For global senior citizens at Nattandiya Home Resort: Health-oriented five-meals a day Diet Plan | Sunday Observer

For global senior citizens at Nattandiya Home Resort: Health-oriented five-meals a day Diet Plan

23 July, 2017

Senior citizens from across the world expected to take up long stay residence in Sri Lanka’s first- ever exclusive home resort, coming up in Nattandiya will be hosted to five mini-meals a day, instead of the usual three meals.

“And these five mini-meals or the light meals are to be based on a dietary regime tailor-made for the 55- 85 age group,” Dr. Dietmar Doering, Chairman of the Consortium that launched this hospitality venture said.

Health oriented concept in Geriatrics

“Five light meals a day has now gained general acceptance as a health-oriented concept in Geriatrics. But, as regards our hospitality project, I must say there is fulfillment of a deeper human yearning underlying this concept,” said Dr. Dietmar Doering.

The construction work on the innovative ‘second home’ project for senior citizens, mainly targeted for those from the West, launched by the German – Sri Lankan Project Management Consortium (GSPMC) several months ago is nearing completion and will be ready for opening by July next year, according to Dr. Doering. “We have planned to take in the first batch of senior citizens from Germany soon after the opening,” he said.

The basic infrastructure of the Home Resort for the senior citizens nestling right in the middle of a 2.5-acre block of land surrounded by paddy fields is already in place. Ten cabanas, a sprawling garden, a 25- square -metre swimming pool, an indoor stadium badminton and tennis and a restaurant are among its main features.

Five meals a day ideal for senior citizens

“We have considered that providing a healthy well- balanced diet to senior citizens is as important as providing recreational facilities and a pleasant environment conducive for their mental and physical health. Therefore, we have enlisted the services of a qualified nutritionist from Germany. He is Thore Blade,” said Dr. Doering.

“An eating schedule for elders is as important as a healthy diet. Bade has found through several years of research that five small or light meals a day is more suitable for senior citizens than the traditional three meals a day. Let Bade himself explain the whys and wherefores of his five meals a day formula,” he said.

Introducing Bade, Dr. Doering said: “Bade is a nutritionist and a specialist in domestic management, group catering, diet therapy, hygiene and marketing. He has also specialized in food processing. Through a study conducted for over six months here, he has designed a concept of a healthy diet, tailor-made for senior citizens in the 55-85 age group, who are expected at the Nattandiya ‘second home’ for a long stay, beginning next year.”

Bade, a graduate of the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Bernburg, Lower Saxony, Germany, said, he is in Sri Lanka as part of his practical education to gather valuable experiences in his field of labour. Referring to the research he is doing here, he said: “Let me first explain what is new and innovative about the concept in Nattandiya. It is a fully scientific based aspect of menu and nutrition for the senior residents. It covers every single essential nutrient, special menus for various illnesses, social needs, good cooking practices as well as wide food variation.”

Five light meals instead of 3 big meals

According to Bade the main aspect of his concept of diet for elders is the eating schedule: five light meals a day instead of the usual three meals a day practice in Sri Lanka.

Merits of five meals a day

Explaining the merits of the concept of five light or mini-meals, Bade said: “This way of distributing meals over the day promotes a healthy living by preventing or toning down illnesses which are a special concern in old age. For example, five light meals a day would help prevent diabetes and also better control your blood sugar and hormones too. When we take a big meal, the sugar level in our blood goes up, but once it is digested, the blood sugar level drops. The bigger the meal, the bigger the fall! The ingestion of food several times a day also keeps your energy level stable which helps to cope with the day’s work. Several meals a day prevents dehydration, because you drink water after every meal. Another advantage is that you can prevent gaining weight by fighting hunger through several small meals. The under supply of food keeps your appetite up and enables better digestion.”

A basic psychological need

Bade said, several meals a day fulfils a very basic psychological need which perhaps is as important as the food-related factors in regard to ensuring a healthy lifestyle. “In fact, Dr. Dietmar referred to this psychological need when he said that our concept fulfils a deeper yearning in the human heart. What he meant is, every human being yearns for company. The very presence of someone you like around you dispels any feeling of loneliness. Loneliness is felt in a greater measure when you are old. And, the five meals spread over the day is also a good measure against loneliness because the occupants of the proposed ‘second home’ will meet together in the restaurant several times a day. Also, working social networks are one of the greatest measures to keep you healthy, young and your mind working, so that you are less likely to suffer from different kinds of mental degeneration and unsound mental states.”

A database

For the purpose of designing a healthy and balanced diet and an eating schedule for senior citizens, Bade has used a database he himself created while being an undergraduate at Anhalt University in Germany under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Steinel.

“This database serves as a handy tool for group caterers to organize meals. Besides, it helps calculate all important nutritional values and highlight allergic components. The database, combined with a monitor helps a guest at a restaurant to make an easy assessment of the meals provided and ascertain whether they contain ingredients he is intolerant to. I have recommended several hundreds of recipes to give the guest or the customer a wide choice,” Bade explained.

Standards and guidelines in use by food and nutrition facilities throughout Germany are also to be introduced in Sri Lanka. Most of these are standards and guidelines developed by the DGE (translated: German Nutrition Society), the go-to science institution for food matters in Germany.

Locally produced organic food

An essential part of the diet to be provided to senior citizens of the Nattandiya Home Resort will consist locally produced organic food as far as possible. “Consortium chairman Dr. Doering is particular that we provide organic food produced locally to support the local farmer while encouraging him to take to organic food production. Our chairman says, we would be contributing our mite towards reducing environmental pollution and creating jobs for the local people as well, when we provide locally produced organic food to the senior citizens who are going to be our long stay- guests.”

“Our example will create a domino effect!”

There is a growing demand worldwide for organic food. And, it serves as an effective tourist attraction. We hope the example we are going to set will create a domino effect leading to organic food production on a larger scale, said Bade.

“Sri Lanka has only one organic shop so far. We hope the country will soon witness the opening of a chain of organic shops across the country to cater to the growing demand of organic food supplies by the hospitality sector in particular.,” he said.