The Benefits of Alternating Senior Meal Plans
Posted in Blog on September 21, 2023
Meals are a daily highlight for many assisted and independent living residents. Routine tasks like attending communal dinners and receiving meal deliveries allow residents to make new friends and socialize with staff. They can also enrich their health and minds by exploring new foods and cuisines. These seemingly simple actions can significantly impact residents’ overall well-being and quality of life.
Communities can optimize resident dining experiences by alternating resident meal plans. This process involves strategically creating new menus throughout the year to ensure residents have access to a wide variety of foods. This approach might sound complex and time-consuming but assisted living solutions like eMenuCHOICE make providing a continuous stream of delicious meals easy. This guide examines the benefits of using technology to alternate meal plans for residents and staff.
Attention to Individual Preferences: Personalized Senior Meal Plans
Let's be honest: Providing multiple tasty and healthy meals for dozens or hundreds of residents daily is no easy feat. Staff must follow many steps before handing residents finished meals, from ordering ingredients to double-checking dietary restrictions. With so much to do, alternating meal plans can feel like a stressful and unnecessary complication.
Luckily, dining technology simplifies the process of rotating menu items, so your staff won’t have to spend hours debating whether they should add chicken piccata or chicken salad. Here are eight advantages of using this innovative software to offer a variety of meal services for residents.
Variety and Choice for Enhanced Dining Experiences
Humans are creatures of habit, so it’s easy for residents to choose their favorite items for every meal. However, eating a varied diet provides many physical health benefits. For example, research shows that people who eat a wide selection of nutritious meals have a lower risk of mortality and improved gut health.
Alternating meal plans promotes residents’ well-being by encouraging them to switch up their diets frequently. This variation allows them to consume a variety of minerals, vitamins, and other key nutrients.
Offering a broad range of tasty meals also has many advantages for mental health. Residents can expand their palates and step outside their comfort zones by sampling new dishes from diverse cultures. They may even gather with friends to rate the latest meals. This constant novelty prevents boredom and makes everyday activities feel more adventurous.
Addressing Dietary Restrictions and Severe Food Allergies With Customized Plans
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 6% of American adults have food allergies, and 17% follow special diets. Assisted living communities can accommodate these dietary restrictions and keep residents safe by offering customized meals.
eMenuCHOICE makes this process seamless by automatically swapping allergens for safe alternatives. The software also flags meals that contain the resident’s intolerances or allergens on the digital menu so they can spot dangerous foods before ordering.
Supporting Health and Wellness Goals through a Healthy Meal Plan
A balanced diet promotes healthy aging and helps residents meet wellness goals, such as maintaining weight or building muscle. Assisted living communities can provide optimal nutrition for residents with eMenuCHOICE’s pre-generated FreshMenus™. These seasonal menus are dietician-approved and specifically designed to meet the unique nutritional needs of older adults.
Adapting Meal Plans for Different Medical Conditions in Senior Living
Many residents have complex medical conditions that require specific dietary modifications. For example, people with chronic kidney disease often need to restrict their sodium intake. Similarly, healthcare professionals may recommend that diabetic residents avoid processed foods to help regulate their blood sugar.
You can use software like eMenuCHOICE to create flexible assisted living meal plans for various medical conditions. The dining technology generates healthy meal options based on each resident’s dietary preferences and needs. These individualized plans ensure that all residents can enjoy nutritious foods that support their health.
Automatically Substitute Menu Options Based on Individual Diets
Keeping track of individual dietary restrictions and preferences can mentally tax staff. Without dining technology, you may struggle to remember if a particular resident dislikes red or white pasta sauce or is allergic to sesame or soy.
eMenuCHOICE relieves this burden by automatically substituting menu options according to the resident’s needs. This feature decreases errors and reduces staff stress.
Improve Safety Through Integrated Resident Data
Implementing integrated assisted living software is the most effective way to ensure all residents receive appropriate and healthy food. You can combine your dining technology with electronic health records and other systems for seamless data transmission.
Say a new resident lists a gluten allergy on their intake assessment. This information automatically gets transmitted to the community’s dining services software. Next, the technology generates a customized meal plan that omits this allergen while giving the resident plenty of tasty and nutritious choices.
Increase Revenue Capture Through Flexible Pricing Options
Assisted and independent living communities often generate a significant portion of their revenue from resident food programs. However, upscale ingredients and other expenses can quickly eat into your profits if you’re not careful.
You can protect your bottom line by using eMenuCHOICE to implement flexible pricing options. Your menus can charge residents per meal or item, depending on your pricing model and resident demographics. For example, you could charge one affordable price for all breakfast items but set individual prices for dinner entrees. This adaptable approach ensures your community receives fair compensation while offering diverse types of meals for residents.
You can also charge higher prices for customized meals and premium ingredients. Say a resident wants to celebrate their anniversary by swapping chicken for steak and ordering a double portion of gelato. The eMenuCHOICE software adjusts their bill accordingly.
This software also increases revenue capture by automatically recording and billing residents for all meals. This method is far more accurate and efficient than collecting paper records for every meal and manually adding them up at the end of the month to create invoices. As a result, you can spend significantly less time on record-keeping and prevent costly errors, like accidentally throwing away a stack of receipts.
Elevate Dining Experiences With Alternating Meal Plans
eMenuCHOICE’s assisted and independent living software allows communities to provide a rich assortment of healthy and fresh meals. This technology also simplifies the process of creating community-driven dining options that accommodate each resident’s unique nutritional needs and tastes. As a result, you can spend less time expanding and adapting your menus and more time providing exceptional dining services that leave residents clambering for more.