Nellsar Care Homes Nutritional Therapy https://nutrition.nellsar.com Tue, 14 Apr 2020 12:51:21 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.1 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/favicon.png Nellsar Care Homes Nutritional Therapy https://nutrition.nellsar.com 32 32 Creating top quality puréed foods at Nellsar https://nutrition.nellsar.com/creating-top-quality-pureed-foods-at-nellsar/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/creating-top-quality-pureed-foods-at-nellsar/#respond Tue, 14 Apr 2020 12:51:21 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=221040 Enhancing a purée diet with fortification, flavour and appearance 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. To ensure all our residents receive a range of well-balanced and tasty […]

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Enhancing a purée diet with fortification, flavour and appearance

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.

To ensure all our residents receive a range of well-balanced and tasty meals, our Head of Catering Services, Adrian Silaghi, constantly strives for new ways to fortify the puréed foods we serve our residents. Adrian and our team of Chefs pay special attention to making sure the meals retain their visual appeal and tempting flavours in a variety of ways:

High calorie ingredients: Instead of using water to dilute our blended food, we use high calorie, flavoursome ingredients such as full fat milk or cream, milk fortified with milk powder, melted butter, oil, sugars, honey, syrup, juice, gravy and other sauces.

Strong flavours: Foods with distinct flavours often encourage our residents to enjoy their food more. We enhance certain foods with extra flavours such as cinnamon in porridge, parmesan and stilton rather than cheddar, mild curry, chilli and sweet and sour sauce. We also use herbs including thyme, sage, tarragon, oregano, basil, garlic.

Natural colouring: To enhance the appearance of puréed food, we often brighten its colour using foods such as carrots, spinach, beetroot, tomato purée, blackcurrants or blackberries.

Cooking methods: We always cook our foods using the best possible method to bring out the optimum flavour and texture in everything we serve to our residents. For example, poaching and simmering will soften ingredients, but browning and roasting will develop better flavour.

Contact Adrian.Silaghi@Nellsar.com for more information.

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Catering Services Update from Adrian Silaghi, Head of Catering Services for Nellsar Limited https://nutrition.nellsar.com/catering-services-update-from-adrian-silaghi-head-of-catering-services-for-nellsar-limited/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/catering-services-update-from-adrian-silaghi-head-of-catering-services-for-nellsar-limited/#respond Thu, 02 Apr 2020 10:43:42 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=221034 In order to keep our residents’ loved ones informed and assured, we recently sent a letter to all of our families detailing the Catering measures we are taking in the provision of nutrition and hydration in our Nellsar Homes. Read on for more details on the measures we are taking: • Emergency menus: In the […]

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In order to keep our residents’ loved ones informed and assured, we recently sent a letter to all of our families detailing the Catering measures we are taking in the provision of nutrition and hydration in our Nellsar Homes.

Read on for more details on the measures we are taking:

• Emergency menus: In the extremely unlikely event of very limited stock being available to our Homes we have an emergency menu prepared.

• Emergency stock: We have compiled emergency food stock to cover any potential food shortage(s) or delayed deliveries.

• Staff contingency plans: We have written a plan detailing who would cover any potential staff shortages, and the types of training those people would need in terms of: menus, food safety, hygiene, modified food textures, kitchen resources, individuals’ needs – medical allergies, diabetes, fortification, reduced calorie diets, sodium restricted diets, digestive problems or cultural.

• High levels of essential foods: We are well-equipped with a wide variety of – and alternatives for – starchy foods, high protein foods, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. We also plan to bake our own bread in-house, and we can make our own yoghurt with a new technology (yogurt is a great source of vitamin D which regulates the immune system).

• Lines of communication: We keep in touch with all local suppliers on a regular basis – from fruits and vegetables, to dairy produce, and fresh meat and fish from the butcher – we maintain great relationships and they never let us down. Each supplier assures us they will give plenty of notice if they foresee any potential problems with supply.

• Continuing to offer a balanced diet: We offer residents and staff fresh home-made lemonade (it is high in vitamin C which helps white cells to fight against infections); ginger (which can help reduce sore throat sand other inflammatory illnesses), garlic (it contains valuable nutrients and immune-boosting properties from allicin); red pepper (which contains plenty of C vitamin which helps the body absorb iron); broccoli (it is high in antioxidants vitamins A, C and E); almonds (they contain vitamin E which is key to a healthy immune system); and fruit salads – general foods that boost our immune system.

