Nutritional quality of regular and pureed menus in Canadian long term care homes: an analysis of the Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3) project

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Vucea, Vanessa
Keller, Heather H
Morrison, Jill M
Duncan, Alison M
Duizer, Lisa M
Carrier, Natalie
Lengyel, Christina O
Slaughter, Susan E
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Abstract Background Long term care (LTC) menus need to contain sufficient nutrients for health and pureed menus may have lower nutritional quality than regular texture menus due to processes (e.g., recipe alterations) required to modify textures. The aims of this study were to: determine adequacy of planned menus when compared to the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI); compare the energy, macronutrients, micronutrients and fibre of pureed texture and regular texture menus across LTC homes to determine any texture, home or regional level differences; and identify home characteristics associated with energy and protein differences in pureed and regular menus. Methods Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3) is a cross-sectional multi-site study that collected data from 32 LTC homes in four Canadian provinces. This secondary analysis focused on nutrient analysis of pureed and regular texture menus for the first week of the menu cycle. A site survey captured characteristics and services of each facility, and key aspects of menu planning and food production. Bivariate analyses were used to compare menus, within a home and among and within provinces, as well as to determine if home characteristics were associated with energy and protein provision for both menus. Each menu was qualitatively compared to the DRI standards for individuals 70+ years to determine nutritional quality. Results There were significant provincial and menu texture interactions for energy, protein, carbohydrates, fibre, and 11 of 22 micronutrients analyzed (p < 0.01). Alberta and New Brunswick had lower nutrient contents for both menu textures as compared to Manitoba and Ontario. Within each province some homes had significantly lower nutrient content for pureed menus (p < 0.01), while others did not. Fibre and nine micronutrients were below DRI recommendations for both menu textures within all four provinces; variation in nutritional quality existed among homes within each province. Several home characteristics (e.g., for-profit status) were significantly associated with higher energy and protein content of menus (p < 0.01). Conclusions There was variability in nutritional quality of menus from LTC homes in the M3 sample. Pureed menus tended to contain lower amounts of nutrients than regular texture menus and both menus did not meet DRI recommendations for select nutrients. This study demonstrates the need for improved menu planning protocols to ensure planned diets meet nutrient requirements regardless of texture. Trial registration ID: NCT02800291, retrospectively registered June 7, 2016.
BMC Nutrition. 2017 Oct 23;3(1):80