Degree Name

Master of Science


Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences


Quantitative nutritional guidelines are one way the central kitchen of any food service can translate dietary recommendations into a useable form. In the case of this project, the aim was to develop quantitative criteria based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines (ADG) for an elderly population. The average age of the approximately 1700 residents that the central kitchen that is the focus of this report caters for is 78 years (age range 55 to 93 + years).

By considering the rationale behind the ADG, and reviewing the changing nutritional requirements with age and the existing quantitative nutritional guidelines, a set of quantitative criteria was developed for this aged population. Criteria were developed for serve size, energy, fat, saturated fat, sodium, iron, fibre, or calcium depending on the category on menu items concerned. The standard recipes from the six week menu cycle were analysed using the 'Diet One' nutrient analysis (Xryis) software programme. Using these nutrient breakdowns the items were subsequently classified as consistent or otherwise with the ADG.

Of the menu items analysed, acceptable levels for energy, fat and sodium were met by approximately three quarters of the items, while saturated fat was acceptable in less than one third of the items. For those items to. which the criteria for fibre were applied, just over one third of the items were acceptable, and for calcium, approximately 10 percent met the desirable level. As a result of these findings, suggestions were made to the central kitchen as to ways in which those recipes suited to modification, may be improved so that they are more consistent with the ADG.

The attribution of a desirable level of a particular nutrient was problematic. It was difficult to ground the criteria in 'hard' scientific fact - trying to determine a 'formula' was difficult. Not many of the existing guidelines have attempted to explain in detail their rationale for reaching their standards. Further, the use of such a tool is meaningless unless the standard recipes are followed. This was not always the case for the organisation under study, although they are attempting to improve this situation. Further research on the acceptability to the target population of the adapted menu items would be of interest.