Accommodating for dietary requirements

To successfully provide nutritious meals in aged care settings, individual dietary requirements must be accommodated for. Maximising nutrients lacking in particular diets which are important for promoting health in older adults such as calcium in a lactose-free diet can be challenging. 

When creating an inclusive meal plan, you may want to consider the following: 

  • Cultural inclusivity – Food and nutrition can be closely linked to identity, reminding older adults of family and cultural traditions or core religious beliefs. It is important to consider differences in utensil preference, mealtimes or fasting, allergies, rules for meal preparation (e.g., Halal or Kosher), familiar condiments, and dining customs. [1]  
  • Maximising nutrients – Dietitians and nutritionists are valuable sources for advice on maximising an older adult’s nutrient intake depending on their specific dietary needs. Other strategies such as multiple daily snacks, increasing older adult involvement in menu planning or meal preparation especially during holidays and events, and oral supplements (when prescribed) can increase nutrient intake. 

The following resources may be useful if you are considering reviewing your menu plans to accommodate for dietary requirements: 

Quality Standards

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission are currently consulting on draft guidance resources to help providers, aged care workers and other stakeholders to understand the new strengthened Quality Standards and their roles and responsibilities in meeting them. Along with the new Aged Care Act, the strengthened Quality Standards are expected to be introduced from 1 July 2024.

For more information:

Draft Provider Guidance Standard 6 – Food and Nutrition

Want to know more?

If you require more information on implementing an approach to delivering tasty, safe and nutritious meals in aged care: 

  1. Browse the nutrition resources.
  2. Look for research evidence within the PubMed database by using one of the PubMed searches provided here. PubMed contains brief information (‘citations’) on millions of research studies. It can therefore be challenging to search. Our librarian has made finding highly relevant information on this topic as simple as a click of a button. Click on All to see everything in the database on the topic or choose Full text to view only articles immediately available to you free of charge in full text. 

Connect to PubMed evidence

If you wish to find out more about nutrition in aged care, try using one of the PubMed searches below. These links (all or full text) take you to the relevant research literature in the large international PubMed database.

  1. Practice guide: Food and nutrition [Internet]. Melbourne, AU: Centre for Diversity in Ageing; 2023 [cited 2024 February 02]. Available from: 
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