Food & dining at Aveley Lodge

“Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is the best” Anon

Here at Aveley Lodge, we are committed to helping our residents to eat well and stay hydrated. Our residents enjoy nutritious and delicious choices at every mealtime from breakfast each morning, a two-course main meal at lunch and a tasty tea every day. All our meals are prepared freshly each day onsite by our dedicated catering team. The fruit, vegetables and herbs we serve are either grown in our very own garden by the residents as part of their Gardening Club or are sourced from our local greengrocer. Our fresh meat also comes from our local butchers, helping us to support the local community.

Our catering department currently consists of our highly qualified chef, Phil who has a wealth of catering experience and Diana, a long-serving member of our team. In 2016, Aveley’s catering team were regional finalists at the East of England Care Awards in the award category for Care Home Nutrition and Hydration. In 2017, they were finalists in the prestigious, national CaringUK Awards for Catering Team of the Year and finalists for the Care Home Chef Award at the East of England Care Awards 2017. In 2018, our team were finalists at the East of England Care Awards for the Care Home Chef Award and were finalists again for Catering Team of the Year at the Caring UK Awards 2018. Our chefs undertake regular training and development to help them cook to the highest standards and create nutritionally balanced and varied gourmet delights.

“Food is our common ground, a universal experience” James Beard

Each day at Aveley Lodge starts with a hearty breakfast, including a cooked option. Lunch includes a two-course main meal with a lighter, alternative option available. This main meal includes a hot main course plus plenty of vegetables and a delicious pudding. Teatime consists of a selection of finger sandwiches, soups, jacket potatoes, hot light bites etc. Morning and Afternoon tea/coffee with fresh, homemade accompaniments are served every day and residents can also help themselves to snacks of fruit and various drinks around the home 24 hours a day or ask our friendly staff to assist. A residents food preference and any special dietary needs and/or food allergies, are noted in their care plan and this is updated regularly. Many residents need to have a specialist diet either for medical, religious, or cultural reasons and our catering team have the culinary expertise to produce tempting, nutritious and delicious options, whatever a resident’s needs.

“Memories are made when gathered around a table” Anon

We offer a dining experience that enables residents to maintain their independence, dine with dignity and encourages social skills. While residents have the option to dine in their own room, we actively encourage residents to eat together in one of our three dining areas so they can make the most of this valuable social time. Our dining tables are always laid with full tablecloths, place mats, napkins, assortment of condiments and flowers to help enhance the dining experience while the food is served by our dedicated care team. The dining tables are also decorated and dressed appropriately during food theme days and special events such as Chinese New Year and Christmas. We love it when friends and relatives join our residents for meals too and they are always welcome at our food taster days, themed events and afternoon teas (depending on the current Covid19 guidelines)

If one-to-one support is required, a care assistant will sit with the resident to help them eat their meal in comfort or to help them to simply cut their food for them if required. We have also given a lot of thought to the dining experience of our residents who are living with dementia too. We use a range of assistance tools such as high-rimmed crockery, adapted cutlery and handled beakers. We offer a full range of soft food options too for people who have difficulty in swallowing. Everything is made the same way with the same nutritional values but served in a soft, easy-to-eat form with the same visual appeal. We try to keep noise and bustle to a minimum during mealtimes, avoiding any distractions that may be off-putting. Mealtimes are kept as relaxing as possible so that residents can enjoy their meal and eat at their own pace.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well” Virginia Woolf

The experience of dining also plays a key part in helping us to maintain a quality of life. Our residents are surveyed regularly, and they tell us what they’d like to see on the menu for main meals, puddings, teatime bites and snacks. There is always a choice of menu options at each mealtime, with at least two choices of main course at lunch and alternatives at teatime. Our catering team change the menus seasonally but there are always the classics available on the menu, such as fish and chips on a Friday and roast dinners on a Sunday.

“A party without a cake is just a meeting” Julia Child

From residents’ birthdays, special anniversaries and family dining events to Christmas, Easter and Food theme days, there’s always an excuse for our catering team to produce fun or seasonally festive foods for our residents, relatives, and visitors to enjoy.

If you used to enjoy cooking at home, then it doesn’t have to stop just because you’re in a care home. Here at Aveley Lodge, we actively encourage our residents to join in cooking and food preparation such as preparing the daily vegetables with our Catering Team. Cooking Club and Phil’s Eats and Treats club are two of the popular clubs on offer here. It’s also a good chance to try out new foods and baking techniques if you are not so confident with cooking or are keen to start a new interest. Cooking Club works closely alongside our Gardening Club with residents having a say with which vegetables and herbs they’d like to grow, pick, and eat. We also encourage our residents to play a part in preparing for meals such as laying the table for lunch or dinner and wiping and clearing away afterwards if they so desire.

Here at Aveley Lodge, we strive to make our dining experiences as fulfilling as possible as well as ensuring dignity, respect, and independence in every aspect of life.