My mom is in a nursing home for many reasons. She's okay with being there but her pet peeve is the stuff(doesn't look like food) they place on the plates for lunch and dinner. Breakfast they go for the basics so that's okay. But lunch and dinner. Meats are overseasoned, pasta not cooked well, things that look very unhealthy for someone on a diabetic diet.
I try to keep some options in her room so she doesn't starve. glucernas, v8 low sodium cans, canned beets, corn, & tomato, bag of spinach, kidney bean salad, green apples, a mix of raw veggies.
She isn't stubborn. She attempts to eat as much as she can from the plate. But some days if she didn't have her backups she'd have nothing. The majority of the residents don't touch the food either. I know they probably have a budget. But seriously is there no creativity.

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Did you ever watch Jamie Oliver's school dinners or food revolution programs? I think it is a similar mindset across the mass produced food industry, cooks don't change because they are comfortable and change is difficult, it takes planning and imagination (and the support of management) to actually bring about changes. Any business that caters events/weddings/etc knows it is possible to turn out a 5 star menu for a crowd, serving overcooked/undercooked and unimaginative fare that is just slopped on a plate without regard to presentation would put them out of business in a hurry.
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The food is inedible for many reasons, the chief one being, there are so many meals being prepared and there just isn't the time nor space for creativity...sadly. Also, very likely the job of chef is a poorly paid position and the person(s) may be uninvested in making meals tasty.

Too much seasonings is a cheap way to bring "flavor" to overcooked, bland food.

When my son was in the hospital for a week following brain surgery and a stroke, I had to hand feed him. He finally asked me one day why I sniffed his food before feeding him--I told him everything was grey and I was trying to decide if it needed salt or sugar.

Mother's stay in a sub-par rehab center was a bust. The food was so awful. Mushy, overcooked, dried out--you name it. She refused to eat, so we had to bring in meals to her, 3 times a day--sometimes she'd call and say breakfast was OK and to not bring that. We moved her to a smaller, nicer facility and the food quality was amazingly good. She opted for in-room dining (extra charge) but she did like the food. It looked "chef prepared" and was nicely plated and hot/cold when needed. We did pay a lot more for the better care, though.

There must be someone at the center who can be spoken to about creating better meals. My guess is they receive huge quantities of pre-packaged stuff and just add water and stir...from potatoes to pudding--all the same co. supplying.

Do the staff at the home eat the meals? If not, you probably have reason to think the food is lousy.

Talk to the facility's director. Maybe you can bring about a change, but it may come at a cost. Fresh fruits and veggies, meats and sauces, prepared tastefully and presented in a nice way for 100 or so people at one time, 3 times a day--daunting work.

You are smart to have backup food for mom. Most residents do have a small stash of their own food.

Part of me is very sympathetic to the cooking staff--trying to plan meals for a family of 7, making it interesting and healthy AND edible AND enticing for everyone for 30+ years left me exhausted.
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Alesndy, not only are some senior facilities heavy handed on the seasonings, many restaurants are doing the same thing. I've crossed many a restaurant off because of that.

Does the nursing home have a resident committee where the committee deals with is being served? Or are the residents mainly not able to communicate how they feel about the food? One place where my Dad lived, he was on the Food Board, with some other residents to get their opinion on the meals.

One would think with plates of food just being picked at, that the chef would say to him/herself, maybe some changes need to be made.
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