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Nutrition – Blog

From our experience, there is nothing that makes a person feel more at home, than a good meal.  Comfort food is just that – comfort.

We recently took part in a case study with Sheffield Hallam University and discovered different ways to ensure our clients enjoy their carefully prepared meals, as much as possible!

As we all know, as you get older, your appetite can reduce somewhat.  Add an illness or even just an ‘off day’ into the mix and an older person might not fancy eating at all.  This is a conundrum that all carers have experienced at some point – so we wanted to find out what we could do to help our clients to get enthused about meal times!

Norman Dinsdale, Senior Lecturer in food and beverage management and culinary creativity & innovation at Sheffield Hallam University, led a study to understand exactly how different factors might affect appetite.  Taking part in this research, our objective was to find out how we could help our clients to really enjoy their food on a day to day basis!

The first thing we discovered was that environment is key.  Clients want to eat in a restaurant style dining room.  How you feel about where you eat actually plays into your subconscious – you’ll notice that if you don’t like the décor of a restaurant, you may enjoy your meal less.  Where necessary, we updated our dining rooms and created a restaurant feel!

Next, Norman and his team looked at presentation of food. You eat with your eyes as well as your stomach, so it’s very important to ensure that meals look good and taste amazing!  For us, it’s important to find a balance – we didn’t want dishes to look overly complicated or intimidating to our clients, but we did want them to have what we termed ‘plate appeal’!  Starting with dishes which feature regularly on our menus, we worked to find the best and most attractive methods of plating for our clients!

We also looked at where we could update cutlery and tableware to add to the restaurant feel.  A lot of cutlery is now ergonomically designed to be comfortable to hold and for those clients who may suffer with arthritis or aches in their hands, we wanted to ensure we had the most comfortable cutlery available.

Finally, the team helped us to understand the psychology behind eating and how we could get clients looking forward to meal times as opposed to dreading them!  When you don’t feel like eating, the last thing you want is any pressure to eat food that might not be your favourite, or might not appeal to you normally.  How can we help to solve this? We always like to ‘go over and above’ for all of our clients and one of the easiest things to do is to get to know them.  We take the time to understand each clients favourite food or meal and if they don’t fancy what’s on the menu, we will do our absolute best to offer them something that they would like!

It was a truly brilliant research project, one that we were so lucky to take part in!!  Thank you to Norman and his amazing team for helping us to understand more about how we can work with clients with lower appetite and get them looking forward to some lovely, nutritional food!

Get in touch to find out more about how we go over and above for our clients!

Balazs Liszka