How to ensure that your Care Home menu meets the needs of the residents in your care.

Mealtimes are important to all of us, and in care homes mealtimes can be a source of delight or frustration for the residents.

The Swift Management team, often receive feedback about the menu from the residents living in care homes. There are several best practice tips to help care home providers produce menus that promote the health and well-being of their residents.

1.     Plan a balanced menu: Ensure that the menu includes a variety of foods from all the usual food groups, including plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein foods and dairy products.

2.     Consider cultural and religious needs. This should be considered during the pre admission process. For example, some residents may need Halal or Kosher meals, or may have specific dietary restrictions.

3.     Offer a variety of food options at each meal, including vegetarian and if applicable to the service vegan options. This will help to cater to a wide range of dietary preferences and ensure that residents have a variety of foods to choose from.

4.     Consider seasonal and local produce, incorporating seasonal and locally sourced produce can provide residents with fresher, tastier and more nutritious meals.

5.     Offer finger foods, items that can be easily picked up to tempt the palate.

6.     Involve the residents in planning menus by discussing their dietary preferences and special requirements. Including helping them to celebrate religious festivals and other events with food.

7.     Review and evaluate menus at regular intervals and involve outside professionals to ensure that the menus are meeting the requirements of all the residents. This may include the fortification of meals.

8.     Keep records of meals served, maintain MUST Scores for residents to enable tracking of effective nutritional intake for your residents.

By following these tips, care homes can produce menus that promote health eating, whilst ensuring residents can enjoy meals and they still are the focus of their day.

Swift Management Services can provide assistance in menu planning and review of the current catering services within a care home environment. For more information contact: or call 020 8087 2072.