Nellsar Care Homes Nutritional Therapy https://nutrition.nellsar.com Fri, 08 Mar 2019 08:42:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/favicon.png Nellsar Care Homes Nutritional Therapy https://nutrition.nellsar.com 32 32 Happy topping this Pancake Day, Tuesday 5 March https://nutrition.nellsar.com/happy-topping-this-pancake-day-tuesday-5-march/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/happy-topping-this-pancake-day-tuesday-5-march/#respond Mon, 04 Mar 2019 09:40:29 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=214840 Many of us think of ‘lemon and sugar’ when it comes to topping our pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, but if you fancy branching out this year, there are an array of flavour combinations worth experimenting with, many offering a healthy boost to your five a day. Creative pancake toppers Sliced blood orange, crumbled hard ricotta […]

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Many of us think of ‘lemon and sugar’ when it comes to topping our pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, but if you fancy branching out this year, there are an array of flavour combinations worth experimenting with, many offering a healthy boost to your five a day.

Creative pancake toppers

  1. Sliced blood orange, crumbled hard ricotta & orange zest
  2. Wilted spinach, ricotta, lemon zest & extra virgin olive oil
  3. Almond butter, finely chopped almonds, raspberries & honey
  4. Cottage cheese, chopped fresh herbs, streaky bacon, lemon zest & mixed seeds
  5. Blackberries & honey
  6. Sliced figs, Parma ham, rocket & extra virgin olive oil
  7. Roasted rhubarb, pistachios & honey
  8. Tahini yoghurt, feta, pomegranate seeds & fresh coriander
  9. Roasted cherry tomatoes, rocket & quality balsamic vinegar
  10. Smoked salmon, sliced avocado, fresh chives & lime juice
  11. Sliced kiwi fruit, passion fruit & sunflower seeds
  12. Greek yoghurt, blueberries, poppy seeds, orange zest & fresh mint
  13. Sliced mango, coconut yoghurt, coconut shavings & lime zest
  14. Sliced figs, Greek yoghurt & orange zest
  15. Almond butter & sliced strawberries
  16. Sliced banana & grated dark chocolate
  17. Grated fresh fruit salad & fresh mint

Source: https://www.jamieoliver.com

Allergen free pancakes

If you or a loved one has allergies, why not try the pancake recipe below:

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour
1 Tablespoon Flax Meal
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
¼ teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar
¼ cup unsweetened Applesauce
1 cup Rice or Coconut Milk

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, mix the flax meal with a small amount of the milk and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar, applesauce, and coconut milk.
  • Add in the flax meal and mix.
  • Add in the baking powder last and mix until incorporated, do not over mix.
  • Let the mixture stand for one minute before cooking.
  • Pour ¼ cup of batter onto a hot griddle, let the pancakes cook on one side until bubbly and then flip and cook the other side.
  • Pancakes are done when they are browned on both sides.
  • Serve with fruit, maple syrup, or your favourite toppings.

Source: https://www.simplyshellie.com

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Maintaining good health with fibre https://nutrition.nellsar.com/maintaining-good-health-with-fibre/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/maintaining-good-health-with-fibre/#respond Mon, 25 Feb 2019 09:45:13 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=214826 Eating a diet high in fibre is a great way of maintaining health. Our gastrointestinal tract plays a big part in our overall health, housing much of our immune system and 70% of our ‘happy hormone’ serotonin. A happy gut = a happy mind! Our beloved gut microbiome also requires fibre to thrive and protect […]

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Eating a diet high in fibre is a great way of maintaining health. Our gastrointestinal tract plays a big part in our overall health, housing much of our immune system and 70% of our ‘happy hormone’ serotonin. A happy gut = a happy mind! Our beloved gut microbiome also requires fibre to thrive and protect us.

Fibre is a carbohydrate that doesn’t convert to glucose (so doesn’t raise your blood sugar like other carbs typically do) and slows the entry of glucose into the bloodstream. Fibre has also been seen to help protect against many common diseases, lower cholesterol and of course help with regular bowel movements!

Eating fibre daily

The typical recommended amount of fibre is 35 grams per day. Most people aren’t reaching this target, the average person consuming just 15 grams per day. Fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, beans and peas, grains, nuts, and seeds. High fibre foods are usually low in calories and fat but packed with vitamins and minerals.

Soluble and insoluble fibre

Dietary fibre comes in two types: soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and becomes gel-like, causing it to stick to bile, toxins and other debris and drag them from your body. Insoluble fibre attracts water like a sponge and acts to clean your intestines, increase intestinal motility and stimulate regular bowel movements. Constipation is more common in the elderly due to reduced intestinal peristalsis or rhythmic contractions, inactive lifestyles and diets low in fibre.