Adrian Silaghi
Head of Catering Services for Nellsar Limited.

Click here to read the letter sent to our residents’ families.

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Nellsar Nutritional Therapy Plans for 2020 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/nellsar-nutritional-therapy-plans-for-2020/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/nellsar-nutritional-therapy-plans-for-2020/#respond Mon, 27 Jan 2020 13:28:18 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=221016 Big plans ahead for the year… 2020 is looking like an exciting year for Nellsar, and our work to improve Nutrition and Hydration provisions for our 13 Homes continues. Last year saw the success of our Chef Masterclass which bonded our Chefs from across the company with an informative and innovative workshop. Masterclasses This year, […]

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Big plans ahead for the year…

2020 is looking like an exciting year for Nellsar, and our work to improve Nutrition and Hydration provisions for our 13 Homes continues.

Last year saw the success of our Chef Masterclass which bonded our Chefs from across the company with an informative and innovative workshop.

Masterclasses

This year, the wheels are already in motion to expand on our Masterclasses and we will be offering them to our dining teams, with a focus on the most appropriate dining experience and dining environments for those living with Dementia. We know that there isn’t a specific one-fits-all diet for people living with cognitive illness. However, we do know that environment and interaction are paramount to whether a person with Dementia feels comfortable enough and supported enough to sit and eat.

Adrian Silaghi, Nellsar’s Head of Catering, and I are teaming up in a wider capacity. Adrian’s primary care home is Princess Christian in Woking, Surrey. Their recent CQC Inspection earned them an ‘Outstanding’ rating overall and Adrian’s skill and the efforts of his team played a significant part in this fantastic achievement.

We are now looking at how we can drive improvements though the rest of Nellsar with innovative ideas, workshops and tailor-made coaching to fit each individual Home and the people living and working in them.

There are some exciting things in the pipeline…

  • Katja, Our Nutrition and Dining Champion at Lulworth House Residential Home, will be attending the CQC Compliance for Nutrition and Hydration Conference in London on the 6 February. Adrian and I will be attending with Katja, as will the Nutrition Champion and Cook from Princess Christian Care Home.
  • Vegetarian for Life – the leading authority on diet and healthy living advice for older vegans and vegetarians – are booked to visit our Nellsar Homes throughout this year, starting with Bromley Park Care Home in the spring. They will provide coaching and training for our Chefs and care staff on what it means to be an elderly vegetarian or vegan in Care, and how we can best support them.
  • Our Nellsar Learning Hub trainers will continue to train staff in Nutrition and Hydration in Care. This continues to be developed and is such a positive in-house resource, providing training across the board (eg in moving and handling, infection control) as well as focused catering training in areas such as food safety.

Now you have had a sneak peek at some of what is in store; I look forward to sharing more as Nutrition and Hydration in Nellsar evolves over the next 12 months. Watch this space!

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Nostalgic seasonal treats https://nutrition.nellsar.com/nostalgic-seasonal-treats/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/nostalgic-seasonal-treats/#respond Mon, 02 Dec 2019 10:35:44 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=221005 As we approach the darkest night, we see decorations begin to go up and fairy lights shining away making the dark cold evenings feel cosy and full of magic. It is a busy time in our Homes and the run up to Christmas brings a buzz of activity; you will begin to see choirs, Christmas […]

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As we approach the darkest night, we see decorations begin to go up and fairy lights shining away making the dark cold evenings feel cosy and full of magic. It is a busy time in our Homes and the run up to Christmas brings a buzz of activity; you will begin to see choirs, Christmas fairs and staff dressed as elves popping up all over the place!

Festive food has all been arranged and the early ordering and organisation is all in place. Food at Christmas is at the heart of the festivities – it is the thing that brings us all together. Whether it be a cuppa over a mince pie, or a meal at a table with loved ones, it will be made special with something indulgently warming to eat and drink.

When thinking of those living in our Nellsar Homes, we consider the different times people have lived through and the various diets we strive to cater for.

Some of our residents would have lived through the second world war and remember their mothers and grandmothers baking with the very basic ingredients a ration book would allow. Christmas would have been a time when people baked something special; wartime short breads for example.

Wartime Scotch shortbread recipe

Melt 4oz margarine, add 8oz plain flour and 2oz sugar, mix well and knead until the mixture binds together.

If it is a little dry, crumble it again and add a splash of milk and re-knead. Put in an un-greased baking tin and press the mixture down firmly so it is about 1/2 inch thick.

