Supporting a Vegan Lifestyle in Senior Care Environments


When you’re cooking for diverse groups of people, it is important to be able to adapt recipes to meet peoples’ dietary needs, either because of personal beliefs, religious beliefs, or because of medical necessity. 2.5% of the whole US population is now vegan and this includes many seniors, so those working in care environments have to be mindful of the needs of their residents. It’s essential that you find recipes that can be easily adapted. Ingredients will need to be easily excluded, or included, based on what a person can eat.

Creating Recipes for Senior Vegans

Meeting the dietary requirements of senior vegans can be a daunting task, especially if you’re running a care facility or similar premises, however it doesn’t have to be. Using simple techniques when creating recipes, you can easily cater to people with all kinds of different diets. Researching is key, as you’ll need to know what people can, and can’t, eat.

When preparing a recipe that will be eaten by a vegan, and a non-vegan, you can easily use a substitute for meat or other foodstuffs that are produced by animals in the vegan version. This could mean using soy milk in one recipe, and normal milk in another. There are also substitutes for meats like beef, chicken and turkey. If someone has another need, for example, like being diabetic, then you’ll need to make sure your recipes are sugar free. There are lots of sugar substitutes, that would be suitable. However, for people who aren’t diabetic, they can have the normal version including sugar.

Easy, Adaptable Vegan Meals

Senior vegans are a lot more common than they used to be and many chefs may find they have to cater to at least one senior vegan in their workplace. This can be tricky, especially if you don’t have much knowledge of what foods are used in vegan recipes. Luckily, there are simple techniques you can use to adapt a recipe so that is suitable for vegans. They don’t have to be boring, either, in fact, there are vegan meals from cultures across the world. In fact, there are a lot of substitutes that you can work into your meals with ease, including:

  • Dairy Substitutes: There are lots of options for cheeses, butters and milks; products include Vegan Chao Slices and Sticks, Soy Garden Natural Buttery Spread, Soymilk and Non-Dairy Frozen Desserts.
  • Beef Substitutes: Vegan burgers are available to purchase, such as Black Bean Veggie Burgers, Meatless Meatballs and tofu.
  • Chicken and Turkey Substitutes: Using chicken-free strips can go a long way, as they can be lightly seasoned, grilled or made into a style of your choosing.

Just like any other demographic, seniors choosing a vegan lifestyle, even when living in supported accommodation, need to be respected in their decision. Their choice not to eat animal products is just as valid as the religious dietary requirements of other residents and supporting this lifestyle choice is essential for anyone providing a caring and supportive “like-home” environment for seniors.