Functional foods, also known as nutraceuticals, are topping the list of food and beverage trends for 2022. And even though senior living facilities are not known for having the trendiest food and beverage offerings, functional foods could be a natural fit for some communities.
Here’s how senior living and healthcare communities can make these foods pull double duty beyond just basic nutrition:
Give your Menu a Functional Upgrade
The easiest way to bring functional foods to senior living communities is through the dining program. Work with your chef to incorporate these foods into the menu items. Highlight the health benefits of ingredients directly on the menu. For more obscure foods, prepare to have samples for hesitant residents to try before ordering.
Residents are probably already familiar with many foods that they did not know were “functional”. Spinach, berries, and teas are well known for their health benefits. But other items like kombucha, kimchi, or hemp seeds may be completely unknown to residents. Offer educational workshops to residents that feature more obscure functional foods. These workshops can feature the individual foods and their backgrounds, or they could be centered around the science of their components and health benefits.
Do you have more active residents that prefer social activities over educational programs? Many common functional foods, like teas or kombucha, are enjoying artisan treatments right now. Create tasting events to let residents try different brands or flavors of each food. If you can bring in an expert to guide the tasting, even better. Partner with your chef to create cooking classes that feature functional foods and their benefits.
Make Integration Easy
Bring in a nutritionist, or consider staffing one permanently, to help residents incorporate these superfoods into their daily lives. By making it easy to ask questions and get individual suggestions, residents can be sure they are getting the most out of what they eat. If they are active and enjoy cooking for themselves, staff can even help them locate grocers that stock certain items.
Find Nutrition Experts
Functional foods can provide important health benefits to senior living residents. If residents are still active and open to trying new things, functional foods can be enjoyable as well. Communities that want to incorporate healthy lifestyles into their lifestyles need a skilled team to provide the education and tools for residents to reap the benefits of functional foods. Our senior living and healthcare recruiters know where to find the top culinary, nutrition, and programming leaders in the industry. Contact us today to learn how.