If you are in charge of food management for a kitchen in a nursing home or an assisted living facility, you have a challenging position. You have to keep food and kitchen labor costs relatively low while also keeping the food tasty and healthy. If you want tips on how to achieve both goals, check out these ideas.
They will make your meals healthier while also saving your kitchen money:
1. Reduce the amount of meat on each plate
In most cases, meat costs more per pound than beans, potatoes and veggies. By reducing the amount of meat on each plate, you save money, and you also increase the amount of fiber, vitamins and valuable nutrients your residents get with their meals.
For example, if a quarter of each meal is currently meat, consider dropping that to ten percent. Remember to augment protein consumption with leafy dark green veggies and more beans.
2. Prepare your own potatoes
If you are currently using powdered mash potatoes or pre-cut french fries, consider buying plain russet potatoes and making these things yourself. If you have the staff in your kitchen peeling, cutting and cooking raw potatoes rather than using the packaged variety, you are likely to save money.
To crunch the numbers, factor in the cost of your labor and the cost of the spuds. Then, compare that to the cost of prepackaged potatoes. In most cases, your kitchen will save money, and your meals will have fewer stabilizers, flavor enhancers and other chemicals associated with packaged foods.
3. Make your own stock
Buying meat or veggie stock can be expensive, and when you used packaged stocks, they usually have a lot of sodium in them. That is not healthy for anyone but certainly not healthy for elders.
Instead of buying packaged stocks, save your veggie peels and off cuts as well as your meat bones throughout the week. Once a week, throw everything into a big pot of water and boil all day until you have stock. You can freeze it and use it as needed.
4. Grow your own garden
Another way that many food service management professionals are discovering helps to save money is gardening. If you can plant a small garden outside the kitchen at your facility, it gives you access to organic, fresh veggies.
If you like, you may even be able to elicit the help of the facility's residents. Not only will the veggies boost their health, but so too will working in the garden.
5. Hire professional help
If you are struggling to keep the food costs low in your assisted living or nursing home kitchen, you may want to hire professional help. You can hire food service management professionals who look at the way you are currently running things and help you to adjust your practices accordingly.
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