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By efisher | Monday, January 06, 2014, 14:42

With winter set to be one of the coldest on record, you'd

think that soups, pies and hearty stews would be on tables of grandparents'

homes across Leigh. But worrying new research shows that the region's older

residents are not always opting to eat hot meals and in some cases, are

skipping meals altogether.


A new survey by Wiltshire Farm Foods, which delivers

hundreds of meals a month to Leigh's homes, has revealed that two-thirds (69%)

of people aged over 60 in the Norwth West don't always eat a hot evening meal.

In fact, 53 per cent sometimes skip a meal altogether with one in ten doing so

up to twice a week.


Forty-four per cent say they sometimes choose a sandwich

over a hot evening meal, 29 per cent would choose a salad and nearly one in

seven (15%) say they sometimes just have a cup of tea rather than a meal. When

skipping meals altogether, a third of over 60s blame lack of appetite while 18%

say they don't have time to cook. And while viewings figures for Masterchef and

the Bake Off continue to go through the roof, when it comes to being in the

kitchen, more than one in ten (13%) over 60s say they lack interest in cooking.


As we head into winter, Wiltshire Farm Foods is reminding

residents how hot meals are often better for you than colder alternatives,

while eating three meals a day is proven to keep your body warmer.


The science of eating a hot meal

The big cooking myth is that nutrients are lost in the

cooking process. In fact, steamed vegetables and grilled meats are often better

for you because the cooking process makes the food more easily digestible. Raw

foods only start breaking down when you eat them, which is harder work for your

body, but also means you won't absorb as much goodness from the food. What's

more, eating three meals a day is actually proven to keep you warmer, as your

body increases its temperature during digestion.


David Barker at Wiltshire Farm Foods for Leigh, comments

"Grandparents are often seen as the pioneers of wholesome family meals, but

just like everyone else, they sometimes don't have time to cook or just don't

feel like cooking or eating a hot meal. But as we head into winter, it's

important to understand the nutritional benefits of eating a hot meal.


"If you're struggling with appetite choose something like

soup or prepare a smaller portion of casserole or hotpot rather than snack on a

sandwich or cup of tea. If you find cooking a chore, stockpile portions in the

freezer. This helps you resist the temptation to buy junk foods such as

biscuits and crisps, which contain "empty calories". This advice is even more

important for residents over 75, as eating well in later life is the main way

to keep your strength up during cold winter days."


Wiltshire Farm Foods offers residents in Leigh home delivery

of more than 250 dishes designed by the company's resident dietitian to be

nutritionally balanced and easy to prepare. Customers can choose from mini

meals through to full size portions, as well as hearty plates with low fat, low

salt, vegetarian and gluten-free options available for residents with dietary




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