We’ve all experienced it. That urge to wrap up in a blanket and eat nothing but heartwarming stews and soups when the darker nights draw in. Autumn brings with it the opportunity to consume energy-rich food and enjoy seasonal root vegetables that bring so much warmth and comfort. There’s also a nutritional benefit to this type of dietary change, especially for the elderly.
These feel good autumnal foods have both physical and emotional benefits, which is why we try to pack in as much of this seasonal food as we can at The Beeches.
Why is autumnal food comforting?
We all have our own thoughts and ideas about why food can be comforting. We know that for many of our residents, foods such as stews and pies evoke fond memories of their childhood and younger years. Things they cooked and enjoyed with their families.
For those living with dementia, food can be a positive talking point and can provide reassurance. The science behind this, is that when we taste something delicious our bodies release dopamine, the feel good hormone.
Comfort food also tends to be naturally high in fat, calories and carbohydrates, providing our residents with heaps of energy to keep them fit and healthy throughout the colder months.
Foods for good health
As the weather gets colder and wetter, and we rely on less sunlight, this calorie-packed food comes just at the right time. Whilst some residents enjoy this season and may get a burst of energy, others may struggle and suffer with negative seasonal moods.
Enjoying comforting foods can help to manage these moods, but also more importantly provide the energy needed to continue to remain physically or mentally active.
Fruits and vegetables contain plenty of nutrients that are essential for protecting our immunity, and provide an array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These help to prevent and fight off many winter illnesses such as the common cold. Interestingly, potatoes provide high levels of Vitamin C, potassium and fibre, and the pumpkin is a Vitamin A superfood!
I’m sure we all recall someone making us a bowl of soup when we have been ill or under the weather. They are warming, easy to digest and full of goodness. For our residents, soups are ideal for those who may be struggling to chew or have dietary restrictions.
We should not forget that they also provide an excellent way to rehydrate. Soup is one of the most hydrating fluids, and unless you are following a very low salt diet, most will contain sodium, known for its rehydrating qualities.
So whether it’s a larger, fulfilling bowl of soup with some bread at mealtime, or a quick cup of soup for a snack, your fluid intake is going to benefit.
Autumnal food at The Beeches Care Home
We strive to provide seasonal food for our residents, so the winter months definitely give us the opportunity to review our menus and ensure the meals we offer are tasty, healthy and homely.
The benefits are clear, and when we add into the mix autumnal spices, winter festivities (such as Halloween and Christmas) and cold weather puddings, it really is an exciting time to be preparing, cooking and serving this delicious food!
To find out more about our approach to care at The Beeches, visit our website or call 01359 230773.