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Supporting Your Residents’ Nutritional Needs This Christmas And New Year

Christmas is a time when we all feel tempted to throw off our usual healthy eating regimes and indulge ourselves a bit more. Care home residents are no exception, and many look forward all year to the traditional Christmas fare pf roast turkey and trimmings, delicious desserts and the odd alcoholic tipple or two. However, in the midst of all the festive food and drink, care must still be taken to ensure that older and vulnerable residents still have their nutritional needs met and their health monitored.

Nutrition support from Care Vision over Christmas

Care Vision’s nutrition tool can really help managers and care staff stay on top of this important part of Christmas in their care home. It helps keep track of everything related to food, drink and nutritional management. This includes the ability to keep full records for residents, including likes and dislikes, allergies, cultural requirements and medical directions around what people can and cannot (or should not) eat.

The feature also helps tailor meal planning to individuals – especially important at Christmas, when there is so much festive fare to choose from. Residents can also use the tool to track their own nutritional intake and update the system on any changes in their dietary needs or preferences at Christmas and into the New Year. The system can provide detailed reports on which vitamins and food groups are represented in people’s diets – and where there could be gaps. Again, this helps everyone involved keep on top of what residents are eating – and any changes that need to be made. Perfect for people identifying a desire to eat more healthily as one of their New Year’s resolutions.

Here are some tips to help your care home residents enjoy a deliciously decadent Christmas, while managing their nutritional intake at the same time.

Mix it up for a healthier balance

The Christmas period extends over quite a long time, what with the days in between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day needing to be planned as well. Add in a few healthy meals and snacks in amongst the treats to help people maintain a balanced diet. Always have a healthy option available for people to choose from, if they are tired of the richer foods, or simply do not have as much of an appetite one day. Encourage people to interact with the meal planning to add their own ideas for simpler, healthy meals in amongst the traditional Christmas over-indulgence

Stay hydrated

Don’t forget to make sure your residents get enough to drink over the festive season. We don’t mean alcohol – this should be consumed in moderation. Keep tea and water on hand and encourage residents to drink regularly. Forgetting to drink enough can quickly land a vulnerable person in hospital with dehydration. Make sure care staff drink enough water too. This will help them keep their energy levels up and stay fitter and healthier. Squashes and juices can also provide a refreshing, hydrating and tasty healthy alternative to alcoholic drinks for some of the meal and snack occasions.

Fruit and veg

While there may be plenty of veg served with the Christmas turkey or goose, they can be neglected at other times over the Christmas season. Plan meals with lots of vegetables. Leafy greens are particularly beneficial at this time of year as they contain anti-oxidants to ward off colds and viruses. Serve desserts with fresh fruit, such as a fruit salad or fruit and custard to add nutrients at every course of the meal. Have some bowls of fruit available for residents to pick out a piece of fruit and enjoy it whenever they wish – seasonal favourites include satsumas, clementines, dates and figs.

Added nutrients

Make the most of the leftover turkey to create delicious curries, stews, pies and more for the days after Christmas. Choose brown rice to help people feel full for longer and enjoy added nutrients. Serve foods rich in vitamin D to help counteract the lack of sunlight in December and early January. Good foods for vitamin D include eggs, fish and dairy products. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in avocados and nuts among other foodstuffs, help keep joints moving more easily and protect against heart disease.

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