Articles and Information from GA Foods

Home-Delivered Meals - Safely Delivered!

Posted by Mary O'Hara on May 4, 2017 9:34:09 AM

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As a caregiver, you have many things to worry about. Food safety shouldn’t be one of them. When choosing a home-delivered meal provider, food safety and quality should be top priorities Selecting a provider that uses extensive food preparation safety procedures with a safe delivery model will provide peace of mind. 

Cold-Chain-Infographic_FINAL.jpgDon't Break the Chain

The “cold chain” process is one of the most effective and reliable methods of assuring food safety. This process ensures that food is maintained at temperatures that prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can make you sick.  

The cold chain process transports perishable foods without using harmful preservatives and additives. This continuous cold chain ensures seniors will receive safe and healthy meals.

Here are some questions to ask when comparing home-delivered meal providers:

  • Is the food prepared fresh in an USDA-inspected facility?
  • Are the meals flash frozen to -19° F?
  • Is the food maintained in a cold storage at -10° F until delivery?
  • Is the food delivered to homes in specially-designed freezer trucks?
  • Do they have specially-trained drivers unpack meals and store them in freezer until ready to eat?

In-Home Meal Delivery

Some meal providers use third-party carriers, while others use their own employees. According to Consumer Reports, the number one complaint Americans had about meal delivery services was food that arrived spoiled, melted, or inedible.  When exploring home-delivery options, you may want to think about who will be making the delivery:

Here are some things to look for:

  • Drivers who wear uniforms and ID badges to readily identify themselves.
  • Drivers that undergo extensive background checks.
  • Delivery people who perform basic in-home observations. Some are trained and will alert case managers if they observe any unusual or life-threatening situations.
  • Frozen meals should never be left at the door. A reliable company will make arrangements to redeliver the food at a more convenient time. 

 GA Foods has been providing nutrition to seniors for over 40 years. They maintain control of the entire food preparation and delivery process. This further ensures the quality and safety of the food, and provides additional assurance to caregivers and families. You may also want to ask if the meals are suitable for diabetics and those with heart conditions. Meals that are low in sodium, sugar, and fat are best.

Nutrition care, in the form of home-delivered meals, helps older adults live more independently. Seniors will appreciate receiving nutritious meals delivered right to their home by a familiar and friendly face!

Download this eBook to learn more about how to choose a home-delivered meal provider. 

 Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

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Topics: Nutrition, Home Delivered Meals, The Cold Chain, Food Safety, Caregivers, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Senior Nutrition

Reducing Child Hunger with Summer Food Service Programs

Posted by Jessica Fleigle on Apr 13, 2017 10:10:26 AM

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Millions of low-income children will lose access to breakfasts, lunches, and snacks during the summer when school is not in session. According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), only 1 in 6 low-income children who ate school lunch during the 2014-2015 school year were reached by Summer Nutrition Programs in July 2015.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded, state-administered program that provides nutritious meals to children in low-income areas during the months when school is not in session. SFSP serves free meals to children and teens ages 18 and younger. 

It is one of the most underutilized government programs. According to FRAC, for every lunch that an eligible child does not receive, states and communities miss out on more than $3.50 per child in federal SFSP funding. That can mean hundreds of millions of unused dollars and five million or more unfed children. 


SFSP Promotion Strategies
 

It is important to promote the Summer Food Service Program in your area in order to maximize the number of children served. We’ve created some strategies that will help you to inform and excite your community. 

  • Gather a group of volunteers and coordinate blitz days to raise awareness and go into the community to educate people about the program. Word of mouth from concerned parents in the community is a great way to inform people of the SFSP in your area. Local high school sports teams are also great volunteers. If high school students support and participate in the program, the younger children may be more inclined to participate as well. 

  • Create informational flyers and distribute them to parents and children during the last week of school. Many times parents are unaware that this program is available at no cost. Have volunteers distribute the flyers to parents who are picking their children up from school and have teachers distribute the flyers to students to share with their parents. 