Ways of getting more fibre in the diet

Start your day with a fibre boost…

  • Oats are a great source of insoluble fibre, so having porridge for breakfast is beneficial. Even better, add some berries for an extra boost. 
  • Adding ½ cup of cooked spinach to your eggs in the morning and 2 cups of mushrooms.
  •  ½ an avocado provides 4-5 grams of fibre so is a great addition.  
  • Swapping white toast for a wholegrain alternative.

Tips for throughout the day…

  • Pile on the veggies! Vegetables are high in fibre and phytonutrients which are a must for overall good health. Have as many as possible in a variety of colours – the more colours on the plate throughout the day, the more your body will love you.  

  • Learn to love legumes. Black beans, lentils and split peas are all packed with fibre. Add them in slowly to let your body adjust if they haven’t been a part of your diet before. If you add too many in at once it can cause bloating in some people, so best to start small and slow.

  • Eat fruit! Half a cup of raspberries adds 4 grams of fibre. Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and kiwi, apples, pears also add a significant amount to your daily intake. Remember, eating fruit along with a protein or fat source like nuts or cheese will slow any negative impact of the natural sugars on blood sugar levels.  

If beginning to add fibre into the diet for yourself or for a person who is not used to it, then introduce it slowly, monitoring how it is being tolerated and making sure plenty of fluids are being drunk to ensure motility. Remember insoluble fibre attracts water so it’s important to have plenty in your system. Adding too much fibre in one go with no fluids can cause stomach pains and discomfort, so to avoid this and to get the full benefit, add slowly and gently with plenty of fluids. 

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Valentines Day Fudgy Brownies https://nutrition.nellsar.com/valentines-day-fudgy-brownies/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/valentines-day-fudgy-brownies/#respond Tue, 05 Feb 2019 12:10:08 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=210996 As with most traditions the roots of Valentine’s Day can be traced back hundreds of years to Pagan history and the ritualistic celebration of nature. For Catholics, the 14th of February commemorates the martyrdom of Saint Valentine, who was a Roman priest beheaded in the third century; there is conflicting information on exactly what he […]

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As with most traditions the roots of Valentine’s Day can be traced back hundreds of years to Pagan history and the ritualistic celebration of nature. For Catholics, the 14th of February commemorates the martyrdom of Saint Valentine, who was a Roman priest beheaded in the third century; there is conflicting information on exactly what he did or why he was executed. It seems to me that the story of Saint Valentine and Pagan ritual has overtime entwined and connected the story of a saint with the advent of spring.

Showing someone you care

Love hearts, chocolates, cards and the colour red will be seen in abundance in the shops over the coming weeks. This is all very well, but I tend to think there is a deeper meaning that hasn’t been captured by the high street.

The 14th of February can be an opportunity to show appreciation for friends, families, significant others and anyone else you might love. Of course, we should and can do this every day of the year. Perhaps Valentine’s Day could be the day that you show someone a random act of kindness? Or you could send that little card or a flower to a person that you see in your day-to-day life, who you want to show you have noticed in the world and that you appreciate their presence.

Get baking!

Food is a great way of showing someone your appreciation.

So, in the spirit of Valentine’s and sharing the love, here is a gooey brownie recipe made with mindful ingredients.

Perhaps if you are visiting a loved one in a Nellsar Care Home on Valentine’s Day you could take a batch with you and offer them around!

Ultimate Love-filled Fudgy Brownies

These are the ultimate love filled fudgy brownies! With only one bowl, they are so easy to make and they turn out so goeey and fudgy. Being mindful of sugar content and allergies they are gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free, ingredients like almond butter and just a little bit of coconut flour are used.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup creamy almond butter
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 dark chocolate baking bar chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line and grease a square baking pan (8×8 or 9×9 inch) with parchment paper nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the almond butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, eggs and egg yolk until smooth and well combined. Gently fold in cocoa powder, coconut flour, salt and baking soda until there are no clumps. Fold in 1/3 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate into the batter. The batter will be thick.

Pour and spread batter evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until knife inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean (some crumbs are okay). Be careful not to overbake!

Remove and cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes. Grab parchment paper on the sides and lift the brownies out of the pan to cool completely.