Prick the surface and then cut into 10-12 portions.

Bake in centre of moderate oven for 30+ minutes.

Remove, sprinkle lightly with sugar and serve.

Wartime Christmas Cake

This wartime recipe for a Christmas cake is made with ingredients which might have been saved over the weeks leading up to Christmas day.

Ingredients

  • 10oz whole wheat flour
  • 2oz seedless raisins or sultanas
  • 4oz chopped seeded raisins or dates
  • 4 oz cooking fat
  • 4 oz sugar
  • 2 large tablespoons black treacle
  • teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • cup milk
  • teaspoon almond essence
  • teaspoon ground ginger

Method

Rub fat into flour, add all dry ingredients except soda, and mix well.

Dissolve soda in milk, add treacle to dry ingredients and then milk and soda and almond essence, and beat all together thoroughly.

Line a baking tin with greased paper, place mixture in and cook in very slow oven for 2½ hours.

1940s Christmas Cake recipe

References

Shortbread recipe
Wartime Christmas Cake recipe
Cake image

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Nellsar Chef Masterclass – sharing care catering knowledge and skills https://nutrition.nellsar.com/nellsar-chef-masterclass-sharing-care-catering-knowledge-and-skills/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/nellsar-chef-masterclass-sharing-care-catering-knowledge-and-skills/#respond Tue, 05 Nov 2019 13:06:14 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=215091 Last year saw the first Nellsar Chef Masterclass, held at Hengist Field Care Home. Cooks from our 13 Homes came to the workshop which gave them the opportunity to spend time together and share ideas. We also gave demonstrations on puréed meal presentation. This year we held the first of our 2019 masterclasses at Hengist […]

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Last year saw the first Nellsar Chef Masterclass, held at Hengist Field Care Home. Cooks from our 13 Homes came to the workshop which gave them the opportunity to spend time together and share ideas. We also gave demonstrations on puréed meal presentation.

This year we held the first of our 2019 masterclasses at Hengist Field on Thursday 24th October. Once again, we came together to meet and support one another. The job of a Care Caterer is highly skilled and demands expert knowledge in their field. Our masterclasses are designed to support and coach our cooks to help develop their knowledge.

In this workshop, I discussed in detail the complex needs of the people we are catering for and how to structure and menu plan around these. I covered topics including:

Type 1 & 2 Diabetes – What the differences are and how the kitchen can best cater for and menu plan to the needs of someone who is diabetic.

Dementia – Looking at the impact living with Dementia can have on a person and how we can best support them.

High fibre diets – What foods can be included into a meal to ensure enough fibre is present.

High calorie needs – When a person seems to be losing weight, how we can begin to fortify their meals. We looked at the best way of doing this and how to make it work on an individual basis.

Vegetarian & vegan diets – Looking at menu options and how to ensure balance and variety when menu planning.

We also looked at allergies, as well as macro and micronutrients.

During the second half of the masterclass Head of Care Catering, Adrian Silaghi spoke about the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation and texture modified diets from a chef’s perspective. We also looked at flavours and presentation during his session.

We had great feedback from the masterclass and everybody agreed that they would like the opportunity to get together more often to share knowledge and new techniques.

It is also an opportunity for us to say a BIG thank you to the Nellsar catering teams – keep up your great work!

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An interview with Princess Christian Head Chef, Adrian Silaghi https://nutrition.nellsar.com/an-interview-with-princess-christian-head-chef-adrian-silaghi/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/an-interview-with-princess-christian-head-chef-adrian-silaghi/#respond Wed, 18 Sep 2019 11:04:06 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=215036 How did you get into catering and what inspired you? I joined catering in 2010, wanting to challenge myself and to do something totally new. I didn’t know it was such a complex job, but I’d always admired those who were doing it and I really wanted to get myself in their shoes. I was […]

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How did you get into catering and what inspired you?

I joined catering in 2010, wanting to challenge myself and to do something totally new. I didn’t know it was such a complex job, but I’d always admired those who were doing it and I really wanted to get myself in their shoes. I was surprised to discover a fascinating world, where Ramona, one of my mentors once said ‘The sky is the limit!’

How would you describe your team and what are the best aspects of your role?

My colleagues are great and I am lucky to work with an ambitious team. Because we sometimes spend more time at work than at home, we try to maintain a good mood and enjoy our work every day; this isn’t difficult to achieve when you have passion for your job. The reward for my work behind-the-scenes are those magical moments when I meet smiling residents, family members or guests who share their appreciation and joy for my food and thank me for contributing to a better quality of life.

