Food for thought: The importance of good nutrition at Exemplar Health Care

7 April 2021

Healthy Eating Week at Exemplar Health Care

Good nutrition is a vital element of maintaining good health and providing the energy that we need every day. At Exemplar Health Care, we’re proud of our fresh and varied menus which provide a healthy and balanced diet for people living in our care homes.

Eating well and physical activity is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Good nutrition and a varied diet can reduce the risk of some diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, reduce high blood pressure and improve your ability to fight off illness.

This is incredibly important for people living with complex health needs and conditions. Care providers have a huge responsibility to ensure that care home residents receive the nutrients and minerals that they need to stay healthy.

Our care home Chefs work closely with residents and clinical colleagues to produce tailored meal plans that provide a balanced diet and are full of foods that people enjoy to eat.

They do specialist training to learn about the dietary requirements of the people we support, including catering for those who have chewing and swallowing difficulties and how certain medications or conditions can affect people’s sense of taste.

Chefs are also involved in the care planning process to understand people’s needs and likes, which they can build into meal planning.

Where possible, we encourage residents to take part in cooking activities in our care homes, such as independent cooking sessions – this is a great way for people to develop their independent living skills whilst learning about the benefits of nutrition.

In this blog, Jack Shipman, the Catering Manager at Greenside Court, talks about his experience of working as a Chef in a care home and how he prepares meals to ensure that residents maintain a healthy relationship with food.

How many years have you worked for Exemplar Health Care?

I’ve worked at Greenside Court, one of Exemplar Health Care’s homes, for 18 years.

How did you begin your career to become a chef?

I started helping my mother in the kitchen from the age of 12 and I fell in love with cooking.

This inspired me to follow in her footsteps and learn the ‘family secrets’ – and was a great way to learn the basics.

I joined the Army Catering Corps in 1977 where I was able to develop my knowledge of the culinary world.

What type of healthy foods do you cook for residents at Greenside Court?

The aim is to make delicious healthy dishes for every meal at Greenside Court.

I try to plan meals that include all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that we need to stay healthy, in particular calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and fibre.

How do you approach designing menus at Greenside Court?

The meals that we cook are mainly chosen by the residents themselves.

I take a person-centred approach to meal planning, considering the personal preferences and physical requirements of our residents, as well as their cultural background and experiences that may impact meal choices.

I need to be flexible in my role as we support people of different ages, and from a diverse range of backgrounds, which can impact their food preferences. 

How do you think your food impacts the residents?

When it comes to cooking, I aim to tick all the boxes on nutrition and apply a healthy eating approach to all meals. This supports people to stay healthy and well.

I also encourage the residents at Greenside Court to pick their own food choices which empowers them be more independent and ensures that they enjoy meal times.

Meal times are often a social occasion, so being passionate about what I do and cooking food that people enjoy, can have a big impact on people’s lives.

What is your favourite healthy meal that the residents enjoy the most?

One of my favourite dishes is a cheese and tomato pie in a shortcrust pastry.

The ingredients are grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, eggs, shortcrust pastry and pepper.

  • Strain the juice from the tomatoes and mix it with the cheese and eggs
  • Line a dish with pastry and place the mixture in it, and then apply the pastry lid
  • Add an egg wash over the top and cook in the oven on gas mark 6
  • Serve with homemade chips or creamed potatoes and broad beans

About Greenside Court care home in Rotherham

Rated 'Outstanding' by the CQC, Greenside Court in Rotherham is a nursing home for adults living with complex needs.

The home two 10-bed units, Heshon and Bernard unit, plus two OneCare apartments, which specialise in supporting people living with complex physical disabilities, neuro disabilities, Huntington’s disease and high dependency nursing needs.

Read more about Greenside Court here. 

Find specialist care services near you 

Exemplar Health Care has 32 complex need care homes across England, in Yorkshire and Humber, the North East, North West and Midlands.

Find your local specialist care service here.

If you’re looking for a complex care placement, get in touch with our specialist Referrals Team by calling 01709 565777 or emailing