  • Send a press release to local newspapers and media. Press releases are a great way to reach multiple audiences. Sharing your newsworthy Summer Food Service Program story with local newspapers, radio stations, magazines, and television stations is a great way to generate buzz about your program.  

  • Make your site stand out by serving meals on weekends. Funding is provided for meals served at eligible sites on anyday of the week. Most summer programs only offer meals Monday through Friday, so offering meals on weekends would make your SFSP stand out. Consider advertising weekends as family days and allow parents to participate in the activities

  • Schedule a neighborhood kick-off party to generate interest in the launch of the program. Children are more likely to participate in your SFSP if their friends are participating. Adversiting the first day of SFSP meals as a summer kick-off party will  entice more people to attend.

  • Have a bring-a-buddy day. Word of mouth is a great way to involve more children. Notify the children of upcoming "buddy days" where they are encouraged to bring a friend. Offer prizes or some sort of incentive to those who actually bring a friend. Once the friends attend, encourage them to return. 

Marketing the Summer Food Service Programs in your area can be time consuming, so we created a customizable press release and flyer, as well as a tip sheet for parents/guardians. To download these marketing materials, click here.


SFSP Success Stories

Successful Summer Food Service Program expansion involves intense planning and coordination efforts from the community. We’ve put together a couple success stories from other summer programs. These are excellent examples of using promotional strategies to help increase child participation.

  • Break for a Plate in Alabama is a successful multimedia campaign. The Alabama Department of Education partnered with a design firm to develop a website, logos, advertisements, billboards, yard signs, and other marketing materials. The Break for a Plate campaign significantly increased sites, sponsors, and child participation in Alabama. What you can do: Just like the Break for a Plate campaign, you can use marketing materials to promote your summer program. Creating a unified theme across all marketing platforms made Alabama's campaign successful and memorable. Try to make your marketing materials look unified so that people can easily recognize them. Utilize multiple media forms to spread the word, including handing out flyers outside schools and grocery stores, creating yard signs and placing them throughout the community, and forming partnerships with the local media. 

  • Browning, Montana uses a food truck with oversized pictures of fruits and vegetables on the outside along with the tagline "Kids Eat Here Free". Music blasts from the speakers sitting on the cab of the truck so children know that healthy meals have arrived. An awning and picnic tables fold out from one side of the truck. Incorporating a food truck that made multiple stops improved the child turnout in Browning. Before the mobile feeding model, children had to cross many busy streets to get to summer program sites, which their parents felt uncomfortable with or did not allow. What you can do: If you are located in a rural, urban, or suburban area, the mobile feeding model may work best for you. It eliminates the stress of children crossing busy streets, while providing them with healthy meals. Schedule a community meeting and discuss this option with parents in the area. It takes some planning to get the mobile feeding model up and running, but once everything is in place, the amount of children fed will increase. Try to incorporate music on your truck as this generates excitement (think ice-cream truck!). 


SFSP Meals

Sponsors may prepare their own meals, purchase meals through an agreement with an area school, or partner with a vendor. Sponsors will only be reimbursed if the meals they are serving meet federal nutritional guidelines, so we suggest partnering with a food service company. 

GA Foods offers frozen and shelf-stable meals that are perfect for summer programs. SchoolFuelTM, our frozen meals for kids, are compliant with federal NSLP and CACFP requirements. They can be delivered frozen, or hot and fresh daily. Super PowerPackTM, our shelf-stable meals, are CACFP and SFSP-compliant. These pre-packaged meals require no kitchen and little to no preparation. 

Both SchoolFuelTM and Super PowerPackTM meals take the stress of nutrition planning off your plate. They come in fun packaging and kids love the taste! Contact our experts to learn more about menu options. 

Download Marketing Toolkit

 

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Topics: Nutrition, Child Nutrition, Summer Meals, SFSP

Make Long-lasting, Healthy Changes

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Mar 22, 2017 1:50:58 PM

healthy-lifestyle.jpgAs the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics continues to celebrate National Nutrition Month® with the theme, "Put Your Best Fork Forward", they encourage everyone to make long-lasting, healthy changes that will lead to renewed energy and help you age well.

