Food and Nutrition

A healthy dish filled with vegetables and fruits

Published on November 3, 2016

Generally nursing homes must provide each resident a nourishing, palatable, well–balanced diet that meets daily nutritional and special dietary needs. Specific legal requirements include requiring the nursing home:

  • Serve at least three meals daily, at regular times, with not more than a 14–hour span between the evening meal and breakfast;
    Offer snacks at bedtime;
  • Reasonably accommodate resident food and mealtime preferences;
  • Offer a food substitute of similar nutritional value if a resident refuses food;
  • Serve food attractively, at the proper temperature, and in a form to meet individual needs;
  • Prepare and follow menus that meet national dietary standards;
  • Plan menus with consideration of the residents’ cultural backgrounds and food habits;
  • Post the current and following week’s menus for regular and special diets;
  • Prepare food using methods that conserve nutritive value, flavor and appearance;
  • Provide therapeutic diets to residents with nutritional problems, subject to physician orders;
  • Ensure that a resident’s ability to eat does not diminish unless it is medically unavoidable;
  • Provide individualized help to residents who need assistance with meals, offering enough assistance and time so that residents can finish meals;
  • Provide special eating utensils to residents who need them;
  • Provide table service to all residents who desire it, served at tables of appropriate height;
  • Store, prepare, distribute and serve food under sanitary conditions.