During the owner transitional process, PGH knew their menus needed an overhaul. They had five weeks worth of menus and rotated them. Unfortunately, the menus were heavy on starch (casseroles took center stage on the plate) and short on fresh fruits and vegetables. (Residents wouldn’t eat them when they were offered anyway). Drinks consisted of milk, Kool-aid, or Crystal Light. PGH grilled hamburgers on Wednesdays, pizza once a week, and leftovers twice a week. Resident weight gain was consistently on the rise as well as cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and triglycerides. Clients and staff members were bored with the menus to the point that some of the cooks wouldn’t even eat the food they prepared. As a lifetime member of Weight Watchers and advocate of the new USDA food pyramid, Becky knew that the menus needed to change, not only for her health, but for that of the residents and other staff members as well.
“You have to understand, folks went from eating canned food to eating fresh, homemade food.” - Becky
Grove Menus Solution
PGH was referred to Grove Menus by a sister facility in the county where they operate. They liked what they found at Grove Menus: good food devised by a dietitian. In order to fully implement this drastic change in menus at PGH, they needed both the staff and clients to “buy in.” They also needed the clients to see the change as a health benefit and not as a punishment. They liked the seasonal rotation of menus and the ability to exchange entrees and side dishes. “What would a menu service be without the grocery list?” The ability to print up grocery lists for pantry items for a specific period of time and a separate list for perishables was invaluable. Although the choice to sign on with Grove Menus was a “no brainer”, it did take some thought and consideration to customize its use to fit PGH’s situation.
The first day was awful. The 22 year-old cook caught nothing but flack for breakfast and lunch. She was certainly ready to throw in the towel and, for a split second, Becky was too.
The uproar among the residents settled down after about a week. It only took a day or two for them to figure out that if they didn’t want to be hungry they were going to need to eat the food that was offered. PGH residents tried foods they never had before. Becky was really concerned when they served roasted Brussel sprouts. “Who likes Brussel sprouts?” Well, the majority of diners found roasted Brussel sprouts were, in fact, yummy.
One of PGH’s residents originally took a daily, four hour, afternoon nap. With the introduction of Grove Menus his nap was suddenly reduced to a 20 minute cat nap.
Additionally, weight loss became readily apparent. Within the first month of Grove Menus implementation, one resident lost 20 pounds and saw a 20 point reduction in cholesterol. (This resident also participates in Zumba and takes numerous short walks throughout the day.)
“The very first healthy response to our change in menus appeared immediately”
Since the introduction of Grove Menus eight residents have lost weight, seven have gained weight (two needed to), and one remained the same. Two of six residents with hypertension saw significant decreases in blood pressure levels and associated symptoms. Three have seen cholesterol and triglyceride levels drop. (Please note that PGH is not a closed facility, meaning the residents have access to outside food and drinks.)
PGH spent an average of $2,700 per month before Grove Menus. They now average $3,000 per month. The increase in cost can be attributed to discontinued bulk shopping at “big box” stores and purchasing more fresh produce locally. Their monthly budget for food is $3,600, thus they are still below budget. Becky is very pleased with the variety of food this menu provides for their clients and employees. She personally appreciates the nutritional information each recipe provides because she can calculate her Weight Watchers points in advance.
About Grove Menus
Grove Menus has grown rapidly into a nationwide company that provides menu plans to a broad client base. The Grove Menus system is simple and powerful. Clients include large and small healthcare and personal care facilities.