Guest blogger Tina Fox from Vegetarian for Life calls for more Veggie-friendly catering for older people.
As we get older there are often problems to face with our diet – appetites change, we may want to eat less but more often, we may fancy different foods than we used to or even not fancy anything at all. Of course we may also be on a restricted income which may affect our choices.
Later on, the choice may be made to receive home care and perhaps a home meals service or even go into care or to sheltered housing with a meals service.
All this is difficult enough generally but even worse for those who have chosen a vegetarian or vegan diet for ethical, religious or health reasons. Living at home may not present too many problems while still able to cook as vegetarian ingredients tend to be less expensive than meat and to store better but once reliant on a meals service things will change. Even the best providers have only a choice of five to ten vegetarian meals and would you really want to keep reliving your dinners like Groundhog Day?
Care homes and sheltered schemes can be even worse – imagine if you are sole vegetarian in a group of 30 to 50 residents, you may be considered a nuisance or an inconvenience and the chef is unlikely to have much experience in cooking for your diet so you are likely to end up with egg or cheese at every meal, not healthy or enjoyable long term.
Fortunately with a bit of support most care homes can come up with inventive recipes which are healthy and can be enjoyed by all residents not only the vegetarian or vegan ones – Vegetarian for Life, established as a charity in 2007, provides lots of training and recipe leaflets to support this, available also to those providing home catering. We provide a service to help older vegetarians and vegans find a vegetarian friendly home and we provide grants to help them live independently and avoid the need to leave their home.
Vegetarian for Life provides a general information and advocacy service working on behalf of older vegetarians and vegans throughout the UK. Our latest publication, due out in May, will be cooking on a budget, with hints and tips as to how to cook tasty and nutritious meals using minimum finance in this difficult climate.
Further information www.vegetarianforlife.org.uk.