As well as meeting care recipients' nutritional needs, it is important that food services also meet their cultural and spiritual needs.
Representing more than simple nourishment, food connects people to their homeland, culture, past and family. It is also central to many people's religious observances and practices.
Respecting the dietary needs and preferences of your care recipients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds will enable them to maintain significant practices, a meaningful connection to the past and a joyful relationship to food.
- Identify and support your care recipients' religious and cultural requirements and preferences concerning diet and food preparation.
- Conduct assessments and reviews of dietary needs in the preferred language of your care recipients.
- Present menu choices in the preferred language of your care recipients.
- Involve care recipients in menu planning and food preparation (where appropriate).
- Regularly include your care recipients' favourite meals in menu plans - ask care recipients and/or family members for recipes and instructions on the correct way of preparing these dishes.
- Celebrate special occasions with a culturally appropriate dish, and invite families, friends and community members.
- Consult a dietician or nutritionist for assistance in modifying the menu to incorporate culturally appropriate and nutritionally sound meals.
- Obtain specific items and meals from external sources, where necessary.
- Ensure that staff responsible for food preparation are familiar with dietary preferences and culturally determined dietary restrictions of your care recipients, and provide training as required.
- Ensure that staff responsible for assessment of dietary requirements have been trained in cultural awareness and appropriate communication.
Additional Resources and Links
Happy Eating Project
Mealtime strategies developed for carers and family members of people with dementia. Available in English, Italian, Macedonian and Greek.
- Food and Celebrations
Better Health Channel
A brief summary of how different countries use food in different ways to help celebrate special occasions like Christmas, New Year, weddings and birthdays.
- SBS Food and Recipes
Recipes from over 30 different countries. Search recipes by cuisine: African, Asian-Pacific, Americas, European and Middle-Eastern.
Use our National Resources Search for additional resources and links including resources developed under the Community Partners Program (CPP) and the Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) Initiative.