The Academy recommends following a Total Body Diet lifestyle to help you reach your health and wellness goals. There are three principles to follow:

  1. 1. Balance your diet with foods from all food groups.
  2. 2. Get active every day with enjoyable movement.
  3. 3. Make your mental health a priority by fostering a positive attitude.

Total Body Diet

Foods that are high in sugar tend to be low in fiber, protein, and fat. For continuous energy throughout the day, eat meals that are high in fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats. Space your meals and snacks about three to four hours apart. Here are more ideas to help you follow the Total Body Diet:

  • Plan at least one meatless day into your week. Pile your plate with colorful vegetables!
  • Fuel your brain with foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish and avocados.
  • Clean out your pantry, fridge, and freezer - get rid of foods with a lot of added sugar, solid fat, and salt.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Make physical activity a routine part of your day. Do activities that you enjoy!
  • Sit less! Stand while working with a standing desk and walk during your breaks.
  • Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep every night!

For more details on the Total Body Diet read Total Body Diet for Dummies by Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN, LDN and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Nutrition for Seniors

Seniors have unique nutrition needs to consider. The most obvious difference between meals for seniors and meals for younger adults is portion sizes. As people age, their caloric requirements decrease, so senior meals should be smaller. Many restaurants now offer smaller menu options, though eating proper portions at home can still be a challenge! A great solution for perfectly portioned meals is to consider a meal delivery service. Home-delivered meals are pre-portioned, nutritionally balanced, and are tailored to meet the special dietary needs of older adults.

Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

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Topics: Nutrition, Healthy Home Delivered Meals, National Nutrition Month, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Aging Well, Best Fork Foward NNM

Put Your Best Fork Forward for Healthy Meals

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Mar 15, 2017 2:00:16 PM

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Each year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month® in March. This year's theme is "Put Your Best Fork Forward" and the Academy encourages everyone to make small, healthy changes when eating.

Choosing a variety of healthy foods across all food groups will help reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Making small changes, one forkful at a time, will prevent diseases before they occur. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Make Half of Your Plate Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your body needs to be healthy. For many people, eating enough fruits and veggies each day is difficult. Try eating cut up vegetables for snacks. Keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter so your family can easily grab a piece. Add grated vegetables like zucchini or carrots to sauces, meatloaf, and pasta dishes.

Cut Back on Added Sugars

Foods and drinks with added sugars contribute empty calories and often lack nutrients. Read ingredient lists and choose foods that don't have sugar or other sweeteners listed as the first ingredient. Quench your thirst with water instead of sugary drinks.

Make Family Meal Time a Priority

Studies show that family dinners have a positive impact on children's values, motivation,  and confidence. Involve your kids in meal planning and cooking family meals. Use this time to teach them about good nutrition.

Power Up with Breakfast

Mom was right - breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast gives you the energy to start your day. Include a lean protein like eggs or low-fat dairy like yogurt, cheese, or milk. (Don't forget to fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables!)

Be Adventurous

When food shopping or dining out, select a fruit, vegetable or grain that you have never tried. Foods like jicama, broccolini, purple potatoes or quinoa are tasty and nutritious. Also, explore other options for preparing foods. For example, broccoli roasted in the oven has a very different taste and texture than steamed broccoli.

Home-Delivered Meals

For healthy meals that are perfectly portioned, nutrient dense, and ready to go when you need them, try out a meal delivery service like GA Foods. Many health plans, including Medicare Advantage, offer home-delivered meals as a benefit. Check with your plan to see if you are eligible for GA Foods' home-delivered meals.

Want more healthy eating ideas?  Read this article.

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Topics: Nutrition, Chronic Disease Management, Senior Health, National Nutrition Month, Best Fork Foward NNM

Celebrate Registered Dietitians and National Nutrition Month with GA Foods!

