So often the sounds and smells from a backyard cookout fill the summertime air in the areas we live. Kids running, playing, and giggling while the adults lounge and laugh, and the grill-master of the group tends to the grilling-duties.
Although cookouts are often woven into summertime celebrations like Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and the 4th of July, grilling food year-round is something to consider if you seek to stimulate the senses and appetites of those you are serving.
For those elders living in long-term care settings, who may be separated from family, serving food fresh from the grill is a fabulous ‘Culinary Care™’ idea!
Grilling is a Social Activity!
Gathering residents, their families, the community team members, and vendor-partners outdoors, while the Culinary team prepares the meal on the grill, is a definite mood enhancer! The sights, sounds and smells are comforting and the time spent outside with others talking and reminiscing has high impact!
It’s literally a positive mood-enhancer!
If you think that steaks, burgers and hot dogs are the only options for the grill….think again! Consider adding fruits and veggies to the menu! Because vegetables on the grill take less time to cook than when using more traditional methods, they retain more of their natural nutrition. Boiled or stewed veggies leave much of their flavor as well as their vitamins and minerals behind in the cooking water.
However, roasted vegetables maintain texture and increase in color and flavor without losing valuable nutrients. Some fruits and vegetables that are great to grill are:
- Bell peppers
Infusing flavors into the meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables you plan to grill by soaking them in a yummy marinade is another way to elevate the flavor profiles of what you are serving! Marinades don’t need to be complicated. Easy options include wines, vinegars, lemon or lime juice, low-sodium soy sauce, honey, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices.
A fun way to present food from the grill is to thread bite-sized options onto skewers. And, often a good choice for both the young and older folks in your group. It’s easier to eat the smaller sized food with your hands, if necessary.
Some suggestions to consider for your skewers:
- Chicken breast bites, bell peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms
- Shrimp, scallops, onions, eggplant, and zucchini slices
- Steak bites, green peppers, onions, and fingerling potatoes
Whether you are a professional care community looking for creative ideas to ignite your dining experience or you are a valued family member, caring for both your children and an aging parent; there is something so satisfying about serving food from a grill. Not to mention the social benefits that naturally occur when those you are feeding are outdoors soaking in all the sensory stimulation of the food cooking and the conversations flowing.
Keep in mind, whether its summer, spring, winter or fall, the grill can be fired up during any season to enhance the dining experience! It truly has great impact on overall wellness for both the body and soul.
Yes, it’s Culinary Care™! ENJOY!