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Food that’s good for the soul

Food that’s good for the soul

“Food may be essential as fuel for the body, but good food is fuel for the soul”, said entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine.

This approach to eating gets the thumbs-up from Arvida, which is why we put so much thought into designing our community menus twice a year. Our goal is to produce food that is both nutritious and delicious.

Compared to the other big names in retirement living, we do a few things differently at Arvida.

  • The first thing that separates us from other retirement giants is the fact that we employ a national dietitian, Julia Scott, who oversees all our menus to ensure they deliver excellent nutrition for older adults, including those who have specific dietary needs.
  • The next thing that sets us apart is how every community regularly changes its menu to accommodate in-season produce, changes in the weather and residents’ cravings for particular seasonal dishes.
  • And thirdly, all meals are prepared on premises – you won’t see any large catering trucks full of ready-made meals pulling up outside an Arvida community. Every community has a commercial kitchen run by a real chef, who is carefully chosen by a panel that includes staff and residents.

How our community menus are worked out

There are 32 Arvida communities throughout New Zealand and each one of them has a unique personality that reflects the location and local culture. Food is a major part of this individuality, which is why every community has a personalised menu.

Twice a year, here’s what happens to ensure our residents always eat nutritious, freshly-made food that they love:

  1. Base menu: Arvida's national dietitian Julia Scott designs a ‘base menu’ that ensures all requirements of the Dietitians NZ menu audit for aged care are met.
  2. Chef personalisation: The base menu goes to the chefs at each community for personalisation.
  3. Resident input: ‘Resident choice’ slots are incorporated into every menu and rotated through the weeks to provide surprises.
  4. Dietitian approval: Personalised menus are returned to Julia for checking, just to make sure nutritional requirements are still being met.
Other ways we put soul into food

Aside from careful menu design, there are some other food-related benefits that are unique to Arvida communities. They tie to our ‘living a life with soul’ philosophy, which is about living your best life according to your rules and preferences. Here are a few examples:

  • Breakfast is not at a set time when you live in an Arvida community. We have a buffet breakfast system similar to a resort hotel. It means you can make your way to the dining room or have breakfast in bed when you’re ready.
  • Instead of serving ‘empty calories’ at morning and afternoon tea, our communities offer cheese, crackers and dips, pikelets with healthy toppings and fresh fruit. Our snacks are on a four-week cycle, so each snack is only served once a month – no room for food boredom here!
  • Residents always have a choice of two main courses and they don’t have to let us know in advance - they can decide at meal times.
  • There’s always more than one place to eat, in addition to the dining room. Smaller dining areas are set up around the community to provide a quieter and cosier experience. Tablecloths, flowers, music, subtle lighting and comfortable chairs all contribute to a dining ambiance that everyone enjoys.
  • If soup is on the menu, it’s made from scratch using a combination of fresh ingredients and lentils, split peas or other legumes that enhance nutrient value.
  • Every month there are fun themed meals, like Italian night, pizza night, build-your-own-burger night and curry night.
  • For residents living in our care centres, cooking is part of our weekly activities. They make things like no-bake cakes and slices, crock pot soups, pikelets and fritters.
  • We love to have residents in our kitchen if they want to help out. Appropriate health and safety training is provided. Some of the produce we use comes from resident-run vegetable and herb gardens at the community.

Find out more about Arvida’s ‘living a life with soul’ philosophy.

Check out some of our communities.