Getting residents excited about eating can be tough for foodservice workers in senior living or long-term care communities. Incorporating global flavors and cross-cultural activities can make a world of difference.
Here are some ways to serve up food, fun and faraway places, encouraging residents and patients to share stories, memories and hearty meals.
Serve up a world of taste
Did you know humans can distinguish about 100,000 flavors? Simple flavor profile shifts increase interest and meal program participation from residents and visitors.
The next time you are looking to add global flavors, look to international favorites from other countries for ingredients and inspiration:
- India is known for curries, vindaloos and dosas (their version of pancakes). Common herbs and spices include cardamom, cloves, coriander, mustard seed, turmeric and saffron.
- China places a premium on color, aroma, taste and the meaning of food. Garlic, ginger root, sesame, star anise, fennel and pepper are all features of Chinese cuisine.
- Italy uses different ingredients in various regions, ranging from tomatoes, meat, fish and pecorino cheese to pastas, olives, peppers, oranges, garlic, basil, thyme and oregano. Yogurt can replace cream in many Italian recipes as a healthy alternative.
- Greece, like many Mediterranean countries, focuses on the trifecta of meat, olive oil and wine. Veggies, grains, meat, fish, pasta, yogurt, olive oil, lemons, oregano, mint, dill and nutmeg are all prominently featured in Greek cuisine.
- Argentina is known for a blend of Mediterranean influences brought by Spanish and Italian immigrants. Common spices and herbs include paprika, cayenne pepper, bay leaf and nutmeg.
Don’t forget the fun
To add excitement to the dining room, take flavorful food one step further to create truly memorable meals.
- Themed meals. Feature one country or region once a week. Use activities, decorations, a movie night or an event that features that culture.
- A new twist. Take a dish residents are familiar with and give it a global flavor tweak. Steamed broccoli can be updated with an Asian dipping sauce or be added to pasta to increase vegetable consumption.
- Passport program. Create a booklet and encourage residents to get stamps from around the world when they try different foods and cuisines.
For ideas and inspiration for your next global event, talk to your Gordon Food Service Sales Representatives or click visit the “World of Taste” recipe collection and activity guide from General Mills Foodservice.