Village Green takes new approach to serving pureed meals

Village Green nutritional care manager Miranda Ray stands with other team members, holding a plate of pureed turkey, mashed potatoes and carrots that look very different from the usual pureed turkey, mashed potatoes and carrots.

Nutritional care team is serving purees shaped like meat and vegetables. This is having a positive impact on food intake

The Village Green nutritional care team recently introduced pureed meat and vegetables that are shaped like the real thing, and it’s having a positive impact on meal intake.

The Greater Napanee long-term care home recently started ordering shaped purees that resemble carrots and slices of meat, and residents who receive pureed diets are finding their meals more alluring, says nutritional care manager Miranda Ray.

While the change has been too recent to collect data, Miranda says these purees have been going over well with residents.

Aside from being more visually appealing to residents, being served purees that look like regular meals restores dignity in dining because people who receive purees are sitting with people who aren’t – and the different meals get noticed and residents feel singled out.

“That can be discouraging and can affect intake,” Miranda says. “By doing this, it has been beneficial for improving people’s intake and having them feel better about what they are eating.

“We have one resident who would say, ‘that’s not what I ordered,’ when served a puree, but now she is eating because the carrots look like carrots.”

Miranda says she got the idea to serve shaped purees from an article she read about a long-term care home in Nova Scotia that was having success with this innovation.

“When I got this job (in November), I made this one of my goals,” she says.

Staff members have been on board with the shaped purees and they’re coming up with ideas such as buying food-shaped moulds and pureeing food themselves to freeze into the moulds.

Miranda notes that people “eat with their eyes first,” so making meals visually appealing is essential in a long-term care home. “Plating with pride,” Miranda says, has been a top priority for the nutritional care team.

“We do a fantastic job with the flavour of the meals, but we are adding garnishes and little things to make food more visually appealing because we do eat with our eyes first,” she says.

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