Posted by Jessica Fleigle on Mar 8, 2017 1:46:09 PM

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(Pictured from left to right: Ashleigh Fabian, Registered Dietitian and Joann Pierre, Sr. Registered Dietitian) 

March is National Nutrition Month® (NNM). NNM focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and physical activity habits. This year's theme is "Put Your Best Fork Forward," which serves as a reminder that each one of us holds the tool to make healthier food choices.

March is also when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates Registered Dietitian Nutrition™(RDN) Day. This year, RDN Day is March 8.

GA Foods’ Registered Dietitians

We are blessed at GA Foods to have a great Registered Dietitian team (a couple of our dietitians are pictured above!). They are highly trained in developing personalized nutritional plans for each and every customer. Our dietitians create meals and menu plans for customers seeking frozen and shelf stable solutions throughout the United States. They ensure the meals meet or exceed the USDA guidelines, and that all meals are low in sodium, fat, cholesterol, and sugar.

We asked our dietitian team a few questions about their jobs and nutrition, and are excited to share their responses with you! 

What is your favorite part about your job?

  1. Our favorite part is knowing that we’re impacting the lives of others every single day. And, that we get to work with an amazing team! 
What is a nutrition tip you recommend?
  1. We recommend to stop dieting and make a lifestyle change. Instead of depriving yourself of the foods you love, enjoy foods in moderation.
What is a common mistake you see seniors make with their nutrition?
  1. We see a couple common mistakes among seniors (and others!)
  • Not eating balanced meals (i.e. focusing on a sole food group such as starches and not incorporating protein/veggies)
  • Increased intake of sweets

 Can you provide examples of nutrition fads that aren’t true?

  1. “Low-no carb” diets are a popular fad because they can help people lose weight initially, but it’s not realistic or healthy to eat like that forever. Sugar is our body's main energy source, so we eventually return to eating carbohydrates. When people start eating carbs again, they gain the weight they’ve lost and usually more because their bodies are storing the energy source. It just becomes a cycle, and that’s why our best advice is to stay away from dieting and make a lifestyle change. We recommend to eat foods that are good for your body such as fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
Are certain foods more likely to cause health problems?  Please explain.
  1. Processed junk foods contribute greatly to obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and other chronic diseases. These foods are addicting, and they don’t provide the nutrients your body needs. They are usually high in sugar, saturated fats, and calories, and they cause inflammation. 
  2. Our advice is simple: more whole foods, less processed. If you are going to eat processed foods, check the labels to make sure you are getting foods with low sugar, sodium, fat, and cholesterol.

National Nutrition Month 

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the purpose of NNM is to increase the public's awareness of the importance of good nutrition. Over the course of the next few weeks, our blog will focus on health education and eating tips as part of NNM.  

For more information on National Nutrition Month®, click here

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Topics: Nutrition, National Nutrition Month, Registered Dietitians, Best Fork Foward NNM

Age Well by Eating Well

Posted by Jessica Fleigle on Sep 28, 2016 11:00:00 AM

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Proper nutrition is the key to aging well, and it has many health benefits. The vitamins and nutrients in food can help you fight diseases, boost your energy and help you sleep better.

For more tips on energy boosting nutrition click here.

Senior Nutrition

Many senior citizens don’t receive adequately balanced meals, which leads to malnutrition. Malnutrition among seniors is directly correlated to the increasing diagnoses of diseases in the senior population. It is very important to consume the recommended amounts of nutrients every day in order to help your body age well.

Good Nutrition Can Prevent Disease

Consuming natural, minimally-processed foods maximizes the body’s intake of vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are necessary in order for the body to age well and fight against sicknesses and diseases. Multiple health studies have proven that some foods reduce the risk of, and may even prevent, certain chronic conditions. 

We’ve composed a list of the most common diseases among seniors as well as the healthy foods to include in your diet to help prevent them.

