Seasons Alberta Magazine

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Memories THROUGH MEALS F ood can be used as a powerful way to stimulate positive memories and emotions to encourage adequate food intake while also improving CONTRIBUTED BY SYSCO CANADA NUTRITION SERVICES TEAM

the associated positive feelings may even render the food more satisfying 2 . Another way to evoke memories of home cooking is through the sense of smell. The olfactory bulb, which is responsible for smell, is linked to the areas of the brain associated with memory and emotion 3 . For example, the aroma of a freshly baked apple pie may trigger the thought of mom’s homemade pie cooling on the counter of the family home. Using familiar, comforting foods and creating pleasant aromas in the dining areas can help bring positive feelings to the surface while also potentially encouraging adequate intake. Past Meets Present Understanding the trends of both yesterday and today is key when developing your menu to support the needs and tastes of your residents. Drastic development of the food industry, combined with globalization, has allowed cuisines from across the globe to be available right here in Canada 3 . In the past, the availability of products was often limited by regional growing seasons, while local traditions and cuisine dominated what was served at the dinner table. Today however, we have access to a vast range of ingredients with endless potential to create new flavour profiles. For example, we might try a potato salad made with Greek yogurt dressing or a curried pulled pork sandwich. Experimenting with new ingredients can elevate classic dishes and meet the demands for increased diversity on the menu, harmonizing the past and present. Food is not only about flavour, but also about how it is prepared and where it is consumed. Home cooked meals were a fundamental part of family life after World War II, and so preparing meals from scratch or semi- scratch is one strategy to rekindle those memories related to family and belonging. It is also important to consider the ever-changing dietary needs and preferences of residents, and adapt recipes accordingly. For example, a homemade gluten-free

resident satisfaction and quality of life. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to look into the past to better build today’s menu. A Look into the Past During and after World War II, the way in which food was prepared and consumed in the home was rapidly changing. The impact of soldiers returning home along with industrial development led to more activities surrounding food to become more popular such as barbecuing, enjoying meals outside, and entertaining guests. At the same time, mealtime was extremely valued in the home. Eating at the table was cherished family time where people would enjoy a version of the following classic dinner combination:

lasagna allows those who do not consume gluten to also enjoy home cooked comfort foods. Accommodating resident needs has a powerful impact on promoting inclusiveness and community. Additionally, an ambiance of togetherness can be enhanced with décor that is reminiscent of the past, such as red checkered tablecloths or vintage centrepieces in dining areas. Carefully considering these aspects of dining can help enrich the overall mealtime experience. Making Mealtimes Memorable ​ When it comes to what is on the plate, acknowledging the significance of the past is an important step to assist residents to enjoy the present and embrace the future. Recognizing the emotional and memorable impact of recipes and ingredients when building a menu can further connect people to the food they are eating. So how do we serve the fond memories of the past at mealtime today? By bringing people together to celebrate special events with themed menus on such as Halloween, Remembrance Day, or throwing a 50s

Party with classic mealtime favourites. We can add a flair of nostalgia with some music from past eras like Glenn Miller and Elvis Presley. Mealtime is much more than just when our residents eat, rather it is a perfect opportunity to foster the feeling of home! Supporting content: Sysco – Dorothy Jensen-Muniz, National Account Manager, Healthcare and Senior Living Romm, C. (2015). Why comfort foods comfort: A new study looks at the intersection of taste, nostalgia, and loneliness. The Atlantic. Retrieved from www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/04/why- comfort-food-comforts/389613 Sifferlin, A. (2015). The science of why you crave comfort food. Time USA, LLC. Retrieved from http://time.com/3975676/comfort-food- cravings Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department. (2010). Globalization of Food Systems and Nutrition. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved from www.fao.org/ag/agn/ nutrition/urban_globalization_en.stm

Starchy Vegetable

Protein

Dinner

Fruit

Cooked Green Vegetable

Green Salad

Despite these emerging changes to mealtime, rationing was still in effect and eating out remained a luxury after World War II. Home cooked meals were the foundation of a household and served as a vital source of nutrition, comfort and sense of belonging. Homestyle Cooking Comforts the Soul Certain foods can sometimes be referred to as “comfort foods” if they are related to a positive memory or feeling, for example the feeling of being cared for. One study showed that people who associated happy family memories with specific foods were more likely to crave these items when feeling down. 1 Not only do these foods provide a source of emotional comfort,

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