients are nutrient-poor (also called energy-dense or “empty calorie” foods).
Nutrient-dense foods are:
- Fruits (e.g. strawberries, bananas)
- Vegetables (especially leafy, green vegetables)
- Low-fat milk and milk products
- Whole-grain products
- Low-fat fish
Elderly people need less energy (around 20 %) than younger ones, while the nutrient requirements of vitamins and minerals remain the same. Therefore, it is important to serve foods with a high nutrient density. Furthermore, there are some nutrients (vitamin D, B12, folate, calcium, iodine) which are critical for the elderly, so the menu planner must look for foods containing a high level of these nutrients.
- Use foods rich in vitamin D: fish, such as salmon or tuna, liver, egg yolks, cow’s milk and soy beverages, fortified foods such as margarine or breakfast cereals.
- Use foods rich in Vitamin B12: meat, milk products, fish, eggs, chicken.
- Use foods with folate: vegetables (broccoli, asparagus, spinach), grains / whole-wheat products, lentils, oranges, soy bean.
- Use foods with iodine: seafood, milk and milk products.
- Serve five or more small portions a day, so that the resident doesn’t feel too full after meals.
- It is important for the elderly to get some sweets every day: serve fresh fruit salad with a sweetened yogurt dressing, milk products with sweet fruits (e.g. bananas), fruit cake.
- The print on the menu should be large enough to read.