Sources:
https://whatmollymade.com/fudgy-paleo-brownies/#_a5y_p=6748914

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Chinese New Year – dumpling delights https://nutrition.nellsar.com/chinese-new-year-dumpling-delights/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/chinese-new-year-dumpling-delights/#respond Thu, 31 Jan 2019 12:59:52 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=210970 The Chinese New Year starts on the 5th February celebrating the year of the Pig. The new year holiday will last for 7 days during which no one works. The celebrations will take place in China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines, not to mention major cities all over the world […]

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The Chinese New Year starts on the 5th February celebrating the year of the Pig. The new year holiday will last for 7 days during which no one works. The celebrations will take place in China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines, not to mention major cities all over the world with large Chinese communities.

The Big Migration

To celebrate the festival over 800 million Chinese people will migrate home, this is known as the ‘Big Migration’ of the modern world. Fireworks, lanterns and dragon dances are all common features of this bright and colourful festival.

Traditional gifts are shared for prosperity and luck, including red envelops filled with money and spring letters written with black ink on red paper expressing rhymes and wishes of luck, happiness, wealth and longevity. Oranges and plum blossom are also used to signify riches, wealth, hope and courage.

Food and symbolism

Traditionally the most popular dishes eaten for Chinese New Year are dumplings, spring rolls, fish, noodles and chicken. The ‘reunion dinner’ dishes have certain symbolism – whole chicken ensures health, the fish meat balls, shrimp and meat ensure success in academic studies and the vegetables, intelligence. Citrus fruits have a special significance in Chinese culture representing health, prosperity, harmony and the positive energies from the universe. During New Year’s evening, the first man who enters the house must bring 8 oranges and throw them on the floor.

As mentioned, Chinese dumplings are a well-known favourite. Below are a couple of recipes to whet your appetite.

xīn nián kuài lè – Happy New Year!

Pork Dumplings

Ingredients

Dipping sauce

  • 120mls soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped Chinese chives
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce

Dumplings

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Chinese chives
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 50 dumpling wrappers
  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 litre water, or more as needed

Preparation: 20 minutes. Cook time: 1 hour.

Method

Combine 120mls soy sauce, rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon chives, sesame seeds, and chilli sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.

Mix pork, garlic, egg, 2 tablespoons chives, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Place a dumpling wrapper on a lightly floured work surface and spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling in the middle. Wet the edge with a little water and crimp together forming small pleats to seal the dumpling. Repeat with remaining dumpling wrappers and filling.

Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place 8 to 10 dumplings in the pan and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Pour in 240mls of water, cover and cook until the dumplings are tender, and the pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Repeat for remaining dumplings. Serve with soy sauce mixture for dipping.

Vegetable Dumplings

Ingredients

Dumpling wrappers

  • 770 grms all-purpose flour
  • 230 mls, plus 2 tablespoons tepid water

Alternatively, you can just buy a package of pre-made dumpling wrappers.

Filling

  • 3 tablespoons oil, plus ¼ cup
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 1½ cups cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1½ cups carrot, finely shredded
  • 1 cup garlic chives (Chinese chives), finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt, to taste

Preparation: 3 hours. Cooking time: 20 minutes. Recipe type: dim sum. Serves: 3 to 4 dozen.

Method

Start by making the dough for the dumpling wrappers. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the water to the flour and knead into a smooth dough. This process should take about 10 minutes. Cover with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for an hour.

In the meantime, make the filling. In a wok or large skillet over medium high heat, add 3 tablespoons oil and add the ginger. Cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the onions and stir-fry until translucent.

Add the chopped mushrooms and stir-fry for another 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender, and any liquid released by the mushrooms has cooked off.

Add the cabbage and carrots and stir-fry for another 2 minutes, until the veggies are tender, and all the liquid released has been cooked off. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool.

To the bowl, add the chopped chives, white pepper, sesame oil, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and sugar. Season with salt to taste (though the soy sauce will usually add enough salt to the filling) and stir in the last 60mls of oil.

To assemble the dumplings, cut the dough into small tablespoon-sized pieces. Roll each out into a circle and pleat the dumplings (see this post for step-by-step photos on how to fold a dumpling). Continue assembling until you’ve run out of filling and/or dough.

To cook the dumplings, steam them or pan-fry them. To steam, put the dumplings in a steamer lined with a bamboo mat, cabbage leaf, or cheese cloth, and steam for 15-20 minutes.

To pan-fry, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a non-stick pan over medium high heat. Place the dumplings in the pan and allow to fry for 2 minutes. Pour a thin layer of water into the pan, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow dumplings to steam until the water has evaporated. Remove the cover, increase heat to medium-high and allow to fry for a few more minutes, until the bottoms of the dumplings are golden brown and crisp.

Serve with soy sauce, Chinese black vinegar, chili sauce. Enjoy!

