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Caterplus creates innovative grazing boxes for dementia residents in care homes

Following extensive research and a successful trial in care homes last year, Caterplus – the specialist care catering arm of leading contract caterer Elior UK – has rolled out its highly nutritious Grazing Boxes that enable dementia residents to eat what they like, when they like, 24 hours a day.

Comprising a four-week grazing menu of highly nutritious savoury and sweet handheld snacks that have been created by Caterplus’s development chefs and dietitian in collaboration with care homes, the Grazing Boxes are prepared with the very best ingredients and can be used either in place of, or in addition to traditional plated meals.

Laura Tighe, Managing Director, Caterplus said, “Not only do our Grazing Boxes encourage more regular eating, which prevents ‘sugar rushes’, but the ‘little and often’ approach also stimulates appetite and means residents are not overwhelmed by large portions of plated food that can often lead to food refusal and weight loss.

“We were delighted with the positive feedback we received after last year’s trial of the Grazing Boxes. Managers identified that residents were more engaged with food and that their independence had increased as they could eat by themselves and pick up the food from the platter when they wanted. In addition, residents were sleeping better due to the provision of night-time snacks and hot soups.”

The Grazing Boxes, which can be adapted to suit the needs of individual care homes, can be presented either as a sharing platter/buffet-style box or separately for individuals who may require specific modifications such as texture or even higher nutritional value as found in the recipes that are specially fortified with ingredients including cream, milk powder, syrups, honey and butter.

The Boxes typically contain items such as Mini Quiches, Pork Pies and Wraps, Fortified Soups, Banana Custard, Cheesecake and Flavoured Mousses.

Mandy Davies, Head of Dietetics and Nutrition, Elior, said, “Our dietitians and chefs have worked hard with care homes to ensure that these new Grazing Boxes not only reflect residents’ medical needs but also support the nutritional needs of residents when they are not able to eat typical meals such as lunch or dinner.

“Crucially, the Boxes can provide a 24-hour-a-day food offer, which is beneficial for residents with dementia who may have an altered sleeping pattern, or for those who are very mobile and prefer finger foods so they can eat on the go.”