  1. 1. Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, is the No. 1 killer of Americans. If you have heart disease, it is recommended to limit the amount of total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium you eat each day. A few heart-healthy foods include salmon, nuts, tomatoes and dark chocolate (made up of at least 60 – 70 percent cocoa).
  1. 2. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is often referred to as the silent killer. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. Foods that are high in potassium can help reduce your risk of hypertension. Some examples are bananas, potatoes and leafy greens such as spinach, collard greens and kale.
  1. 3. Diabetes comes in two forms, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin. With the help of insulin therapy and a healthy diet, type 1 diabetes can be managed. Type 2 diabetes occurs when there is a problem with your body that causes your blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle. Diabetic meals should be low in sugar and carbohydrates. Eating cherries, avocados and cinnamon are great because they are linked to reducing blood sugar levels. 

Benefit From a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet consists of a balance between fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, meat and healthy fats. Every meal you eat has the potential to help your body perform successfully. Aside from reducing the risk of diseases, the nutritious meals you eat can also boost your metabolism, improve your mood and help you sleep better at night. Eating an adequate amount of micronutrients including iron, omega-3 fatty acid and folic acid will ensure a positive food-mood relationship.

Make Small Changes

You don’t have to adjust your diet all at once. Start with small changes like switching from a sugary breakfast cereal to a whole grain cereal or oatmeal. Or, snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods like crackers and chips.

In addition to making small changes, set small, realistic goals to help you acheive your end result. If your end goal is to have as much energy at the end of the day as you do in the morning by three months from now, setting small goals such as getting seven hours of sleep every night, buying more fruits and vegetables when grocery shopping and drinking eight glasses of water daily are great starting points. Achieving these small goals will keep you motivated on your end result, and they'll improve your overall health.

Eating Well on a Budget

Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive. We’ve created some helpful tips for eating right on a budget. One way to stick to your grocery budget is to create a grocery list. Creating a grocery list ensures you won’t forget any items you need for the week, and it makes you less likely to purchase junk foods, as they are not on the list.

Eating healthy takes some planning. For more information on food swaps you can make to your diet to give you an energy boost, download our energy boosting nutrition tips sheet. 
Download Energy Boosting Nutrition Tips

 

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Topics: Nutrition, Malnutrition in Elderly, Senior Health, Healthy Home Delivered Meals, Nutrition Care, Advice from Dietitians, Affordable, Healthy Foods, Healthy Meals for Seniors

Five Memorable TV Dinner Moments

Posted by Jessica Fleigle on Sep 7, 2016 11:00:00 AM

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September 10th is National TV Dinner Day, a day that celebrates the convenience of pre-portioned meals.

Since their inception, TV dinners have become a staple in American households. The prepackaged individual servings of meat and vegetables (and sometimes desserts!) changed the way Americans made and ate dinner. Women were no longer cooped up in the kitchen all day, and surprise dinner guests were no longer an issue.

In honor of National TV Dinner Day, we've compiled the five most memorable TV dinner moments:

1. The invention of the TV dinner

The invention of the TV dinner is attributed to a handful of different parties. While other companies may have invented the concept, C.A. Swanson & Sons coined the term 'TV dinner'. Take a look at the timeline:

1945: Maxson Food Systems, Inc. manufactured “Strato-Plates” complete meals that were reheated on planes for military and civilian passengers.

Late '40s: Jack Fisher created FridgiDinners – frozen meals served in bars and taverns.

1949: Albert and Meyer Bernstein created Frozen Dinners, Inc. – frozen dinners that were sold under the One-Eyed Eskimo label. Their dinners were served on aluminum trays with three compartments.

1954: C.A. Swanson & Sons created TV dinners – their version of frozen dinners. Swanson launched an advertising campaign to familiarize the public with TV dinners and sold them in retail stores, leading to the product’s success.

2. The first TV dinner meal – Thanksgiving leftovers!

C.A. Swanson & Sons’ salesman, Gerry Thomas, is credited with inventing the TV dinner. On his flight home, Thomas noticed the airplane meals were served on trays. He drew a sketch of his own version of the tray and suggested this concept to his company as a solution to their mass amounts of Thanksgiving leftovers. Swanson paired this idea with the biggest trend at the time, TVs, and thus TV dinners were born. The first TV dinners were sold in retail stores for a mere 98 cents!