Sources:
www.allrecipes.com/recipe/228052/chinese-pork-dumplings/
https://thewoksoflife.com/2015/09/vegetable-dumplings/

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The wonders of Vitamin D https://nutrition.nellsar.com/the-wonders-of-vitamin-d/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/the-wonders-of-vitamin-d/#respond Mon, 28 Jan 2019 13:18:38 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=210944 This is the time of year when we are all in need of a big boost of sunshine to keep us going. For those of us living in the northern hemisphere, we lose out on topping ourselves up with that all-important vitamin D which we only obtain adequately from the sun’s UVB rays. The sun […]

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This is the time of year when we are all in need of a big boost of sunshine to keep us going. For those of us living in the northern hemisphere, we lose out on topping ourselves up with that all-important vitamin D which we only obtain adequately from the sun’s UVB rays.

The sun needs to be high enough in the sky for the rays to reach us in sufficient amounts, which means that even if we do expose ourselves to the small rations of sunlight available from mid to late Autumn to mid Spring it probably isn’t going to be enough to activate the vitamin D receptors in the skin.

Sunlight and your skin

When the sun’s UVB hits your skin, a chemical reaction takes place. A form of cholesterol called 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) that is naturally occurring in your skin absorbs the UVB radiation and this gets converted into cholecalciferol. This then travels through your bloodstream to your liver and then onto your kidneys where more conversions take place. The original 7-DHC is converted into a hormone form which your body can use. There are vitamin D receptors all over the human body which gives you an idea of how much we need it and the variety of jobs it has to do.

What does Vitamin D support?

  • Bone health. This is the most common link people make to the function of vitamin D. It helps us absorb calcium into the bones and maintains calcium levels. Our bone health also requires K2 and magnesium; when looking at supplementing for bone health this time of year make sure your supplement comes with vitamin K2 and you have plenty of magnesium in your diet.
  • The immune system. Our immune cells contain vitamin D receptors. A deficiency in vitamin D could leave us more susceptible to coughs, colds and inflammatory responses such as autoimmune disorders (ie rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders). Vitamin D modulates the immune system which means that it can bring it back into balance if over or under active. An overactive immune system can develop into an autoimmune disease. If you have an autoimmune disease, or it runs in your family, you should know your vitamin D status before supplementing. The right amount of vitamin D can bring your immune system into balance and too much could upregulate the immune system, resulting in it becoming over active.
  • Your mood. You may have heard of vitamin D being a hormone. Hormone’s are essentially chemical messengers that move about our body. There are vitamin D receptors in our brain and studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increase in mood disorders including depression, SAD, insomnia, anxiety and extreme moods during PMS. Testosterone and estrogen production have also be affected by low levels of vitamin D, imbalances manifesting in unwanted symptoms.

Topping up with sunshine…

For many of us who are fortunate enough to be able to come and go as we please in our daily lives, in the warmer months we can ensure we sit in the sun each day and top up our vitamin D levels.

For the elderly it is only too common for them to spend most of their time indoors. For some, even in the height of summer, they may choose not to sit outside. This could lead to a deficiency and maybe even contribute to poor health.

We know that vitamin D has a huge impact on bone health and mood. Falls and low mood are common factors in our elderly population and especially for those in residential care.

Top tips for boosting vitamin D

Here are some tips on how we can help boost our vitamin D levels for ourselves and especially our elderly generation:

Sit outside

In the summer each morning before the sun is at its highest sit outside with no sun cream and at least your arms, face and hands exposed for 20 minutes, or until your skin begins to turn a slight pink, NOT burning but that initial change in colour we all get when sitting in the sun.

If you are lucky enough to have naturally darker coloured skin you will get to sit in the sun for longer. The darker pigment is built to stay in the sun for longer periods and may take slightly longer to really begin to activate the vitamin D making process.

For those of you caring for elderly residents or relatives, try and encourage them as much as possible to be outside in the warmer months. Even a hit of fresh air can do wonders for the soul and really lift a person’s wellbeing.

Eat foods rich in vitamin D

Vitamin D in foods isn’t the most reliable way of topping up your levels but could contribute in some way. If you have a relative or resident who is adamant that they won’t go outside or can’t for some reason, then something is always better than nothing!

Food sources include canned sardines, salmon, tuna, butter, sunflower seeds, liver, eggs, fortified milk, mushrooms and natural cheese

Supplementation

We store vitamin D for up to 4 months so from the height of summer, if we have made the most of the sun, we should be fully stocked up until around October or November. From then onwards, one way of ensuring we won’t become deficient is supplementation. Equally for the elderly supplementation could be a way of supporting bone health and wellbeing.