Princess Christian kitchen team

What do you enjoy about care catering?

The Care Catering sector is a special one; the main difference to other sectors is that you really have to open your heart to the people you’re cooking for.

What special qualities do you need to be a Chef in your Nellsar Home?

Besides the formal qualifications, I consider empathy needs to be an essential quality as a starting point. Until you put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can’t have a reflective attitude towards your work which will make you perform at your best.

How do you work with residents to ensure they enjoy the best possible dining experience?

Human nature is extremely complex where variables are changing and this is why we are developing a working system in which each individual’s requirements are satisfied. We offer a variety of choices in terms of main courses of the day, modified food texture diets, desserts and drinks.

Princess Christian Chef Adrian's fish dish

What are your most popular lunches and desserts?

Our range of pies is very popular – steak and kidney, shepherd’s, cottage, chicken, fish, cheese and tomato and liver and bacon. Cauliflower cheese also goes down very well, as does fish and chips on Fridays….and roast dinners on Sundays of course! Trifles and fruit crumbles are our most popular desserts.

What do you most enjoy making? Do you have favourite ingredients and flavours?

I love to be creative but there are some limits and boundaries to consider when it comes to a Chef’s favourite flavours; taste buds have a certain education in time, and they have some expectations. If a Chef over steps those limits (trying to impress his guests!) he can ruin all those expectations and lose his reputation.

A dish must be simple, tasty and appealing. My personal concept about a dish is that it must be alive, colourful and have at least one raw element, even if it is simply the garnish.

Princess Christian Chef Adrian's date dessert

What type of feedback do you get from your residents?

Residents are so polite, gentle and they love to surprise you, in a nice way! I have received some wonderful feedback in different formats – electronically, letters, verbal, on small pieces of papers and even napkins! I keep all of them proudly as they are precious and give me energy, strength and fuel to continue my mission.

How do you work with seasonal ingredients to keep your menus interesting and varied?

Eating fresh fruits and vegetables in their season is beneficial for us because they contain the nutrients, minerals and trace elements that our bodies need at particular times of the year, so we ensure we use plenty in our cooking.

Do you source a lot of your ingredients locally?

Our butcher and fruit and vegetable suppliers are local. I am so happy to work with them and we have built up a very good relationship as part of the community. They provide fresh and great quality produce and they all have a customer-oriented policy, so they are always there for you.

What type of special diets do you cater for and what skills do you need for this?

Care Catering is a special discipline and different to commercial cooking, where you can provide certain social, cultural or psychological needs and impress your guests with your signature food. In a care setting, you are challenged with all those aspects, but need to take into account residents’ physical needs and be mindful of safety concerns, where knowledge of nutrition and hydration is very important.

How have you worked with Leni to develop the nutritional aspects of your catering?

Nutritional Therapist Leni and I work together very well. We have different qualifications and different roles, but we complete each other and we make a perfect team aiming to achieve the same goals. We are in that stage of our work where we are focusing on individual special needs, in terms of nutrition and hydration.

Nellsar's Adrian Silaghi and Leni Wood

What’s new in Care Catering? Are there any new skills you would like to learn?

As a National Association on Care Catering member, I have the chance to attend all national events regarding Care Catering and to be updated with all the latest news and developments. I bring this knowledge back to discuss with our extended management team and make action plans as a result.

At the moment, I’m carrying out research on modified food texture presentation, working closely with Leni and different specialists including speech and language therapists, environmental health officers and food technology suppliers, as well as our residents and family members. This is going well and we have recently created an Instagram page for puréed diets, which you can follow at: ‘welovepuree’.

Princess Christian pureed dessert

Are there any new dishes that you’re working on?

I am now happy to offer a completely puréed menu, starting with puréed cooked full English breakfast, continuing with a choice of main meals of the day (lunch, supper and desserts), puréed biscuits and cakes, and ending with puréed fresh fruits for a balanced diet.

Pureed full English breakfast

 

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The wonder of berries https://nutrition.nellsar.com/the-wonder-of-berries/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/the-wonder-of-berries/#respond Tue, 10 Sep 2019 11:17:12 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=215030 There has been an abundance of berries over the summer and they are continuing to pop up. Blackberries have been showing themselves more and more recently. They are such powerhouses of nutrients and are easily found in the wild, which makes them easy pickings! Berries aren’t only good for jams, tarts and puddings, they are full […]

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There has been an abundance of berries over the summer and they are continuing to pop up. Blackberries have been showing themselves more and more recently. They are such powerhouses of nutrients and are easily found in the wild, which makes them easy pickings! Berries aren’t only good for jams, tarts and puddings, they are full of healing power so to adding them into your day would be a tasty and healthful thing to do.