3. The 1960s TV dinner expansions

1960: Swanson added a fourth compartment to their TV dinner tray so that consumers could have … desserts! A couple of the dessert options were apple cobbler and brownies. This addition really sweetened the deal for American consumers, as many homemade meals included desserts.

1969: TV breakfast was introduced. Now convenient meals were available in the morning as well.

4. The first Hungry-Man spokesman – “Mean” Joe Greene

In 1973, Swanson released Hungry-Man dinners, which had larger portions than their regular TV dinners. Professional football player “Mean” Joe Greene was the spokesman. Check out the commercial:

 

 

5. The ‘out with the old, in with the new’ decade – the '80s

Another memorable time for TV dinners was 1986 – the year of the tray. The original Swanson TV dinner tray made its debut into the Museum of American History in 1986 when it was inducted by the Smithsonian Institute. Also in '86, Swanson marketed the first microwave-safe trays. Microwave ovens were becoming a necessity in U.S. households, and with the introduction of Swanson’s microwave oven-safe trays, cooking TV dinners became easier than ever before.

In 1985, GA Foods furthered the impact of frozen meals with the introduction of our dual-ovenable meal trays. As one of the first companies to provide home-delivered frozen meals to seniors, we provided recipients the flexibility to select "what you want to eat, when you want it". 

Today's Frozen Meals

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While the meals are no longer referred to as TV dinners, the concept of frozen meals is still cookin’. In 2016, more than 60 years after the invention of the TV dinner, freezers in American households are still packed with frozen, pre-portioned meals. Frozen meals remain a popular food choice because they are easy to make, and come in a variety of options. And, with home-delivered meals from GA Foods, the meals are healthy and nutritionally-balanced too!

The familiarity of frozen meals provides the comfort of home, especially for seniors who have seen frozen meals from the beginning.

For more information on selecting a home-delivered meals provider click here.

Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

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Topics: Fresh vs. Frozen Home Delivered Meals, Nutrition, Healthy Meals for Seniors

Home-Delivered Meals for Seniors: Why Use Frozen?

Posted by Frank Curto, PhD and Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Apr 6, 2016 11:00:00 AM

TV-Dinners.gifMany senior nutrition programs are moving away from the traditional model of delivering hot meals daily to
delivering frozen meals weekly. If the idea of frozen meals conjurs up images of TV dinners from the 1960's, we are talking about something entirely different. Today's meals meet strict nutritional guidelines and are actually targeted for older adults. Here are the facts:

1.  Frozen food has the same, if not better, nutritional value as fresh foods. 

Frozen produce is not harvested until fully ripened. Fresh produce is harvested before reaching peak ripeness, so it can ripen during transportation and storage. This means nutrients do not develop to full potential.  However, frozen produce is allowed to ripen before being picked. The mature fruits and vegetables contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Frozen foods are flash-frozen immediately after being harvested. This process assures there is minimal nutrient loss when processing the foods. Hot and chilled meals are subjected to light and heat during transportation and storage, causing further nutrient loss. Frozen meals can be transported and stored without compromising nutrient content.

2.  Maintaining the cold chain with frozen home-delivered meals is the most reliable method of assuring food safety.

Although there are multiple causes of foodborne illness, improper temperature control is a common failure point in many segments of the food service production and distribution chain. The “cold chain” process has emerged as the most reliable method of assuring food safety. With this method, food is maintained at temperatures that prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and pathogens that are responsible for the majority of foodborne-related illnesses.  Maintaining the cold chain process from the time of production until consumed is the best way to protect seniors from foodborne illness. For more information on foodborne-illnesses in seniors, click here.

Using frozen meals also allows delivery routes, particularly in rural areas, to be extended without compromising food safety. Hot meals have a much shorter delivery window. Drivers have to ensure meals are not exposed to improper temperatures and allowed to spend time outside of the food safety "danger zone." 

3.  Food quality is more appealing with frozen home-delivered meals.

Food held at hot temperatures also keeps bacteria from growing. However, hot food begins to deteriorate over time, affecting appearance, aroma, flavor, and texture. Food becomes mushy, overcooked, discolored, bitter, and dried out. Also, nutrient loss is greater with hot meals. Frozen meals are flash-frozen immediately after being cooked, locking in their great quality, taste, and nutrition. Freezing also allows seasonal foods to be available year round.

