By Jim Mahler
As director of food at beverages at an independent senior living community, I am noticing a new trend in senior dining: Foodies! And, what’s interesting, is that the majority of my senior foodies are women.
A foodie can be defined as person who has an avid interest in new food fads. You may think this only applies to younger people, but that is not the case. Older women are jumping on the foodie wagon, and we have adjusted our menus to meet the growing needs of our residents.
Recently, I’ve found that smoothies, vegan menus and other healthy food trends are not only popular among millennials anymore. Healthy eating is becoming a hot topic for older adults too. Nationally, facilities like The Nottingham are adapting new menus and providing a wider variety of options as baby boomers demonstrate a desire for a heathier and more sophisticated palette.
However, many older women note that they don’t have the vigorous appetite that they once had – replacing three large meals a day with smaller portions and more frequent snacks. They don’t enjoy the same foods as when they were younger, and they may even face restricted diets due to health concerns. This can present a challenge for senior women, especially when maintaining a healthy diet is so vital as we age.
It is also so important to note that as a woman ages, her food preferences change – so does her appetite, nutritional requirements and entire approach to eating. Yet, as our bodies get older, they need different fuel and nutrients. For example, the best diet for aging women consists of more veggies, whole grains, and lean meats. After age of 70, women need to incorporate more calcium, Vitamin B-12 for brain health and Vitamin D to maintain bone health.
Women may find that eating is now a balancing act for daily nutritional requirements combined with the appropriate level of activity based on each individual’s ability. As we age, we tend to sit more and become less active, resulting in loss of muscle mass. Eating ample amounts of protein helps reduce the negative effect of inactivity in women.
That is why we are constantly upgrading our menu, making sure we provide healthy and nutritious alternatives, but we are having some fun with our new food fads too.
Recently, we unveiled a new menu item with a twist at the Nottingham Independent Living Community. We hosted a smoothie-making demonstration for our residents, and let them be the judge for the newest flavor.
We presented three different Flavors ranging from the fruity to the green:
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Carrot Pineapple Smoothie
Apple Spinach Avocado with Yogurt Smoothie
Several women sampled all three and voted on their newest menu item. And the winner is…… Carrot Pineapple Smoothie! We’d like to share our simple and nutritious recipe with you:
2 cups chopped pineapple
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup ice
½ cup orange juice
Mix in blender until smooth and enjoy!
Editor’s note: Jim Mahler is the executive chef and director of food and beverages at The Nottingham.