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Senior woman and man wearing blue holding up wine glasses at dinner
November 16, 2022

“Appy” Holidays! 4 Reasons to Host an Appetizers-Only Dinner Party for Your Aging Services Community (Free Recipes Inside)

With the holiday season approaching, odds are you’re looking for inspiration for your community’s big feast. And while a classic meal like turkey and all the trimmings is always a hit – this year, low-staffing circumstances may have you thinking outside the box.

A meal focused on finger foods and appetizers may just be the perfect way to bring everyone’s favorite flavors of the season to the table in a time-friendly fashion. Plus, your residents will love the variety, fun and independence this kind of spread gives them.

So, are you ready to host an “appy” holiday season? Keep reading to discover why you should consider making appetizers the main event this year. Plus – get some free MealSuite recipes for your menu!


1. Finger foods support mealtime independence

Senior man with mustache wearing a blue shirt and senior woman wearing apron preparing appetizers in kitchen

Appetizers, especially those in “bite size” or “finger food” form, can be the perfect solution for residents who may have trouble with utensils, something especially common for those living with dementia.

This can not only boost dignity and independence during the meal, it will also save your staff significant time from assisting with cutlery.


2. Appetizers can be simpler & quicker to prepare

holiday flatbread with cranberries, pecans and brie cheese

Forget about spending hours peeling, boiling, chopping and roasting – especially that turkey that can take you all day! Easy-to-prepare appetizers can still bring everyone’s favorite seasonal flavors, while only requiring quick assembly and, possibly, a few minutes in the oven. Here are some tips for preparing apps with ease:

  • Opt for ingredients with little-to-no prep work involved like jams, cheeses, cured meats, grapes, crackers and breads
  • Take “shortcuts” like using prepared dips and spreads, phyllo dough and wonton wrappers
  • Include a few no-cook options like caprese skewers and smoked salmon cucumber bites to save oven space
  • Your entire menu selection doesn’t have to be homemade! Work in a couple of frozen appetizers to save time
  • Make and refrigerate or freeze what you can ahead of time
  • Boost visual appeal with easy garnishes like halved cherry tomatoes or green onion

FREE Download: Easy Appetizer Recipes from MealSuite

Homemade baked brie pastry, stuffed mushrooms and shrimp cocktail

Look no further for menu inspiration! We’ve collected three of our favorite easy app recipes from our database ready to download and enjoy.

Click through to get all 3 delicious multi-scale recipes perfect for your seasonal spread:

  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Baked Brie in Phyllo
  • Stuffed Mushrooms

Get the FREE recipes!


3. Finger foods may help increase intake

Senior asian man wearing pink plaid shirt eating a rice crackers

As you know, aging can lead to poor appetite – something that, unfortunately, doesn’t take a holiday. Finger foods are suggested as a great alternative to a full meal because they can be helpful in encouraging a greater caloric intake through small, digestible portions.

You know what they say: variety is the spice of life! It’s shown that a greater variety of foods lead to increased calorie consumption compared to offering the same amount of a single food. A plateful of small appetizers can offer so much variety of tastes, textures and aromas that may encourage residents to eat more than they would with a main of few components.


4. It’s a fun change in routine

Younng woman with white sweater serving senior man in wheelchair

When the holidays are all about creating special moments, an all-appetizers dinner can be a fun shake up in routine! Your residents will love building their own perfect plate with delicious bites served family-style or as a buffet.

Kick up the magic by setting tables with festive napkins and plates, and keep the connections flowing with these Printable Holiday Conversation Starters.


Whether you’re starting a new tradition with appetizers or serving a classic meal, we hope you’re walking away with inspiration to help you bring warmth, comfort and smiles to your residents this holiday season.

Before you go, don’t forget to download your FREE MealSuite Appetizer Recipes right here.

Happy holidays from all of us at MealSuite!

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