Collective purchasing will save your business money on all areas of consumable supply.

October is National Cholesterol Month!

This month is dedicated to raising awareness of cholesterol and funds to enable Heart UK to carry out their life-saving work.

What is Cholesterol

Cholesterol plays a vital role in how your body works; It is in every cell in your body, and it’s especially important in your brain, nerves and skin.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is made in the liver. It’s found in some foods too. We all need some in our bodies just to keep us ticking over but having too much can clog up your arteries and lead to health problems in the future.

By getting a simple cholesterol test and making positive lifestyle changes, most people can keep their cholesterol levels healthy.

Strawberry Smoothie On Glass Jar

Cholesterol has three main jobs:

  • It’s part of the outer layer, or membrane, of all your body’s cells
  • It’s used to make vitamin D and steroid hormones which keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy
  • It’s used to make bile, which helps to digest the fats you eat

High cholesterol is very common, but most people don’t know they have it. This is why everyone should have a cholesterol check. 

High Cholesterol

If your cholesterol is raised, there are treatments available if you need them. But it’s usually possible to lower levels naturally with healthy lifestyle changes.

What does high cholesterol mean?

Anyone can have high cholesterol, even if you are young, slim, eat well and exercise. That’s because high levels can be caused by different things.

High levels of cholesterol in your blood can clog up your arteries. Over time, this can lead to serious problems. If clogged, blood cannot flow around the arteries as easily. This increases the risk of problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

Many people believe that high cholesterol is due to poor diet and lifestyle. Whilst this can be the case, people who are slim and healthy can also have high cholesterol; it can be genetic!

However, living a healthy lifestyle can keep your cholesterol levels at the recommended level. Not only that but can reduce other risks such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Cutting down on saturated foods, smoking and alcohol will all have a positive effect on your blood and heart health!

Mediterranean diet

Basing your diet on the foods people eat in the Mediterranean is a great way to look after your heart.

We have known for some time that people living in countries along the Mediterranean appear to have less heart disease than people living in the UK and northern Europe.

Health professionals now believe that this may be partly due to the foods that make up the traditional Mediterranean way of eating.

The Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish and unsaturated fats such as olive oil. It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods. This is now seen as a good way of eating – both for a healthy heart and for general well-being.

Why is a Mediterranean diet good for you?

  • Much less of the fat comes from saturated sources like butter, fatty meats, pastry or dairy fat.
  • It’s rich in monounsaturated fats which are heart healthy, such as olive oil and nuts.
  • It’s a good source of omega 3 fatty acids from seafood, especially oily fish which are good for your heart health too.
  • rich in potassium, which comes from wholegrain cereals, fruit, vegetables and nuts.
  • It’s rich in fibre including soluble fibre from wholegrain cereals, vegetables, fruit, beans and peas.
  • rich in antioxidants including vitamins E and C, carotenoids and flavonoids. rich in B vitamins including folic acid.
Roasted meat on plates near salads with herbs near glasses

Organic your September

We are currently facing climate change, diet-related ill-health, and widespread decline in wildlife. As a result – changes need to be made – hence Organic September.

Organic September is a month-long campaign to raise awareness of the many benefits of organic food and farming, which include: 

Supporting biodiversity and wildlife

Helping to combat climate change

The highest standards of animal welfare

Reduced exposure to pesticides

Food as it should be, and food you can trust

Look out for the organic logo this September and you’ll be helping to protect wildlife and reduce your exposure to potentially harmful pesticides and chemicals. All whilst supporting the farmers who work hard to grow our food!

What does organic mean?

Organic is a way of farming and producing food using methods that benefits and protect our whole food system.

It means higher levels of animal welfare, lower levels of pesticides, no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers. Plus a more environmentally sustainable management of the land and natural environment – therfore protecting our planet and wildlife!

Organic Food Month

Myths around going Organic

 It Is Unnecessarily Expensive

Organic food isn’t always more expensive, however, some organic products do cost more, and as a result this puts people off. However, it is important to know why Organic sometimes costs more. From the extra time and effort it takes to create the product, to knowing it is better for the environment and animals; there are reasons for having to pay slightly more for organic items.

Organic is unscientific – it’s only for hippies!

