Dish!Blog logo

7 Tips for Liberalizing Diets in Senior Living

Chris Timmons
Chris Timmons | September 16, 2014


Food is a vital element in the whole concept of “Quality of Life.” Quality is noticeable, but it must also be flexible. In your senior living diets, it is important to remember that everyone brings their own beliefs about what “quality” is to the table. A person’s “quality belief” is based on years of habits and family traditions, and it will not in most cases be based on a diet excessively restricted in salt, fat or carbohydrate.

1. A diet that is moderate in salt, fat and carbohydrate will meet the needs and “quality belief” of most individuals. Therefore, individuals will be less likely to have poor intake that can lead to weight loss and a variety of poor health issues. This type of diet can be your regular house diet.

2. Set your regular house diet sodium levels at 3-4 grams per day and carbohydrate levels at 250-300 grams per day. 

3. Make sugar free syrup and jelly available upon request. This enables individuals to reduce their carbohydrate level further, if desired. 

4. Offer small and large portion versions of the regular house diet. The portions should be set in policy so there is a consistent presentation. For example, reduce #8 mashed potatoes to #16 for small portions and increase to #6 for large portions. 

5. Texture modifications may most likely be accommodated using ground meat with your regular house diet and creating a mechanical diet that uses the ground meat and then replaces difficult to chew foods with softer offerings (i.e. creamed corn instead of whole kernel corn, peaches instead of pineapple, applesauce or cooked apple slices instead of fresh apple wedges).

6. If a puree diet is needed, investigate the wide variety of techniques available to create a plate that looks much like a regular diet. Eye appeal is important with this diet. It is hard for people’s appetite to be stimulated by three “balls” of food on their plate. 

7. Keep your medical director and others ordering diets informed about your liberalized diet program.  A letter with your policy and details on the diets would be helpful.


Liberalizing Diet Webinar


Questions or comments about this article? Feel free to contact us!


SideDish! for Martin Bros. Customers

SideDish! is delivered to your inbox every month and gives you access to tips and trends to make your business more efficient and profitable throughout the entire year. You'll learn from the experts specific to your industry including, healthcare, medical supplies, restaurant supply, janitorial supply, large kitchen equipment, restaurant marketing and more!

Become a Customer