Care charity Vegetarian for Life is marking Nutrition and Hydration Week by encouraging care providers to consider offering vegan options to residents requiring texture-modified meals.
Vegetarian for Life’s new Vegan Texture-Modified guide contains vegan recipes created to support people with swallowing difficulties.
Nutrition and Hydration Week runs from 13–19 March. Its purpose is to highlight and educate people on the value of food and drink in maintaining health and wellbeing in health and social care. A highlight of the week is a Global Tea Party, when participant organisations are invited to hold tea parties to show their commitment to nutritional care.
VfL hopes that its new guide will mean people needing a plant-based, allergen-free, textured-modified diet will still be able to enjoy and fully take part in such this and similar social events.
VfL roving chef Alex Connell said: “Food is not only is it important for good physical health but for mental wellbeing, too. Any hindrance to enjoyment can lead to social isolation and poor health.
“The good news is with a little thought, even people needing a textured-modified diet can enjoy and take part in any social event involving food. The trick is to follow the guidelines and get creative.
“The guide is aimed at any person that prepares food that requires texture modification. The recipes are all vegan, so obviously can be enjoyed by those following a vegan diet. However the recipes are familiar favourites that any person needing a texture-modified diet can enjoy.
“A person following a vegan or vegetarian diet may have done so for years and have deep philosophical reasons for doing so. As a carer it is your job to support those choices. This guide is a starting point for chefs and carers to be able to create delicious and nutritious meals.”
Justina Bajorinaitė, also a roving chef for VfL, said: “The new guide is a collection of vegan and vegetarian recipes, perfect for vegans, vegetarians, or those with egg or milk allergies, who need a texture-modified diet.
“And it’s not just useful for those catering for vegans. Chefs can use it to gain a better understanding of how to prepare vegetables correctly, maximising the colour and presentation of each dish.
“After a speech therapist’s assessment, you’ll know which textures are suitable for the individual that you’re catering for. Perhaps the person will be allowed to consume moistened biscuit – imagine a little like a layer in a tiramisu. Perhaps they may be able to enjoy a milkshake or a chocolate mousse. Do not assume that person ‘will be okay’. The food needs to be specifically prepared for this person to suit their IDDSI [International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative] level, including thickened tea or coffee.
“The recipe ideas were not easy to come up with, I must be honest! Not every dish is easy to make ‘dysphagia-friendly’ – particularly bread, pasta, or vegetables such as celery. We had to put our thinking caps on and carefully consider recipes that would be useful, suitable to make throughout the day, and most importantly, look presentable.”