Whether a senior housing resident comes to a community for the lifestyle change or the health and safety needs, there is one major element that drives their enjoyment: the dining program.
Food is family. It creates memory and community. It’s also a necessity — three times a day, plus snacks, operators must facilitate dining opportunities for residents. That means they must find ways to simultaneously create diverse, flavorful dishes that deliver on dietary and health needs, while reducing time of meal preparation.
Spiceology is tackling that dual challenge like no one else. For years, this chef-owned and operated company has provided flavor innovations to chefs and home cooks alike — no matter their age. The Spokane, Washington-based Spiceology is also now delivering salt-free blends to senior living kitchens, helping executive chefs save time and boost taste.
Here are four benefits for senior living operators who bring salt-free blends to residents.
Time savings and increased consistency
Creating flavor blends takes time. A junior chef might spend an hour mixing his or her own blends with their own ingredients. A pre-made blend can cut that time in half.
“When you’re in a professional kitchen, it can take you five to 10 minutes just to round up all the ingredients of whatever you’re prepping, plus more time to set up your station,” says Tony Reed, director of foodservice at Spiceology. With a pre-made blend, chefs save time not simply in the preparation of the blend, but in the preparation of the preparation.
“Kitchen organization and access to all the ingredients you might need to create blends can be a time-killer for chefs, which means less time for innovation,” Reed says. “That’s where a Spiceology blend can be a chef’s best friend.”
Tied to that time savings is an increased consistency. When a chef is creating a new blend every time out, creating the same blend becomes unlikely if not impossible.
“Most recipes are in volume and not in weight, so my cup could vary slightly from another line cook’s measurement,” Reed says. “So it’s not going to be the same consistency from shift to shift and cook to cook. Chefs can rely on Spiceology’s blend consistency over and over again.”
Health measures, including in sodium, potassium and phosphorus
Beyond just any type of blend, a salt-free blend offers senior living kitchens crucial benefits in health and diet. Many residents keep diets that restrict sodium, and look for dishes that are “salt free.” But according to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), “salt free” means having five miligrams or less of sodium per serving size.
Individual diets may have restrictions around levels of phosphorus and potassium as well, but blends don’t necessarily have to place information about those levels on their labels. Spiceology does.
“Having our customers and our chefs understand what potassium and phosphorus levels are in our food is important,” Reed says. “Most food companies don’t share those levels on their labels, but we do. We’re committed to helping people make the right health choices when it comes to diet.”
Of course, chefs cannot help residents eat healthy if the taste is such that they don’t want to eat, period. There is a core flavor profile that other brands deliver in their salt-free blends.
“Regardless of the salt-free blends you may have tried before, trust us, you can have all of the flavor with none of the salt,” Reed says.
By keeping oil counts high, Spiceology is able to have maximum flavors with its small-batch manufacturing philosophy. Salt is a flavor enhancer, and Spiceology did a lot of research to understand the restrictions of residents using the chronic kidney disease diet.
“People with heart or kidney disease should not have to sacrifice flavor,” Reed says. “For each of our salt-free seasonings, we remove all of the sodium, and then layer in the flavor by adding citrus and sweet notes to make them as delicious as possible.”
Tasty enhancements for happy hours and everyday menus
At the end of the day, dining is one of the richest, most fulfilling experiences we have as humans. Senior living residents take great joy in the community’s dining program, and salt-free blends can spice up a kitchen’s happy hours and its day-to-day menu options. One of Spiceology’s main goals is to provide seasoning options and flavor profiles that can get residents excited despite their dietary restrictions.
“We looked at the market of salt-free blends, and asked ourselves, how can we create innovative flavors in this space?” Reed says. “We developed over a dozen salt-free seasonings that are designed to inspire chefs to push the limits of sodium-free recipes while delighting diners.”
To do this, the company turned some of their older blends into great tasting salt-free versions, such as a Mexican-citrus blend “Chile Margarita,” and a Cajun seasoning blend “Black Magic.”
In celebration of their ongoing support of both the NKF and the American Heart Association’s “Life is Why” campaign, Spiceology recently added four new salt-free flavors as voted on by the general public. They are:
– Unsalted Caramel
– Loaded Baked Tater
– Fryless Chicken
– Buffalo Wing
“You can make a whole dinner with these four products alone,” Reed says. “When we develop our blends we want them to be multi-purposed yet hyper-focused, so that people know how to use them. Just through each seasoning’s name we provide chefs and diners with the ability to know exactly what to put each blend on, but we also provide out-of-the-box recipes following any product release to let cooks experiment with the new flavors.”
This article is sponsored by Spiceology. To learn more about how you can spice up your kitchen with delicious, diet-safe salt-free blends, visit spiceology.com.
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