Whether referred to as snacks, mini-meals or by any other name, stepping outside of the breakfast-lunch-dinner schedule is how people are eating – seniors included. In fact, current research shows that having easy access to snacks in a senior living community is important to over 80 percent of seniors. Residents are independent and want the freedom of access to snacks at their leisure. Senior living operations are responding by providing 24-hour snack carts; converting morning coffee shops to casual pubs with snacks in the evening, and enhancing their grab-and-go locations with more ready-to-eat small plates. Salad and soup combinations, fresh fruit smoothies and quiches are three light snack options one facility is serving up to seniors this year.
Here are some suggestions for Senior Living operations:
- Even if you can’t operate a 24-hour snack cart, having one for popular snacking times, like mid-morning or mid-afternoon, gives seniors the independence they need. Quiches are excellent to serve on a cart, as they are rich in protein, can be prepared in bulk and consumed across all dayparts. Entegra has supplier partners from which you can purchase carts.
- As a monthly treat, feature “sip stations” or “snack stations” in areas of your facility, so seniors can sample different snack foods and beverages like smoothies and soups. This is also a great way to break mealtime monotony with fresh options seniors might not have tried on your traditional menus.
- If space is a concern, look for ways to convert your existing room to allow for more snack foods. Perhaps you can convert your in-house restaurant or coffee shop to a small plates/snack shop in the evening; include more vending areas; or keep a snack kiosk inside your dining room for individuals who want to enjoy a lighter bite as opposed to a full meal.
Entegra Procurement Services regularly publishes blog posts on food trends and innovations in food services. Entegra is more than a group purchasing organization (GPO): Our team of procurement specialists implement strategic sourcing to bring the most value to your business. We help our clients, in many segments ranging from the healthcare supply chain to restaurant supply, to cut costs and consolidate their portfolios.