4.  Frozen home-delivered meals offer more flexibility and autonomy for the seniors. 

Home_Delivered_Meals_LR.pngFrozen meals are delivered to the homes 2 to 4 times per month, freeing up the senior's schedule. This allows them to select the meal they want to eat - when they want to eat it. Daily, hot home-delivered meals require the senior to be home every day at a specific time. There is no flexibility for scheduling doctor and therapy appointments. These meals are also selected for the senior, taking away their autonomy.  

Weekly deliveries of frozen meals allow nutrition programs to better utilize their resources and serve more seniors. In place of daily meal deliveries, many programs have their volunteers make social visits or phone calls to their recipients. This makes the seniors and their families feel more secure, knowing someone is regularly checking on them. 

If you'd like more information on selecting a home-delivered meal provider, click here.


Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

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Topics: Fresh vs. Frozen Home Delivered Meals, Nutrition, Home Delivered Meals, Senior Health

National Nutrition Month-Savor the Flavor-Healthy Meals for Seniors

Posted by Levinia Clark, RD, LDN on Mar 30, 2016 10:00:00 AM

National Nutrition Month is here! This is a great time to look at food choices, and evaluate whether you’re getting the most nutrition out of your meals. While the meal requirements for older adults are a bit different, making healthy meals for seniors doesn’t have to be complicated! Here are a few easy guidelines to improve the nutritional value of senior meals.

Look Out For Extra Sodium

A lot of packaged foods contain sodium as a preservative and as a way to make the food more palatable. Unfortunately, these high sodium levels are not ideal for senior meals. Be sure to read the label carefully on store-bought convenience meals, as well as many condiments, as these can be incredibly high in sodium.

Many canned foods offer low sodium (and even no sodium) options, so you can add your own salt as needed. A little table salt can go a long way! Another way to season foods without adding extra salt, is to use herbs and spices. Be sure to check the nutrition information on spice blends, and opt for the salt-free versions where possible.older_adult_shopping.png

Make Veggies King

Vegetables are incredibly nutrient dense - they’re low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals. Their high fiber and water content also makes vegetables more filling, ideal for the reduced-caloric content of meals for seniors.

In order to receive enough nutrition, while keeping calories low, challenge yourself this National Nutrition Month to fill half of your plate at every meal with vegetables, dividing the other half between protein and starches. Keep things exciting by eating a variety of different colors and textures. Different colored vegetables tend to offer different nutritional profiles, so varying color choices on your plate can provide a well-rounded selection of nutrients.

Avoid Empty Calories

Cookies, crackers and other baked goods may taste delicious, but they generally offer no nutritional value for all of those calories. If you’re craving a sweet treat, reach for a piece of fruit, or a yogurt with berries and granola.

For healthier, savory options, avoid packaged snacks like chips and crackers, which contain a lot of added salt and oil, but have little nutritional value. Instead of reaching for that box of buttery crackers, try whole grain pretzels instead. Whole grain pretzels contain more vitamins, minerals and fiber, with fewer calories and less fat than traditional crackers.

Try More Whole Grain Options

Another way to increase the nutritional benefits of senior meals, is to choose whole grain products over their refined counterparts. Whole grains still have the bran and germ intact, making them appear darker in color. It’s these parts of the grain that contain the most vitamins and minerals. Whole grains also contain more fiber, so they often take longer to digest than refined grains, and can be more filling.

Try and make half of your grain choices throughout the day whole grains to receive more vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Hydrate!

Be sure that you’re drinking enough water. Hydrating properly will help to flush out extra salt, as well as keep all your organs running as they should. Keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day can ensure that you’ve always got hydration close at hand.

Ease Into Exercise

Healthy eating doesn’t have to stop at food choices. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and can complement those nutrient-dense senior meals. Bodies are all different, and thrive with different styles and levels of exercise. The important thing is to move, and get blood flowing.

