The meals we provide have been analyzed by our Registered Dietician to meet the standards established by the Older Americans Act and comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published by the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture. The meals can be easily included as part of a meal plan for people with diabetes and heart disease.
Based on our client population, meals are balanced and meet the 33% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of a female 75 years and older.
Our meals provide a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and a diet that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and moderate in total fat. The important nutrients found in our meals include protein, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and Vitamins A, C,
B-6, B-12, and D.
What are the Meal Components?
Each meal provides 2 – 3 ounces of protein rich meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cheese, legumes (beans), 2 ounces of grains, 1 ½ cups of fruit and/or vegetable, and one serving of milk.
- 1 high sodium food may be provided each week
- One good source of vitamin A every other day
- One vitamin rich food daily
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating 3 ounces of whole grains each day, with the remainder of grains being enriched or whole grain. Grains such as wheat, rice and oats form the foundation of a nutritious diet. Grains provide vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates in the form of starch. Whole grains are high in fiber which helps to promote proper bowel function and prevent constipation.
Our menu pattern follows the key recommendations for people over age 50, as identified by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005:
- Use fortified foods to meet the Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D
- Meals that are less than 10% of calories from saturated fatty acid
- Each meal should be less than 100 mg of cholesterol
- Total fat intake for meal should be 6% to 8% of calories
- Individual with hypertension and older adults should consume no more than 500 mg of sodium per meal, with potassium recommended at 1,500 mg with each meal
Medical Nutrition Therapy
Our program continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of older adults. The dramatic change in nutrition problems of the elderly population has redirected our home delivered meal program’s emphasis of meals, food service, and case management to include nutrition as a therapeutic modality. Since 2000, Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) has been offered, in combination with the conventional meal provided by our agency. MNT includes nutrition education and counseling, along with liquid nutrition supplements to help decrease or manage chronic health conditions.
Our agency’s focus is to secure and maintain maximum independence through a well-managed delivery model that addresses the immediate nutritional needs and offers an immediate response – nutritional interventions delivered to the client when he or she needs them most.
Older adults often have health issues that can lead to decreased appetite or trouble eating. Good nutrition is especially important for the very ill or seniors who have dementia. These older adults are more likely to be admitted to a hospital or long term care facility. They are vulnerable to post-surgical complications and other problems linked to poor nutrition.
Nutrition interventions consist of nutrition education, counseling, meal modification. Specialized products are used to help reduce the client’s complications, improve the client’s health status and quality of life.
Specialized products are liquid nutrition supplements used to:
a) increase calories and protein for those malnourished
b) improve hydration status to clients with diarrhea
c) stabilize blood sugars for diabetics
d) provide fiber to clients with constipation
e) provide condensed high calorie formulas for clients with heart disease or pulmonary disease that require fluid restrictions
f) provide high calcium formulas for bone strength and healing
g) formulas that aide in wound healing or prevention of skin breakdown
h) specialized formula containing low sodium/potassium, high protein for patients on dialysis (kidney disease).
Nutrition education is provided about foods, nutrients and diets to improve nutritional status. Counseling provides individual guidance based on a specific need or medical diagnosis (i.e. diabetic, hypertension, renal meal planning).
Meals are offered as regular, diabetic and therapeutic as specified by our program’s Registered Dietitian. A Physician ordered meal diet is provided to diabetic clients. A therapeutic meal is modified by texture to a pureed or chopped consistency.