What’s in a berry?

So, what makes berries so special? Berries are full of a compound known as ellagic acid. Ellagic acid is believed to help prevent cellular change which can lead to pathologies such as cancer. Strawberries and blackberries having the highest content of this powerful antioxidant. A potent antioxidant such as this can reduce damage caused by free radicals (harmful oxygen molecules which can damage healthy cells and potentially start a cancerous process).

Berries are also high in vitamin C – one of the most powerful antioxidants which may help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and infections. Half a cup of strawberries has 42 milligrams, which is 70% of our recommended dietary allowance!  To get the most vitamin C from your fruits eat them fresh, as cooking can destroy much of the vitamin C levels.

Fresh and frozen

When shopping for berries I like to buy a mixture of fresh and frozen. Strawberries I always buy fresh and my blueberries and other berries I tend to buy frozen; I throw them in the blender and have a berry smoothie each day. When buying them fresh, make sure that the colour is bright and bold and there is no water or juice in the bottom of the box.

My frozen blueberry smoothie recipe

  • 250gms frozen blueberries. If you prefer it less cold, leave the berries out to defrost or use fresh.
  • ½ pint coconut milk. You can use a milk of your choice. If making the smoothie for someone who needs to boost calories then add coconut cream or oat cream fraiche for dairy free, or cream and full fat milk for dairy based.
  • If you like a bit of extra sweetness add half a banana.

Simple but effective!

 

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Creative ways of keeping hydrated https://nutrition.nellsar.com/creative-ways-of-keeping-hydrated/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/creative-ways-of-keeping-hydrated/#respond Thu, 05 Sep 2019 12:24:19 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=215024 70% of our body is made of water, so it is easy to understand the importance of staying hydrated and keeping ourselves topped up on the fluids we lose throughout the day. Around 300- 500 mls per-day is expelled just through breathing alone!    Encouraging hydration There are many people who, as they become older, […]

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70% of our body is made of water, so it is easy to understand the importance of staying hydrated and keeping ourselves topped up on the fluids we lose throughout the day. Around 300- 500 mls per-day is expelled just through breathing alone!   

Encouraging hydration

There are many people who, as they become older, become less interested in drinking adequate amounts. It is sometimes especially difficult to encourage those with Alzheimer’s to drink enough throughout the day as they might simply forget that they need to drink. If faced with this issue we can think outside the box and get creative in the way we offer fluids.

Hydrating foods

Foods are important when considering hydration. There are many hydrating foods – fruits and vegetables being the most hydrating.

Making fresh fruit platters and offering them around is a great idea, or plates of cucumber, tomato and cheese are fresh and hydrating snacks.

There are also effective and fun activities which could also encourage an increased fluid intake:

  • Making a small bar area and serving a variety of mocktails is a fun way of offering drinks
  • Having a garden party and inviting people to come outside to enjoy a cold drink and a social gathering
  • Experimenting with different glasses and beverages to see if some glasses are easier to drink from than others
  • Making fruit kebabs is a lovely activity to get people involved with trying fruits, and maybe experimenting with some they haven’t tried for a while
  • Reminiscing about different foods and drinks can bring back strong memories and encourage extra hydration; flavours such as dandelion and burdock, cream soda or homemade lemonade
  • Tasting sessions can be an effective way of ‘getting more sips into the day’. Making a tray up of shot glasses containing various flavoured drinks and offering them as a taster can be a sociable, inclusive and hydrating activity.

The Hydrate in Care Homes Project has put together a fantastic A-Z of Hydration Activities full of great ideas to keep hydration at the top of the agenda.

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Homemade Lemonade https://nutrition.nellsar.com/homemade-lemonade/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/homemade-lemonade/#respond Tue, 06 Aug 2019 07:37:53 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=215017 In this hot weather, who doesn’t love a cold refreshing beverage? A favourite around Nellsar Care Homes is lemonade! So refreshing, cool and flavourful. Here is the perfect home recipe for a cool, freshly squeezed lemon drink. This makes 1 litre: 3 unwaxed lemons, roughly chopped 25 to 50grams caster sugar (depending on sweetness preferred) […]

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In this hot weather, who doesn’t love a cold refreshing beverage? A favourite around Nellsar Care Homes is lemonade! So refreshing, cool and flavourful.