Whilst organic agriculture is a return to more traditional forms of farming in many ways, this doesn’t mean it’s old-fashioned. As Organic farmers can’t use pesticides in the way other farmers can, they need to be innovative to solve problems.

as well as protecting the animals, organic farmers are leading the way in developing innovative solutions to our plastic packaging and waste crises – whether it’s developing biodegradable coffee bags, plastic-free box schemes, or beer from an unused tomato crop, finding solutions to these issues is a top priority for a food system that’s all about closing the loop.

Why Organic?

Simply put Organic is better for our planet. The reduction in pesticides and harmful chemicals protects our delicate ecosystem. The higher welfare for animals means they are having a better life, and above all – it’s better for humans.

By eating organic, we aren’t consuming GM foods or pesticides. We aren’t eating meat that has been pumped full of unnecessary antibiotics, and we are eating the correct foods at the correct times!

We all know strawberries in the UK in June are amazing, but eating strawberries, shipped from Portugal in November – they just don’t taste the same! This is because we should be eating local foods that are grown at the correct time of the year. This ensures we are eating them in the best state – And Organic helps this!

Join the Organic movement

With more of us seeking to make choices that minimise our impact on the planet; there’s never been a better time to be a part of the organic movement.

Organic offers a simple, trusted way to be more sustainable in our daily lives.

There are so many ways you can be involved with the movement; from learning more about what organic agriculture means and sharing this knowledge with friends and family. To supporting the organic farmers in your local community and learning to grow your own at home.

The soil association has put together a list of other small things you can try. Because by working with nature, our small changes all add up to make a world of difference! Read them here!

Afternoon Tea Week 2021 – 9th August

Afternoon Tea is a British tradition that is becoming more and more popular. It is such a lovely way of spending a couple of relaxing hours with friends or family. Few things are more decadent than settling down about 3 pm to a meal dedicated to pure indulgence. From cream tea to high tea or champagne tea, the tradition can be enjoyed in various forms, for an afternoon break or a special celebration.

Beautiful Christmas Table Setting


It was first introduced in England in 1840 by the Duchess of Bedford, Anna. She would become hungry around 4 pm and did not want to wait until her evening meal at 8 pm. So she asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake be brought to her room in the late afternoon – and just like that, the tradition was born!

The trend quickly caught on when the Duchess invited friends to join her for tea in her rooms at Woburn Abbey. Over time this became a fashionable social event for the upper-classes who would flaunt their wealth with tea parties in their extravagant gardens and at popular tea rooms and hotels.

Modern Affair

Far from the Duchess’s original modest meal, afternoon tea as we know it has become quite the occasion in the UK. This indulgent experience can be enjoyed in many ways from a traditional tea room, café or garden centre to a more lavish themed experience in one of Britain’s finest hotels.

National Afternoon Tea Week

It’s not all scones and clotted cream, nowadays there’s a brilliant selection of unusual themed events that can be found around the UK.  In celebration of ‘National Afternoon Tea Week next week’ this week, here is a look at some of the more unusual offerings from around the country.

Japanese Afternoon Tea

The experience at Silk restaurant in the 5* Courthouse Hotel in London is just the thing if you are looking for a more exotic dining event. A fabulous Afternoon Tea for two that offers flavours from the Far East with a wide selection of sweet and savoury Japanese treats, teas and a glass of plum wine for each guest. The Courthouse Hotel is a unique setting that has retained much of its original features from the time when it was a working courtroom.

The Original Sweetshop Afternoon Tea

The Chesterfield Hotel in Mayfair offers a sweet cart afternoon tea- full of sweet themed cakes from cola slice to jazzies extreme! if you have a sweet tooth this is the place for you!

Donuts and Bagel Display

At Home

Of course, going out and spoiling yourself with a lavish treat is nice once in a while, but you can also create your perfect afternoon tea at home. Below are some scrummy recipes to tempt your friends and family with.

Selection of summer sandwiches

Goat’s cheese, walnut & roasted pepper, lemony cucumber & prawn and creamy egg & cress; three sandwiches perfect for the whole family. Find the recipes for all three here.


Served with clotted cream and strawberry jam; you could even customise them with currents and all spice. They are simple to make and loved by all. Find the recipe here.

Savoury Cheese scones

Savoury scones make a nice change and these are delicious on their own, buttered or with leftover roasted meats and salad. The recipe can be found here.

Chocolate cake

The cake is rich, moist and so, so easy to make. Everyone loves chocolate cake. You can find the recipe here.


