Making mealtimes memorable

With this week being Nutrition and Hydration Week, it seems the ideal opportunity to share how Hartford Care ensures the dietary needs of every one of our residents are fully met.

Each resident has their individual likes and dislikes: some have special dietary needs while others face challenges such as failing eyesight which makes it hard for them to distinguish the food on their plates – or have difficulties with swallowing or chewing. Some may also need special drinks to help with their hydration.

Mealtimes are one of the high spots in the daily lives of our residents, so to make them a pleasurable experience, full of colour and tempting aromas, our chefs receive ongoing training delivered by food industry experts in all aspects of diet, nutrition, and food presentation.

This training, together with residents’ consultations and surveys, ensure that our care homes deliver a wide range and choice of delicious, healthy lunches and suppers. These also encompass dishes that meet cultural, religious or medical needs due to conditions like diabetes, or vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian lifestyle choices.

Chef presenting pureed food during training daySpecial attention is also paid to residents with swallowing difficulties for whom softened or pureed food is available, but always presented in an attractive and colourful way.

There are specific days when traditional food like pies, fish, or roasts are on the menu. A “foods of the world” day is also part of the monthly menus when residents can try out different curries, chilli con carne, or Chinese dishes such as sweet and sour chicken.

Menu Planning

All menus at Hartford Care are written in consultation with our residents and reflect the beautiful produce that each season provides.

At West Cliff Hall in Hythe, residents give their views on their food during regular meetings. They have asked for their food to be made from scratch using fresh ingredients and where possible, including ingredients sourced from local suppliers.

The chefs have also reduced the amount of sugar they use especially in desserts, substituting fresh fruits for sugar in cakes and sponges. For residents needing to gain weight, delicious smoothies and milkshakes are prepared, using fresh fruit, milk, and ice cream.

West Cliff Hall’s lunchtime meals include a choice of three or four fresh vegetables as side dishes to accompany the delicious meat and fish dishes.

At Woodlands House in the New Forest, fruit and vegetables are an integral part of the daily menu.

Vegetables full of fibre support residents’ digestive systems, and a fresh colourful bowl of fruit salad, a great favourite of residents, is available every day. On Sundays, there is a special supper dessert, when they serve three different kinds of peeled, nicely cut, fresh fruits. These contain a variety of vitamins for the immune system.

To cater for the dietary needs of two ladies in the care of Woodlands House, the chef makes and decorates gluten-free cakes especially for them.

Residents at Hartford Court in Portsmouth have a huge say in their nutrition plans, ensuring they all look forward to their meals and waste is kept to a minimum.

The chefs have adopted a holistic approach to ensure the food looks good on the plate, tastes good, and is full of nutrients using an extensive variety of vegetables and fresh fruit. A  variety of fresh herbs such as fragrant ones like rosemary and thyme are also used to pack in extra aroma, vitamins, and micro-nutrients, as well as being good for digestion.

Our chefs are specially trained so that residents’ meals may also evoke memories of enjoying a wonderful traditional Sunday roast with their family or perhaps a dish they enjoyed on a holiday abroad.

Above all, our fantastic chefs are always happy to talk to residents so that together, they can find new ways to further enhance Hartford Care’s dining experience.

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