If you are going to supplement then first check your levels and know if you are low and actually need to supplement. If you are deficient then speak to a health professional about the amount you would need to supplement to get your status to optimum again. After 3 months re-test and adjust your dose accordingly, with guidance.

When buying a vitamin D supplement make sure it comes with K2 and magnesium (if your diet is low in magnesium) and remember vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so either make sure it is emulsified in its supplement form, or make sure you take it with foods that contain some fats. This same practice applies to anyone of any age.

If testing and supplementation is something you feel you would like your loved one living in a Nellsar Home to explore, speak to me and I can help.

Leni Wood
Nutrition & Wellness Manager
Leni.Wood@Nellsar.com

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Creating top quality soft foods https://nutrition.nellsar.com/creating-top-quality-soft-foods/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/creating-top-quality-soft-foods/#respond Mon, 21 Jan 2019 15:25:33 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=210927 What is Dysphagia? Dysphagia is a medical term for swallowing problems or difficulties, and it is very common in the elderly. It can be very uncomfortable in some cases and can put people off eating all together. Typically, a member of the Speech and Language Team will carry out an assessment and prescribe a food […]

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What is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is a medical term for swallowing problems or difficulties, and it is very common in the elderly. It can be very uncomfortable in some cases and can put people off eating all together.

Typically, a member of the Speech and Language Team will carry out an assessment and prescribe a food consistency they feel a person struggling to swallow would best tolerate. For some, this may be minced and moist, liquidised or puréed.

Standardising textures

The guidelines for the correct consistencies have become better defined and the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI) have worked very hard to standardise the textures. Up until now, the guidance has been very ambiguous – ie ‘custard thick’ for a stage 2 – leaving it up to the person preparing and serving the texture modified food to subjectify their version of custard. We have all had varying consistencies of custard over the years. What is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another!

This spring, the new international guidance will be changed and far easier to follow. To discover more about the guidelines and IDDSI visit their website at www.iddsi.org. Here you will find everything you need to know. There is a great resource section on the website and even an App available to make understanding the new standards and how to follow them completely foolproof!

Maintaining the delicious

The challenge we face with a texture modified diet is maintaining flavour and presentation. For those on a liquidised diet, the best solution to an appetising looking plate is to use attractive small dishes or ramekins to keep the elements of the meal separate.

For a puréed diet we can use food moulds which, as many of you will have seen within our Nellsar Homes, is a fantastic way of serving a puréed meal. The separate elements are puréed down and then moulded into the shape of the original fish fillet, sausage, chicken breast or vegetable. For those transitioning from a ‘regular’ to a ‘puréed’ diet, this makes the change feel much more dignified and visually acceptable, sending the right message to the digestive system.

The real art is in the flavour. When a food is puréed, the surface area is increased which overstretches the flavour, giving it further to go. When cooking for someone on a liquidised or puréed diet, flavour must be a priority.

The secret to great tasting puree

I have recently been on a quest to try and find the secrets of adding flavour and extra nourishment to a puréed meal. On my journey I have come across one person who, in my opinion has ‘nailed it’! Diane Wolf passionately incorporates the science of blending and preparing, with the importance of nutrition in maintaining good health and healing. Her book ‘Essential Purée’ details her story, along with a variety of recipes and ways of making delicious puréed snacks, meals and desserts.

So, let’s get down to it. The main components of making the perfect puréed meal are:

  • The right equipment. Having a high-speed powerful blender to suit your needs will make sure your proteins, fruits and vegetables will be blended to a perfect consistency
  • Fresh ingredients. Having a stock of these basic ingredients always on hand will mean flavour on hand. Bananas, lemons and limes, carrots, white potatoes, red potatoes and sweet potatoes, garlic, ginger, onions, scallions, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocados, celery, spinach, kale, milk, parmesan cheese, eggs and unsalted butter.
  • The use of herbs. Herbs are full of flavour, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are easy to use and can be homegrown.
  • Sauce. The big secret is in the sauce. Protein doesn’t purée smoothly without a medium to support the smaller particles. ‘Essential Purée’ uses gravy, sauce, soup and vegetable purée as mediums for purée. They add colour, nutrients and texture.

And remember, creativity, thinking ‘outside the box’ and not being scared to experiment are also important when making a puréeed meal for someone. If you wouldn’t sit and eat it yourself, then ask yourself why? What could be done to make it better? Go to town!