No afternoon tea would be complete without the perfect cuppa. Selecting a great cup of cha is often largely overlooked by people putting on or attending these events. Below is a rundown of what type of tea you should use. Don’t forget to use China teacups to get the best tasting brew possible!

Silver Round Accessory With Storage
  • Earl Grey gets its citrusy flavour from the essential oil of bergamot (an orange-like fruit). The natural sweetness of Earl Grey lends itself to pairing with many afternoon tea sweets, like scones and shortbread cookies.
  • English breakfast is one of the most popular blended teas in Britain. A traditional blend of leaves originating from Assam, Ceylon, and Kenya. Pair this cuppa with any lemon flavouring cake for the perfect combo.
  • Darjeeling black teas are a classic pairing for afternoon tea foods. You might have a choice between spring-plucked Darjeeling First Flush and summer-plucked Darjeeling Second Flush. Darjeeling First Flush is more floral and green in flavour, while Darjeeling Second Flush has a distinctive fruity flavour. Both work well with savoury afternoon tea foods, and Second Flush is also great with chocolate, fruity desserts and pastries.
  • Chamomile is a herbal infusion with a floral, apple-like flavour. Many people select it for afternoon tea because it is naturally caffeine-free. It also pairs wonderfully with afternoon tea sweets, especially scones and fruity confections.
  • Brewed on its own or as part of a tea blend, lavender is a common “tea” for afternoon tea. Popular lavender blends include Lavender Earl Grey and herbal blend with ingredients like lavender, chamomile and mint. The sweet, perfumey flavour of a lavender infusion or lavender tea blend is ideal with uncomplicated afternoon tea foods; like scones and Devon cream.

Diabetes – The facts and myths

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition where blood glucose levels become too high.

Diabetes affects up to 27% of care home residents

There are two main types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2.

With type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce any insulin at all. Type 2 diabetes happens when the insulin the body makes either doesn’t work properly or not enough is produced.

What all types of diabetes have in common is that they cause people to have too much glucose (sugar) in their blood. We all need some glucose. It’s what gives us energy. We get glucose when our bodies break down the carbohydrates that we eat or drink. And that glucose is released into our blood.

We also need a hormone called insulin. It’s made by our pancreas, and it’s insulin that allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies. 

If you don’t have diabetes, your pancreas senses when glucose has entered your bloodstream and releases the right amount of insulin, so the glucose can get into your cells. But if you have diabetes, this system doesn’t work. 

Diabetes complications

Over a long period of time, high glucose levels in your blood can seriously damage your heart, your eyes, your feet and your kidneys. These are known as the complications of diabetes.

But with the right treatment and care, people can live a healthy life. And there’s much less risk that someone will experience these complications. 

Living with diabetes is difficult. There are so many factors to consider and it can be stressful knowing what’s best.


The Eatwell Guide People with diabetes should follow a healthy balanced diet, the same advice given to the rest of the population

2 . There is no need for a special ‘diabetic’ diet and sugar doesn’t have to be avoided. The Eatwell Guide shows the different types of foods and drinks, and in what proportions, to have a healthy, balanced diet

3 . The proportions shown represent food intake over a period of time (a day or week), not necessarily each meal. The Eatwell Guide divides the foods and drinks you provide for your residents into five main groups. Try to offer a variety of different foods from each of the groups to help them get the wide range of nutrients their body needs to function properly. Diabetic Food Since July 2016, manufacturers are not allowed to label food as ‘diabetic’ or ‘suitable for diabetics’

Eating from the main food groups 

How much you need to eat and drink is based on your age, gender, how active you are and the goals you’re aiming for. But no single food contains all the essential nutrients your body needs.

That’s why a healthy diet is all about variety and choosing different foods from each of the main food groups every day.

And when we say balanced, we mean eating more of certain foods and less of others. But portion sizes have grown in recent years, as the plates and bowls we use have got bigger. And larger portions can make it more difficult for you to manage your weight. We’ve got more information for you about managing a healthy weight.

We’ve highlighted the benefits of each food group below – some help protect your heart and some affect your blood sugar levels more slowly – all really important for you to know. Get to know them and how healthy choices can help you reduce your risk of diabetes complications.

You can learn more about a healthy diet for diabetes with our Food Hacks section in Learning Zone.

What are the main food groups?

Fruit and vegetables

Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t have fruit. Fruit and veg are naturally low in calories and packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They also add flavour and variety to every meal. 