Here is the perfect home recipe for a cool, freshly squeezed lemon drink. This makes 1 litre:

  • 3 unwaxed lemons, roughly chopped
  • 25 to 50grams caster sugar (depending on sweetness preferred)
  • 1 litre cold water

Method

  • Blend the lemons, sugar and half the water in a food processor until the lemon is finely chopped
  • Pour the mixture into a sieve over a bowl, then press through as much juice as you can
  • Top up with the remaining water and serve with plain ice or frozen with slices of lemon and lime
  • You can even add in some mint for extra flavour.

This is lemonade with no fizz – the old fashioned way! If you would like a fizz, then use sparkling water.

Enjoy!

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A celebration of chocolate https://nutrition.nellsar.com/a-celebration-of-chocolate/ https://nutrition.nellsar.com/a-celebration-of-chocolate/#respond Wed, 10 Jul 2019 12:33:20 +0000 https://nutrition.nellsar.com/?p=214994 The 7th July marked World Chocolate Day. It is unusual to come across a person who doesn’t like chocolate in one form or another – milk, dark, mousse, cake, ice-cream, shake, hot chocolate, chocolate covered nuts, dairy free, sugar free, the list is endless! My personal favourite is dark chocolate; I love that it has […]

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The 7th July marked World Chocolate Day. It is unusual to come across a person who doesn’t like chocolate in one form or another – milk, dark, mousse, cake, ice-cream, shake, hot chocolate, chocolate covered nuts, dairy free, sugar free, the list is endless! My personal favourite is dark chocolate; I love that it has health benefits as well as giving me a chocolate fix.

Bitter, sweet and more valuable than gold?

The cocoa bean was first documented to have been used by the Mayans. Cocoa was so highly regarded its value was worth more than gold and used as currency to trade. Chocolate was first introduced to the UK in the 1600s where the aristocracy first enjoyed it – mixing it with sugar to make it sweet, in contrast to the Mayans who would use it as a bitter drink mixed with spices, deeming it as a gift from the gods and a powerful aphrodisiac.

The Mayans knew how potent the properties of the cocoa bean were and luckily that knowledge hasn’t been lost. In fact, the health benefits of chocolate are still being utilised to this day.

Is chocolate good for us?

So why is chocolate so good for us and can we eat any type of chocolate to add in a bit of tasty (healthy) indulgence to our day?

Cocoa is the raw element to any chocolate product and the ingredient that holds all the magic! The less cocoa and the more sugar a piece of chocolate contains, the more diluted the health benefits. So, sadly, reaching for that Cadburys dairy milk or chocolate ice-cream isn’t going to be providing us with any more health benefits than a few teaspoons of sugar will.

Using a raw cocoa powder to make hot chocolate or homemade chocolate treats is the best way of obtaining the best from it. If you can’t make your own, then buying dark chocolate which is over 70% cocoa will be the right choice when considering the most beneficial chocolate option!

Cocoa contains polyphenols which are naturally occurring antioxidants and have been linked to many health benefits such as reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, lowering blood pressure, mood boost and improved brain health.

Cocoa is also a good source of minerals such as magnesium, copper and iron – helping to support the body’s energy production and overall well-being.

In celebration of the healthful use of chocolate in a cool summer treat, here is the recipe for a ‘Raw Chocolate Milkshake Miracle’ – a recipe put together by the chef and naturopath Sarah Britton, who comments;

“This recipe really does taste brownie-tastic, yet contains no unhealthy or processed ingredients, just pure plant goodness and raw cacao. Loaded with antioxidants and healthy essential omega and polyunsaturated fatty acids, this smoothie will have you singing and dancing and ready to take on your day!”

Raw Chocolate Milkshake Miracle

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup hemp seeds (or use soaked almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds etc)
  • 2 heaping tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 very large frozen banana (or 2 small)
  • 2 tbsp raw honey, agave, or maple syrup
  • Dash of sea salt
  • ¾ – 1 cup water
  • 4 ice cubes


Instructions

  • Blend all the ingredients together; add water to thin if desired. It’s a thick one, folks!
  • Although the urge to chug may take over, don’t forget to ‘chew’ your milkshake for better digestion! Very important.

Source: http://rawfoodrecipes.com

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