Useful resources:
http://www.iddsi.org
www.essentialpuree.com
Essential Puree the A-Z Guidebook – Diane Wolf

 

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New Year tips for balancing blood sugar https://nutrition.nellsar.com/new-year-tips-for-balancing-blood-sugar/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/new-year-tips-for-balancing-blood-sugar/#respond Wed, 16 Jan 2019 14:08:00 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=210916 So here we are in 2019, a brand new year, full of new potential and possibilities; our new year resolutions manifesting in a desire to becoming a healthier, better version of ourselves. For many, the commitment to ‘dry January’ or ‘no sugar for a month’ is a common goal, in the hope of bringing back […]

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So here we are in 2019, a brand new year, full of new potential and possibilities; our new year resolutions manifesting in a desire to becoming a healthier, better version of ourselves. For many, the commitment to ‘dry January’ or ‘no sugar for a month’ is a common goal, in the hope of bringing back the balance that was tipped (and thoroughly enjoyed!) over the festive season.

New year, new you?

I am in full support of anyone striving to better their health and well-being in which ever way works for them. It takes determination to truly make a change, no matter how small it may seem. But why put in all that work through January, just to get to February to find your way back to the biscuit tin or that glass of wine (or two) at night? I believe the real answer to the balance we are all searching for – post over-indulgence – is in our blood. Balance your blood sugar and you can lose weight, sleep better and even reverse Type 2 Diabetes. Committing to making mindful and significant changes to our eating and drinking habits that lasts all year is a really nice way of following on from a month of total abstinence or even a justified replacement.

The challenge of blood sugar balance

When our blood sugar is out of balance (ie spiking too high then dropping too low, leaving us craving ‘a pick me up’), we can feel tired, unable to sleep, anxious, irritable, have low mood and gain weight. Prolonged blood sugar fluctuation for continued periods of time can push someone who has pre-diabetes into a full-blown diabetic state.

For many of those living in residential or nursing care ‘dry Jan’ holds little to no meaning what-so-ever. And why should it? Even so, the same principles still apply when it comes to blood sugar fluctuation and balance.

Agitation, tiredness, low mood, broken sleep or an inability to settle at night could all be indications that someone needs a few adjustments.

Balance is better

Refined carbohydrates, alcohol and caffeine are all key factors that mess with our blood sugar. The glucose enters quickly into the blood where the pancreas must then release insulin to help the glucose into the cells. Caffeine from tea and coffee encourage the release of cortisol from the adrenal glands, causing a release of insulin and interfering with how it is used.

What can we do to balance blood sugar?

If you feel as though some adjustments could help with someone’s mood or sleep pattern, then try the following tweaks to help:

Fibre
Adding fibre into a meal or snack will act as a buffer and slow the release of glucose into the system.

Protein
Protein also buffers the release of glucose and makes the release time much slower, thus keeping energy levels stable. Make sure protein is offered with every meal and snack. Protein comes in many forms such as nuts, beans, lentils, some vegetables, eggs, natural yoghurt, hemp seeds and good quality protein powder.

If someone is waking up in the night and not able to settle, offer a protein-rich snack before bedtime. This will reduce the release of adrenaline in the night if blood sugar drops. The body can use the energy from the food eaten to stay settled and be less likely to wake in the night.

Go decaf
There are so many caffeine-free hot drinks available now. If tea or coffee is a favourite, then why not try a decaf? Especially for those who are having trouble settling at night, make sure that caffeine drinks are stopped after around 2-3 pm and decaf tea or coffee is given as an alternative.

Less sugar
If baking cakes or biscuits, use much less sugar than usual or better still, a natural sugar alternative such as bananas, stevia, agave or date syrup. Make no mistake, these are still sugars and will still affect your blood sugar, but they are less likely to cause as much of a spike, especially if you become a whiz at sneaking in fibre and or protein to your homemade treats – a challenge for you home bakers out there! You will find that cakes and biscuits still taste as good with natural and very little sugar in them. There are many recipes available for low GL sweet and savoury snacks.

Exercise
Any movement is good movement. If you are a carer, then be mindful of encouraging the person(s) in your care to move. If they are able to walk, then ask them to take a short walk up the hall and back a few times a day, or if they can manage more then make it possible. Exercise helps cells in your muscles to take up glucose, helping with energy and tissue repair, therefore lowering the blood sugar.

Here’s to a mindful and healthful year ahead!

