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  • Writer's pictureOSCAR Care Group

An Christmas Feast for Aged Care Residents

‘Tis the season for delicious meals, full tummies and happy residents. Christmas is fast approaching! Our Aged Care homes are starting to feel festive, as we begin to decorate with colourful ornaments, sing joyful carols and display our precious gifts. However, we must not forget one of the most important aspects of Christmas. It plays a key role in building a sense of celebration, warmth and togetherness – food!

IDeas from an Aged Care Dietitian for a Christmas Feast for residents

Christmas meals

We know that our aged care residents are at a higher risk of malnutrition than the general population. Because of this, it is important to consider that the meals we serve to our elderly population at Christmas need to be full of nutrients, while also being yummy and appetizing!

What to serve on Christmas day

A special menu for Christmas day will be sure to get our residents feeling jolly. Providing a nourishing twist on Christmas classics is a good way to keep our residents full while also feeding their taste buds. Some examples to serve include:

  • A roast pork, turkey, beef or chicken served with a nourishing sauce. For example, gravy made with butter and milk powder will increase the energy and protein content of the meal. Otherwise, serving a creamy mustard or garlic sauce, made with full fat cream, may be a tasty pairing for pork or chicken.

  • Bread and butter stuffing is the perfect side to a delicious roast. Full of fresh bread, butter, herbs, cheese and eggs, it is a great way to get in a little extra nourishment.

  • Roast potatoes and pumpkin cooked in olive oil to boost intake of health fats. Try serving this with a honey or maple glaze for a festive twist.

  • Cheesy baked vegetables such as brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. This side is easily adaptable to taste preferences. Cheesy baked vegetables can be mixed or served on their own.

What about residents on a texture modified diet?

Residents on a Texture Modified Diet must not be forgotten in the Christmas celebrations! There are many ways we can make our Christmas dishes suitable for residents receiving all textures.

  • All roasts to be minced or pureed as needed, served with extra sauces to keep meats moist and easy to tolerate.

  • Serve mashed potato and pumpkin in place of the roasted alterative. For a Christmas twist, try adding a hint of cinnamon. Serve with a maple glaze for an extra hit of sweetness and variety in flavours.

  • Minced or pureed vegetables with fresh herbs, served with parmesan cheese.

Need more training on texture modified diets? Our Speech Pathologists and Dietitians are here to help. Find out more.

Festive treats leading up to the big day

Why wait until Christmas to indulge in some of the season’s tastiest treats? The weeks leading up to Christmas are an excellent opportunity for residents to enjoy some festive flavours.

Holiday season snacks

Preparing Christmas themed morning tea, afternoon tea and supper snacks are great ways to keep mid meals interesting. Some examples include:

  • Christmas fruit cake served with a side of custard.

  • Ginger cake served with ice cream.

  • Mini pavlovas served with fresh fruit, cream and custard.

  • Mini trifle layered with sponge cake, custard, fruit and jelly.

  • Fruit mince pies served with a side of cream.

  • Sandwiches with high protein fillings such as tuna, ham, cheese or eggs, cut and served in triangles to resemble the shape of a Christmas tree.

Holiday hydration

The body is made up of approximately 60% water, so keeping hydrated is essential for good health. The holiday season is the perfect time to serve a range of seasonal, flavoursome drinks. Some examples include:

  • Christmas punch. A combination of refreshing fruit juices, such as orange, cranberry and pomegranate juice. An excellent choice for those warmer summer days.

  • Eggnog. A traditional sweet and spiced drink. Consisting of cream, milk and eggs, this nourishing drink provides extra energy and protein.

  • Sherry or wine. For suitable residents, a small serving of sherry or wine can stimulate appetite and improve mood.

  • Flavoured milkshakes. High Energy High Protein milkshakes are often served to aged care residents. However, the festive season provides us with an opportunity to trial a range of unique flavours based on traditional holiday ingredients. For example, offering gingerbread-inspired or spiced milkshakes can be a great way to keep our nourishing drinks fun and flavoursome!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

As we head into the Christmas season, it is important to remember that food is nourishment for the body and the soul. Sharing meals with our friends and family plays an important role in our wellbeing. This creates space for social connections and a sense of togetherness – which remains just as important as we age. Creating unique, delicious meals is a great way to boost the mood and oral intake of our aged care population during the festive season. During the holiday period, let’s help all residents Eat, Drink and Be Merry!

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