Shared food experiences at Christmas are part of many cultures, and bring so much joy and happiness for us all. This is a time of year that both resonates memories and also brings enjoyment in the moment for residents in aged care. What better time of year to provide appetizing and delicious foods for all of our residents! Here are some of our team’s favourite Christmas food tips for making this Christmas extra special.
Christmas food is about more than nutrition
We all know that promoting food enjoyment and positive meal experience as so important in the aged care setting, and never more than at Christmas time. We want as many residents as possible to enjoy traditional Christmas foods. Obviously, all residents on therapeutic diets (texture modified, food allergies, coeliac disease and many more) need to receive meals appropriate to their needs. But wherever possible, residents should be encouraged to suspend self imposed diet restrictions and be offered the same delicious Christmas treats as everyone else. If unsure about whether this might pose a risk to any particular resident, consult the GP or your dietitan.
A meal shared is a meal enjoyed
Increasing residents’ social connections and sharing meals together, we know, can have a positive effect on oral intake and enjoyment of meals. Eating with others generally results in higher food consumption. Christmas is the ideal time to plan lots of brunches, morning teas and celebrations involving food and drinks. Why not involve the lifestyle team to engage residents in making Christmas trinkets, decorating the tree etc, while providing Christmas snacks or cooking up some favourite Yuletide recipes, such as shortbreads and fruit cakes. Using resident’s recipes is a sure fire way to create conversation and connection amongst the resident group.
Making it special for those on textured modified meals
Naturally Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without ham, roast turkey or pork, served with roast vegetables followed by plum pudding and custard. However, it is important to consider those residents who are on texture modified or special diets. Many of these same foods can be made suitable for residents. If you haven’t ventured into food molds yet, Christmas is a great time to trial this, making the meals look extra special and visually appealing and more like the foods other residents are enjoying. Or some plum pudding flavoured icecreams for a Christmas afternoon treat (pictured)
Christmas inspired finger foods to add a touch of magic to your platters
It can also be beneficial to provide finger food snacks around common areas for residents to enjoy. Some residents struggle with cutlery and this allows them to enjoy their food with dignity. Those with dementia can walk around with these snacks, enjoying food and still engaging with the other residents and festivities, even if they are distracted from the sit down meal. These Santa Hat Cheesecake Bites are simply gorgeous!
Above all, we hope each and every resident enjoys the festive season with their loved ones with some delicious food. For further assistance with providing appropriate meals during special occasions, please contact Leading Nutrition on 1300 712 722