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This season’s favourite – the wonders of the pumpkin https://nutrition.nellsar.com/this-seasons-favourite-the-wonders-of-the-pumpkin/ Wed, 24 Oct 2018 09:35:43 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=210898 The famous pumpkin Pumpkin is such a wonderful vegetable – it looks fantastic with its vibrant orange and unmistakable shape. Pumpkins have been written about, made it onto the big screen and brought to life in carvings of all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes and characters for more than a hundred years! Our beloved […]

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The famous pumpkin
Pumpkin is such a wonderful vegetable – it looks fantastic with its vibrant orange and unmistakable shape. Pumpkins have been written about, made it onto the big screen and brought to life in carvings of all kinds of weird and wonderful shapes and characters for more than a hundred years! Our beloved pumpkin is a true representation of autumn and the transition into the darker months.  
 

Full of goodness

Not only do pumpkins look great they also taste great and are full of wonderful vitamins and minerals. Pumpkin is equally delicious in curries, soups and casseroles as it is in desserts (but, of course, the sugars in most sweet pies will outweigh the nutritional benefits, so keep this in moderation).

Pumpkin is low in calories, alkalising and rich in antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and keep us well. It is rich in vitamin A (which helps strengthen and protect our cells) and vitamin C (which is essential for wound healing and skin integrity, as well as immune system function). Pumpkin is also rich in potassium and magnesium which are both great for heart health and bone health. It also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote eye health.

Our friendly pumpkin is also full of fibre which can help ease constipation and promote digestive health.

The field pumpkin, which is most commonly used to carve jack-o’-lanterns, has watery, stringy flesh and is not recommended for eating. Sugar pumpkins and cheese pumpkins are two widely available varieties that are good for cooking and baking, thanks to their dense, sweet flesh.

Pumpkin, chilli and coconut soup from The Hairy Bikers

A warming winter soup; the kick of ginger and chilli is set off by soothing coconut milk. If you can’t get hold of pumpkin, try butternut squash.

This meal, if served as six portions, provides 177kcal, 3g protein, 14g carbohydrate (of which 8g sugars), 11g fat (of which 10g saturates), 3.5g fibre and trace salt per portion.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium pumpkin, or butternut squash
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 2.5cm/1in piece of root ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ Scotch bonnet chilli, seeds removed, chopped
  • 4–5 sprigs thyme
  • 400ml/14fl oz coconut milk
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • breadfruit or sweet potato chunks, to taste (optional)
Method
  1. Cut the pumpkin in half, then into wedges. Peel and deseed each wedge and cut the pumpkin flesh into 2.5cm/1in cubes.
  2. Put the pumpkin in a large pan with the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli. Strip the leaves from the thyme and add to the pan.
  3. Pour in about 400ml/14fl oz of water, bring to the boil and cook until the pumpkin has turned to a pulp.
  4. Add the coconut milk and season to taste with salt, then reduce the heat and leave the soup to simmer for another 5–10 minutes.
  5. If you like, add chunks of breadfruit or sweet potato towards the end of the cooking. Serve hot in bowls.

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Nellsar attends the Vegetarian for Life Awards https://nutrition.nellsar.com/nellsar-attends-the-vegetarian-for-life-awards/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/nellsar-attends-the-vegetarian-for-life-awards/#respond Mon, 22 Oct 2018 16:08:27 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=210885 This week Adrian Silaghi (Head of Catering at Princess Christian Care Home) and I were invited to the Vegetarian for Life Awards held at the Houses of Parliament Jubilee room. It was a real honour to be invited and to meet those involved in this exciting charity. Vegetarian for Life Here’s a little bit about […]

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This week Adrian Silaghi (Head of Catering at Princess Christian Care Home) and I were invited to the Vegetarian for Life Awards held at the Houses of Parliament Jubilee room. It was a real honour to be invited and to meet those involved in this exciting charity.

Vegetarian for Life

Here’s a little bit about Vegetarian for Life, taken from their website:

‘Vegetarian for Life (VfL) is the leading authority on diet and healthy living advice for older vegans and vegetarians.

VfL was formed with resources from the Vegetarian Housing Association (VHA), which provided sheltered housing and meals to older vegetarians. VHA was established in the 1960s, but its activities became increasingly unviable because of changes in society. In 2007, VHA decided to wind down its housing activities and redirect its resources to funding the formation of Vegetarian for Life – a charity whose aims are in sympathy with those of VHA.

Since there are only two fully vegetarian care homes in the UK, one of VfL’s major goals is improve the standard of vegan and vegetarian catering in existing homes. We seek to do this through our UK List, which is a geographical listing of organisations and care homes that make a special effort to cater for vegetarians and vegans.

We are striving towards a vision where at least 1 in every 6 UK care homes are members of our UK List – and 1 in every 100 will be VfL accredited.

