Care home nutrition with First Care means custom meal plans and putting the dietary needs of residents first. We know the importance of nutrition and how much it can add to the quality of life for older people. Research shows that good health is linked with good food, especially in older people. 

At First Care we offer custom meal plans and only prepare nutritious meals for our residents. We want our residents to be well and happy and believe that a good diet is key to that combination. Our experts in food preparation focus on nutrition and quality, enjoyable meals. 

Together with residents, they build a meal plan to suit everyone’s needs and put that focus on nutrition for seniors.

The importance of nutrition for seniors

The importance of nutrition for seniors cannot be underestimated. Eating well daily and having a balanced diet throughout the week is part of any healthy lifestyle. 

From what we eat, we get the nutrition that keeps the body and mind active and alert. Nutrition for seniors must include the elements that are good for the joints, circulation and the brain.

The right food contains the minerals and vitamins that lead to a healthy body. The best way for seniors to meet daily targets is by eating regular meals and nutritious snacks.

When you eat well, you feel well, and everything from exercise to social interaction to cognitive ability follows course.

Research shows that custom meal plans in care homes can provide the necessary nutrition for residents. The vital ingredient in First Care meal planning is knowing what foods are most beneficial for older people. 

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What foods are most beneficial for older people?

The foods most beneficial for older people come from the five main food groups. Designing a daily meal plan that includes foods from all five groups keeps our residents healthy. 

The five food groups are:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Starchy foods
  • Dairy and alternative products
  • Protein-rich food
  • Essential fats
Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables provide so many of the nutrients our residents need throughout their day. They are the source of recommended vitamins and fibre that keep the body healthy.

A diet full of the right combinations of fruit and vegetables helps reduce the incidence of stroke and heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancers. Fruit and vegetables are low in fat and oils and add value to a meal when prepared properly.

Using bananas, apples, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, and salads are only some of the ways we get fruit and vegetables into our daily meal plans. 

The list is long, and the benefits are huge, and at First Care, we know from experience how to prepare and get the best from fruit and vegetables.

Starchy foods

Starchy foods such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta are good sources of fibre, vital in a well-balanced diet.

The ever-popular potato, a standard starchy food, is a good source of B vitamins and potassium, as well as providing plenty of fibre. Porridge, wholemeal bread, and wholegrain cereals are rich sources of fibre that are low in fat.

Using these starchy foods in every meal plan can get the best of useful fibre into a resident’s diet without making the dish bland.

Dairy and alternative products

Diary and alternative products are included in every person’s diet at First Care homes and are an excellent source of calcium and protein.

Every adult needs calcium for strong bones and protein to help the body repair itself. Osteoporosis affects women badly as they age, but a diet full of calcium can help counter the worst of the condition. 

Adding milk, cheese and yoghurt to a daily meal plan is the best way for the body to absorb all the calcium and protein it needs quickly.

First Care offers dairy alternatives such as oat and soya milk which are calcium-fortified and low in fat.

Protein-rich foods

Protein-rich foods like eggs, beans, fish and meat are popular sources of what every older person needs by providing fibre, vitamins and plenty of iron. 

A balanced diet needs low-fat sources of nutrition, and protein-rich foods do so in abundance. Meat provides Vitamin B12, eggs contain Vitamins A and D and plenty of protein, while salads full of beans are a great way to add value to a meal.

Keeping red meat to a minimum and insisting on only fresh fish and eggs has every meal plan full of what is good for our residents.

Essential fats

Essential fats, such as those found in healthy oils like olive oil, provide the body with a good energy source. They help the body absorb other nutrients that may otherwise pass through it.

Designing a balanced diet with the right amount of essential fats is part of every meal plan we provide for residents. Too much fat, or the wrong type of fat, can lead to weight gain and poor health.

Good essential fats are provided by sunflower oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and freshly prepared oily fish like salmon and mackerel.

Balanced meals and diets prepared with quality ingredients lie at the heart of our planning when catering for our residents.

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How does First Care cater for its residents?

First Care caters for its residents by offering quality food through custom meal plans. Our approach to nursing home nutrition is about providing what each resident needs through their diet.

We do not believe in a one size fits all approach that will not suit anyone. In our experience, not providing custom meal plans leads to ill health and only an increased need for specialist care. 

There is also the problem with waste. Residents will eat little of what they do not want or like, and so much food will be thrown away. Food waste only increases care costs and is a sure sign that all is not right with the care home.

