Staying organized is key to successfully creating scratch-made meals in LTC homes: NCM

Almonte Country Haven’s Dave Benn discusses how his team stays ahead of the curve to prepare the meals residents want

When it comes to successfully preparing made-from-scratch meals residents love, Dave Benn has two words of advice for nutritional care managers (NCMs): stay organized.

“You have got to be organized and you have to know where you are ahead of time,” Dave, the Lanark County long-term care home’s NCM, tells The OMNIway.

A major part of the process is making lots of food at once, Dave says. For instance, if the nutritional care team is making lasagna, there will be enough made for three rounds of meals. The same goes for desserts and pizzas and other made-from-scratch items prepared in the Almonte Country Haven kitchen.

Then there is “ground beef day.” On a normal ground beef day, six cases of ground beef will be used to make Salisbury steak, meatballs, hamburgers, chili and meat sauce for pasta, Dave says. This will cover many lunches and dinners.

Nearly all the food prepared for Almonte Country Haven residents is made from scratch. Serving homemade food is something residents want and increases their intake, Dave says.

The OMNIway recently spent a day in the Almonte Country Haven kitchen observing the nutritional care team members prepare a wide variety of food for residents, from pizzas to meatballs to roasted turkey sandwiches to crème brûlée.

“At this home we have a lot of farmers and they expect their food to be homemade; they don’t (want) food from a box or from a can, so we try to do as much homemade (cooking and baking) as possible because we think it’s better for the residents because we know what’s going into their food,” Dave says.

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