Short walks and light stretching can be a great way to increase blood flow and joint mobility, without being strenuous. It’s important to choose activities that you enjoy, and to remember that every little bit counts. You don’t need to run a marathon to receive the benefits of moving around!

Watch Portion Sizes

The most obvious difference between meals for seniors, and meals for younger adults is portion sizes. As people age, their caloric requirements decrease, so senior meals should be smaller. Many restaurants now offer smaller menu options, though eating proper portions at home can still be a challenge!

National Nutrition Month is a great time to learn more about portion sizes, and grab those measuring cups. Measuring out different foods can ensure that the meal is the appropriate size, and can prevent accidental overeating. Another solution for perfectly portioned meals is to consider a meal delivery service. Home delivered meals are perfectly portioned, nutritionally balanced, and can be tailored to meet special dietary needs.

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National Nutrition Month - Savor the Flavor - Eating Right on a Budget

Posted by Joann Pierre, MS, RD, LDN on Mar 23, 2016 10:30:00 AM

March is National Nutrition Month, a great time to tune up your healthy eating routine! Keeping up healthy habits can certainly be a challenge, especially as healthy food can often be more expensive than its junk food counterparts.

But fear not! You can celebrate National Nutrition Month without breaking the bank with these tips for making budget friendly, healthy meals and choices.

Familiarize Yourself With Food Labels

Food labels aren’t the easiest thing in the world to decode, but spending a few extra minutes studying all of the ingredients and macronutrients can save you time and money at the grocery store.

Often, packaging can mislead consumers into thinking a food is healthy, when it’s actually filled with sugar, salt and trans fats. Learning which ingredients to watch out for, and what all those percentages mean on the back of a box, can help you separate the healthy foods from the junk foods, and make better choices.

Don’t Worry About Food Trends

The health foods landscape can often be confusing, with so many superfoods and trendy health foods entering the market daily. Certain foods are classified as superfoods because of their high concentrations of vitamins and minerals. They’re typically imported, and often found only in certain locations. Their scarcity and the excitement that surrounds a word like “superfood” means that these berries, seeds and powders fetch a pretty penny at the health food store.

Good news though - there are nutrient-rich foods available at the supermarket that aren't expensive. Superfoods like sweet potatoes, blueberries, broccoli, kale and pumpkin seeds are all incredibly nutritious, and budget friendly. Save those pricier options for a treat!farmers_market.png

Shop Seasonally

Buying produce according to growing seasons not only keeps your veggie routine exciting, but also allows you to save a little cash. Check out your local farmers' market for great buys!  Many accept EBT.  There is also a food assistance program for seniors purchasing from farmers' markets.  Seasonal produce is often less expensive, due to having fewer transportation costs, and will be fresher than fruits or vegetables that have spent a week on a truck. Eating seasonally can also add some excitement to your meals, as you start to anticipate the foods of the upcoming months.

National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to look up what fruits and vegetables are in season in your area, and design your shopping list accordingly.

Spend Some Extra Time in the Kitchen

A 2014 study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine noted that individuals who spent more time preparing their food were more likely to eat healthy meals, as opposed to those who mostly ate out at restaurants. Cooking your own meals at home gives you control over the ingredients, preparation method and quality.

Of course, planning and cooking your meals at home requires quite a bit of time and effort, so if you’re looking for the same high quality healthy meals, without spending too much time cooking, try a meal delivery service.

Home-Delivered Meals

For healthy meals that are perfectly portioned, nutrient dense and ready to go when you need them, try out a meal delivery service, like GA Foods. Having meals delivered can save you money by providing a variety of choices, without you having to buy all of those different herbs, spices, and vegetables, just for one meal.

Using a meal delivery service also ensures that your meals fit into your healthy lifestyle, whether you’re on a diabetic meal plan, cardiac meal plan or other special diet. And of course, a meal delivery service will save you all of that time you would have spent on food prep! What’s not to love?

Guide to Beginning Home-Delivered Meal Service

 

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Topics: Nutrition, National Nutrition Month

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