We pride ourselves in low levels of food waste and the high praise we get for our nutritious meals. Meal plans devised by the chef in each First Care home are how we achieve our aims.

Our meals are prepared to the highest standards, and we insist on following all HSE food preparation guidelines. Hygiene standards are followed closely, with no risks taken anywhere in First Care homes.

Meal plans in First Care Nursing homes

Meal plans in First Care nursing homes are devised by our chefs for each resident. We want to know what residents want and need so we can devise suitable meal plans.

First Care provides meals for those following vegetarian or vegan diets. Gluten-free is very important for many of our residents, and we provide meals with those in mind. Low-fat and dairy-free alternatives are available, as are sugar-free snacks and drinks.

Our chefs believe in providing tasty, nutritious meals made from the best of ingredients. They vary menus and daily options to make meal times interesting and enjoyable.

At First Care we want residents to enjoy their meals and spend time with others eating good food. 

We also provide a range of snacks and fruit throughout the day, so a mid-morning treat is always on the menu.

Special occasions at First Care Homes

Special occasions at First Care homes, such as Christmas, Easter and birthdays, are well catered for by chefs.

At Christmas, we love the full dinner of Turkey and Ham with all the trimmings, and Easter is all about the Spring lamb and roast potatoes. 

Birthday cakes and special treats are a great way to mark the big day.

We still cater for special diets on these occasions and offer tasty alternatives to those who do not eat meat or prefer an option to turkey or lamb

Our meal plans are all about catering for the needs of patients and helping them enjoy each day at their First Care home.

How to cater for nutrition at home

To cater for nutrition at home you should prepare daily meals with all the essential ingredients. In every meal you should include a good mix of the ingredients to provide you with the daily essentials. 

Catering for nutrition at home is a vital part of any health care plan and should follow health service guidelines on what older people should have in their diets. Getting your vitamins, fibre, energy and protein from food is the best way to ensure you reach the daily allowances.

HSE healthy eating guidelines give helpful hints and advice on what should be included in any home diet. Vitamins from broccoli and other vegetables, energy from fruit and starchy foods, as well as daily recommendations on protein intake from eggs or meat, should help with a balanced meal plan.

At First Care we strongly believe in bringing nutrition into our respite facilities. When patients come for a couple of days or longer, they should be eating well from day one. 

Each meal for respite patients is prepared with the same care and balanced nutrition approach as the ones for our full-time residents. 

Meal plans for respite facility patients help them continue eating as at home without any drop off in standards.

Dining options at First Care

Dining options at First Care include residents eating in the dining hall or their room. All meals are of the highest quality, and we offer the same options in bedside service as we do at the restaurant.

First Care restaurants offer a friendly atmosphere for residents who want to eat with their friends and visitors. Residents enjoy quality, nutritious meals at catered tables where the chat flows with plenty of fun.

Our chefs prepare nutritious, easy-to-eat and digest meals throughout the day. If a resident cannot get out of bed, we can serve their choice in their room without fuss or bother. 

We also have pastries, fruit and healthy snacks available between meals for those feeling a bit peckish. 

Our aim is for residents to feel at home in our facilities, and our focused meal plans help us reach that goal.

Learn more about First Care nursing homes

To learn more about First Care nursing homes, you should make contact with us today. Our homes in Wicklow, Dublin and Kildare provide care of the highest standards, and we are only too happy to talk about a potential resident’s needs.

Earlsbrook House in Bray Co. Wicklow is by the seafront and only a few minutes from the DART station, ideal for the family when visiting. Come visit our Georgian building nursing home in the heart of Bray

Blainroe Lodge is close to beautiful Brittas Bay, and staff and residents alike love the views. Blainroe even has an in-house bar for a relaxing pint or a glass of wine at the end of the day, making it a great option if you are looking for a nursing home in Wicklow

The Beneavin Campus in Glasnevin, Dublin, comprises three homes and is near the Botanic Gardens, making us the best nursing home in Dublin.

Mountpleasant Lodge, near Kilcock is our Kildare Nursing home. Located in the heart of the Irish countryside, the rural setting, surrounded by farms and gentle hills is a lovely backdrop for the residents.

Each of our First Care homes provides levels of care developed over years of experience and learning. Our residents and respite visitors are looked after from day one with dedicated care and custom-designed meal plans.

Contact us today to learn more about First Care nursing homes and how we can care for your loved one.

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