Meeting the needs of a diverse range of older people is important to us, too. We strive for VfL to be the first port of call for information, support and advice for older vegans, vegetarians, their families, friends and a broad range of care caterers. (https://vegetarianforlife.org.uk).’

Catering for a vegetarian lifestyle

There are more people choosing predominantly plant-based, vegetarian and vegan diets than ever before. It stands to reason that the care industry needs to cater well for those choosing to eat less to no meat or even any animal products at all. We not only need to acknowledge these dietary choices and understand them, but must importantly we need to know how to provide them to a well-balanced and nutritionally sound standard.

It was highlighted during the Awards that many of the ageing population are truly concerned about the prospect of going into care and not being properly catered for as a vegetarian or vegan.

Vegetarian for Life is the only organisation of its kind pushing the envelope and providing us care providers with the support and guidance we need to keep up with this increasing demand for vegetarian and vegan meals. Nellsar is now one of 1,200 care homes across the UK who has joined as a member.

Looking to the future

We currently have a very small number of vegetarians residing with us, which I expect to change over the coming years. As we welcome more and more veggies and vegans into our Homes, I want Nellsar to be recognised as a care provider who really knows how to provide for those choosing to be a vegetarian for life.

It is our aim to be shortlisted for the Awards next year!

 

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Embracing the evolution of the care catering industry https://nutrition.nellsar.com/embracing-the-evolution-of-the-care-catering-industry/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/embracing-the-evolution-of-the-care-catering-industry/#respond Mon, 08 Oct 2018 10:23:42 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=210858 Nellsar attend NACC Training and Development Forum The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Training and Development Forum, held on 4-5 October in Nottingham, was a fantastic event. Myself, Adrian Silaghi (Head of Catering at Princess Christian Care Home) and Stuart Knell (Head of Catering at Abbotsleigh Care Home) were able to network and learn […]

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Nellsar attend NACC Training and Development Forum

The National Association of Care Catering (NACC) Training and Development Forum, held on 4-5 October in Nottingham, was a fantastic event. Myself, Adrian Silaghi (Head of Catering at Princess Christian Care Home) and Stuart Knell (Head of Catering at Abbotsleigh Care Home) were able to network and learn from the best in the industry. The day exhibited the most current trends and techniques in catering and nutrition within the care industry.

To open the day we heard from the NACC Chairman Neel Radia. We also welcomed Baroness Barker as the new NACC patron and had the pleasure of hearing her speak with passion about the hurdles and challenges we all face in care catering and the importance of all working together to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the country.

We had the opportunity to speak with leading industry suppliers and sample their work. Cooking demonstrations ran throughout the day showing a variety of techniques we can all be using to produce beautifully presented meals and snacks for those on a dysphagia diet.

The workshops that were particularly useful included:

Dr Ben Hansen, Associate Professor, University College London
Ben ran a workshop on the new IDDSI (International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative) global standards. The new standardised descriptors are due to role out in April 2019. The new testing methods and descriptors will allow for consistent production and easy testing of thickened liquids and texture modified foods. Up until now the methods have been very unclear and it has been left to a subjective opinion of what constitutes a ‘syrup’ or ‘custard’ consistency, or what ‘fork mashable’ means. The new standards will be clear and not left up to individual opinion.

Sophie Murray, Head of Nutrition and Hydration, Senior Sunrise Living
Sophie spoke about optimum nutrition and hydration within a care setting and ways of reaching this. The main points she raised were:

  • The importance of resident-led menus and working from a robust menu planning framework.
  • The crucial role of protein in repair, immunity and digestion.
  • Texture modified options – always available and nutrient rich.
  • Vitamin D – How to increase availability within a care setting and the importance of vitamin D in bone health and immunity.
  • Fibre – Meeting required levels and the routes to take to do this and why.
  • Hydration – The importance of staff training and understanding. How to increase fluid intake in the elderly.

Jo Bonser, Managing Director, Health Care Services UK
Jo is passionate about the ‘Dining experience’ and the importance of the right setting enhancing the health and wellbeing of people living with Dementia. Jo shares her knowledge and experience to promote best practice and innovative fit-for-purpose product solutions, which support the safety, dignity and independence of ladies and gentlemen living in care homes.

Nellsar is becoming known as a group who are embracing the evolution of the care catering industry.  We are actively working as a dynamic team to improve standards across our Homes and shine a light on the importance of this element across the company – and Leni, Adrian and Stuart are delighted to be individual members of the Association. Thanks to the NACC we are able to reach higher standards with clear guidelines and support from the wider care catering community.

 

 

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