SHN DISHED_ Meals on the Root of Wellness

This text is sponsored by Gordon Meals Service. This text is predicated on a Senior Housing Information dialogue with Dana Fillmore, Healthcare Buyer Advertising Supervisor at Gordon Meals Service. The dialogue occurred on June 6, 2023 throughout SHN DISHED/WELLNESS Convention. The article under has been edited for size and readability.

Senior Housing Information: We all know that wellness is multifaceted. Why is it necessary to incorporate your meals and diet companies in wellness programming? May you speak slightly bit about who’s concerned in that planning course of?

Dana Fillmore: As a dietitian myself, we all know there’s a really well-established connection between meals and bodily wellness. We additionally want to acknowledge that meals is related to the psychological and emotional facet of wellness. That’s actually the place we will use meals to evoke nostalgia and create a way of group. Talking broadly, meals is on the root of wellness. If meals is on the root of wellness, who higher to take a number one position in your wellness programming than your meals and diet companies staff?


SHN: Taking motion on this house sounds prefer it may very well be an enormous funding. Usually the dialogue is round large strategic plans. Are there some extra nimble or lower-cost investments that suppliers can begin with on this effort?

Fillmore: We’ve heard about some nice capital investments like a meals truck and new eating places and even capital investments the place you’re redoing your eating room to enhance the expertise. These are all nice issues to do. In actual fact, I used to be simply studying in a white paper that acknowledged 58% of senior residing contributors mentioned improved eating choices and expertise would strengthen their general satisfaction for the group that they stay in. Investing within the eating expertise is a superb factor to do, however we will’t at all times do these capital investments.

My aim at the moment is to attempt to carry some inspiration and motivation to seek out a few of these extra nimble issues you are able to do along with your meals service staff to actually begin constructing your wellness model. There are many completely different concepts. I’ve seen quite a lot of completely different alternatives in my work at Gordon Meals Service, however earlier than you possibly can ask your meals service staff to leap in and do wellness actions, you first have to verify the bottom is nice. We now have to have customary price management.


In your meals service departments, we all know price administration and labor can current points. I’d encourage you to achieve out to your foodservice companions to guarantee you have got greatest practices in place from menu planning to operations, after which begin to consider how one can add some food-focused actions that gained’t overwhelm your operations staff. There are three most important areas operators can spotlight wellness by way of meals in: time for supper, recurring actions, and particular actions.

SHN: Social interplay surrounded by scrumptious meals performs effectively, however as a part of wellness, does that eradicate indulgent meals? Are you able to speak slightly bit about that intersection?

Fillmore: Once I consider wellness, I consider occurring a food regimen. We relate wellness to maintaining a healthy diet, and that’s necessary nevertheless not all encompassing. I don’t wish to diminish ‘wholesome’. There’s plenty of straightforward issues you are able to do to be wholesome, and I’ve seen some actually nice applications on the market. Cedarhurst Senior Dwelling has a program referred to as Crafted by Cedarhurst SM and Trilogy Well being Companies, LLC has a program referred to as Flavorful Steadiness. Each are about placing scrumptious and wholesome selections in your menu.

Once you’re placing wholesome selections in your menu, how do you outline wholesome? How do the residents outline wholesome? That’s the place alternative is available in. In actual fact, in each the Crafted and Flavorful Steadiness applications, it’s actually about figuring out that in your menu. That’s the place you possibly can spotlight a wholesome choice.

Let’s take into consideration connecting wellness to extra indulgent consuming experiences. Keep in mind, we talked in regards to the psychological and emotional facet of wellness being related to meals. This brings a possibility to make use of meals to extend social interplay. I’ve seen some nice examples. We work with a company, a vendor referred to as The Father’s Desk®, and so they promote cheesecake. They share meals exercise concepts with senior residing organizations who buy their cheesecakes. They’ve a cheesecake adorning contest for residents. What a straightforward solution to create wellness with an indulgent kind of merchandise. Let’s face it, there’s plenty of our residents that have to eat extra, and energy gained’t damage them.

