Catering for vegetarians and vegans
Amanda Woodvine firstname.lastname@example.org
A UK charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for older vegetarians and vegans.
• In October 2014, VfL commissioned a telephone survey of 1,000 care homes...
• There are over 6,500 vegetarians in care homes throughout the UK.
• A quarter of care homes have vegetarian or vegan residents.
• More than average found in Wales (32%).
Why are older residents vegetarian/vegan?
• This is Dorothy – a resident of Brooklands in the Fylde and lifelong vegetarian.
• She may be vegetarian for ethical, religious, health or environmental reasons.
• Under current legislation her wishes should be catered for whatever the reason.
Code of Good Practice
Nutritional considerations for vegetarians and vegans • Energy (calories) • The major nutrients
• Protein – dispelling the ‘protein myth’ • Fat – omega-3 for vegetarians/vegans • Fibre
• Vitamins and minerals to take care over in a care setting
• Older people of all ages need omega-3 fat in their diet.
• Of course vegetarians don’t eat fish or fish oils so they can’t get omega-3 from them.
Omega-3 fat – why? • Protection against heart disease (important for people who’ve
had a heart attack).
• Can relieve rheumatoid arthritis (swollen and tender joints, grip strength and mobility).
• Preventing mental decline, eye health
and immune function.
Omega-3 fat – where?
Fibre • Can help to prevent: - constipation - heart disease - diabetes - some cancers • But if people have a poor appetite, bulky foods can stop them
getting all the nutrients they need.
Fibre Good sources are wholegrain foods: wholemeal bread, pasta
and cereals, brown rice, peas, beans and lentils, and fruits and vegetables.
Shouldn’t need extra bran.
Vitamins and minerals Older people are less able to digest, absorb, use and excrete
vitamins and minerals. According to a national survey, older people living in institutions
may have low intakes or low blood levels of certain vitamins and minerals.
National Diet and Nutrition Survey
Iron-rich foods Good sources for vegetarians/vegans • Fortified breakfast cereals, especially bran flakes (contain 3
times more iron than anything else on this list – see chart that follows)
Iron-rich foods Good sources for vegetarians/vegans • Grains: wholemeal bread, spaghetti
• Pulses (peas, beans – including tofu, and lentils) • Figs – just 3 dried figs supply 29% of daily iron
• Eggs (not for vegans)
• Green veg, especially curly kale
Vitamin C rich foods Vitamin C is the most common deficiency seen in
institutionalised adults (41%). Also, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron. Fresh fruit juice or
a starter containing citrus fruits is a good way to ensure iron from foods is absorbed well.
Vitamin C rich foods Good sources of vitamin C are: • Citrus fruits
• Green vegetables
• Potatoes (just under the skin)
B vitamins: B1 (thiamin) and folate • B vitamins are water soluble which means they are not stored
for long in the body. So try to include some of these foods every day.
• Diets containing too little B vitamins can lead to multiple deficiencies within a few months.
B vitamins: thiamin & folate
B1 Found in wholegrain cereals, nuts, seeds and pulses (peas, all types of beans, including soya, and lentils)
Folate Found in green vegetables, especially broccoli, oranges, nuts, wholegrain cereals
B vitamins: vitamin B12 • Vitamin B12 is needed every day. Vegetarians get B12 from
free-range eggs and dairy.
• Vegans get it from B12-fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, margarines, nutritional yeast (e.g. Marmite) and soya milk.
• B12 from fortified foods is better absorbed than the B12 from meat, poultry and fish.
Vitamin A Comes in two forms • Pre-formed (retinol) – from animal foods.
• So-called ‘pro-vitamin’ form (carotenoids). Over 700 of these,
including beta-carotene and lycopene (the protective pigment in tomato ketchup!)
Vitamin A Hazards of excess As we’ve seen in the survey, 2-3% of older people living in
institutions get too much pre-formed vitamin A (retinol) – found in animal products. Egg yolks, butter, milk, liver and fish oils are rich sources.
Deficiency is rare. But too much can increase risk of
osteoporosis and hip fractures.
Vitamin D • Like calcium, vitamin D is important for good bone health.
• We get most of our vitamin D from summer sunlight on our skin
which is converted into vitamin D.
Further resources vegetarianforlife.org.uk Resources/Publications:
• Nutrition for older vegetarians and vegans • Catering for older vegetarians and vegans • DVD: Catering for vegetarians