COMMUNITY CHEF SUPPORTS NUTRITIONAL WELL-BEING FOR THE AGED COMMUNITY CHEF, CSIRO AND FIAL SME SOLUTION CENTRE PROJECT 2014 Healthier meals for the community’s most vulnerable BACKGROUND Community Chef is the largest provider of prepared meals for the aged and disability care sector in Australia. They are passionate about providing a leadership role in advancing the nutrition of meals. Community Chef collaborated with CSIRO and Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) through the SME Solution Centre to support the long term food security and nutritional well-being of those most vulnerable in the community. RESULTS “Our recommendations set a benchmark for defining the appropriate energy and protein content of various meals. This allows us to mix and match meal components and still meet the overall nutritional requirements of the meal. It became clear that the current Home and Community Care meal service guidelines, although updated in 2013, may need revising in light of considerable changes in life expectancies and dietary, social and cultural behaviours which affect the specific dietary requirements for aged populations.” Joe Ciccarone – CEO Community Chef CHALLENGE Feedback from their clients was that current meal sizes were too large so they were not eating all the food provided and not getting adequate daily nutrition. They needed a process for modifying the recipes, to increase the nutritional density and reduced portion size of meals, but still conform to or exceed the Commonwealth and Victorian Government Home and Community Care (HACC) guidelines. RESEARCH APPROACH CSIRO dietitians, trained in nutritional profiling of foods and food components, assessed and remodeled some of the company’s most popular menu items. They looked at total energy, protein and a range of macro and micronutrients of concern for the aged population at risk of malnutrition such as fibre, zinc, iron and calcium. CSIRO also matched the meals to the HACC guidelines and the Nutrient Reference Values specific to the ageing populations as set by the National Health and Medical Research Council. To assist the company with future recipe development CSIRO developed energy and protein recommendations required for nutritionally dense, reduced portion meal components for a wide range of soups, desserts and sides.
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