In that very same instance, The Father’s Desk occurs to be a company that provides a portion of their income again to a charity. Then you definitely’re tying within the giving facet of that wellness alternative. Consider the thrill and delight that which may create for residents to have the ability to inform their buddies they participated in a cheesecake adorning contest, and possibly they gained. Additionally, we helped help a charity by way of the cheesecake that we used for that contest. It’s a fantastic connection to do these collectively.

In that vein of some extra sensible concepts to evolve your wellness model, are you able to share another examples of modern programming that you just’ve seen recently with a few of your companions?

Has anybody finished educating kitchens? That is so enjoyable. Once more, it’s one thing you are able to do with not plenty of funding. You need to use this in impartial residing the place your residents have their very own kitchens and also you’re going to show them to make one thing extra wholesome. Possibly it’s a quinoa dish that they don’t know make or an Acai bowl. It may very well be one thing enjoyable that may assist their bodily wellness all the way in which to one thing extra decadent, like a dessert. We’re seeing educating kitchens pop up in plenty of completely different locations.

One other straightforward concept, which is basically enjoyable, is to work along with your meals vendor and do some little bit of a “style of” or a meals sampling along with your residents. It is a fabulous solution to allow them to attempt new merchandise. Create a meals sampling space that gives a possibility for them to share their opinion, to attempt new meals, interact with the group, and really feel extra belonging? You need to use the suggestions to information new choices in your customary menu.

Are you able to share any greatest practices on the place to start if a company doesn’t traditionally have a tradition of meals and wellness round eating?

I’ll repeat, be certain meals service operations are strong from a value management and labor standpoint after which actually construct from there. That you must know what your residents need. Pay attention, attend these resident councils, and perceive the little issues that your residents need out of your meals service staff. Then begin to put a few of these concepts collectively. As little as it could appear, it’s a cheesecake adorning contest, it’s a meals sampling, or it may very well be a chef competitors. Take into account a theme meal the place, for instance, you go to Italy nearly, and you’ve got an Italian theme meal.

You begin including these meals primarily based actions up between your mealtimes and your common actions, and possibly a particular exercise or two, to equal a superb lineup centered on wellness. Then inform individuals about it, promote it to present and potential residents. Share what you’re doing. Small issues add as much as make an enormous distinction, and that’s going to assist create and amplify your wellness model.

A query for you about measuring the impact of those completely different applications and efforts: What sorts of ROI metrics or different metrics ought to suppliers be monitoring or what sort of smooth metrics can they have a look at to only measure the success of this system?

That’s an necessary one and we wish to be good stewards, and ensure all the things we do is tied again to a return on funding. I feel there’s each onerous and smooth methods to measure and one is simply merely measuring participation within the small actions that you’re creating, simply getting a baseline of who’s attending, and what number of are you getting the subsequent time. In case you do have one occasion and it’s profitable, and also you schedule one other occasion, you’ll want to promote it and promote it in between so you will get extra individuals to attend.

What’s trending proper now in your expertise? What are a number of the prime issues that you just’re seeing?

We’re listening to lots about farm-to-table, recent and native tendencies. We’d all like to do as a lot native buying as potential, however we notice there are some limitations to buying native, relying on the place you reside regionally and what’s in season. Increasing on that development we hear lots about residents simply eager to know the place their meals is coming from – so don’t be afraid to work along with your vendor companions on that.

There’s a Midwest group referred to as Attic Angel Neighborhood, and they’re doing a sequence of applications the place they’re inviting completely different distributors in. For instance, they get their produce from Markon® and are working with Gordon Meals Service to showcase Markon produce – it’s as straightforward as exhibiting video clips of the produce being processed and picked and who’s choosing it. They’re ready to hook up with their meals and perceive the place the meals comes from. Regardless that that’s not native, you’re nonetheless constructing on the concept of serving to your residents know the place the meals is coming from.

Gordon Meals Service’s objective is to serve prospects with the best high quality foodservice services. To learn the way, go to:

Check Also

6 Ideas for How you can Eat Wholesome Whereas Touring to Preserve Your Health Objectives

Once you’re working in the direction of a health aim, touring can throw a wrench …