Fresh, frozen, dried and canned – they all count. Go for a rainbow of colours to get as wide a range of vitamins and minerals as possible. Try to avoid fruit juices and smoothies as they don’t have as much fibre.

If you’re trying to limit the amount of carbs you eat, you might be tempted to avoid fruit and veg. But it’s so important to include them in your diet every day. There are lower carb options you can try.

Fruit and vegetables can help protect against strokeheart diseasehigh blood pressure and some cancers – and when you have diabetes, you’re more at risk of developing these conditions.


  • Help to keep your digestive system working well
  • Help protect the body from heart disease, stroke and some cancers

How often?

Everyone should aim to eat at least five portions a day. A portion is roughly what fits in the palm of your hand. 

Examples of what to try

  • sliced melon or grapefruit topped with unsweetened yogurt, or a handful of berries, or fresh dates, apricots or prunes for breakfast
  • mix carrots, peas and green beans into your pasta bake
  • add an extra handful of peas to rice, spinach to lamb or onions to chicken
  • try mushrooms, cucumber, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, celery and lettuce for lower carb vegetable options
  • try avocados, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, plums, peaches and watermelon for lower carb fruit options

Check out our recipes to help you eat a healthy diet for diabetes – we’ve got lots of delicious main meals packed full of vegetables, and fruity breakfast options.

Starchy foods

Starchy foods are things like potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, chapattis, naan and plantain. They all contain carbohydrate, which is broken down into glucose and used by our cells as fuel. The problem with some starchy foods is that it can raise blood glucose levels quickly, which can make it harder for you to manage your diabetes. These foods have something called a high glycaemic index (GI) – we’ve got loads more information about this.

There are some better options for starchy foods – ones that affect blood glucose levels more slowly. These are foods with a low glycaemic index (GI), like wholegrain bread, whole-wheat pasta and basmati, brown or wild rice. They also have more fibre, which helps to keep your digestive system working well. So if you’re trying to cut down on carbs, cut down on things like white bread, pasta and rice first. 


  • The fibre helps to keep your digestive system healthy
  • Some affect your blood sugar levels more slowly
  • Wholegrains help protect your heart

How often?

Try to have some starchy foods every day.

Examples of what to try

  • two slices of multigrain toast with a bit of spread and Marmite or peanut butter
  • brown rice, pasta or noodles in risottos, salads or stir-fries
  • baked sweet potato with the skin left on – add toppings like cottage cheese or beans
  • boiled cassava, flavoured with chilli and lemon
  • chapatti made with brown or wholemeal atta.

Try our chapatti recipe – just one option for a tasty lunch.

Protein foods like beans, nuts, pulses, eggs, meat and fish

Meat and fish are high in protein, which keeps your muscles healthy. But a healthy diet means less red and processed meat – they’ve been linked to cancer and heart disease. Oily fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines have a lot of omega-3 oil, which can help protect the heart. 


  • Helps keep your muscles healthy
  • Oily fish protects your heart

How often?

Aim to have some food from this group every day. Specifically at least 1 or 2 portions of oily fish each week. But you don’t need to eat meat every day.

Examples of what to try

  • a small handful of raw nuts and seeds as a snack or chopped with a green salad 
  • using beans and pulses in a casserole to replace some – or all – of the meat
  • eggs scrambled, poached, dry fried or boiled – the choice is yours
  • grilled fish with masala, fish pie, or make your own fishcakes
  • chicken grilled, roasted or stir-fried

We’ve got lots of healthy recipes to choose from – like our bean stew or try one of our fish dishes.

Dairy foods and alternatives

Milk, cheese and yogurt have lots of calcium and protein in – great for your bones, teeth and muscles. But some dairy foods are high in fat, particularly saturated fat, so choose lower-fat alternatives.

Check for added sugar in lower-fat versions of dairy foods, like yoghurt. It’s better to go for unsweetened yoghurt and add some berries if you want it sweeter. If you prefer a dairy alternative like soya milk, choose one that’s unsweetened and calcium-fortified.  


  • Good for bones and teeth
  • Keeps your muscles healthy

How often?

We all need some calcium every day.

Examples of what to try

  •  a glass of milk straight, flavoured with a little cinnamon or added to porridge
  •  natural or unsweetened yogurt with fruit or on curry
  •  cottage cheese scooped on carrot sticks
  •  a bowl of breakfast cereal in the morning, with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
  •  a cheese sandwich for lunch, packed with salad
  •  a refreshing lassi or some plain yogurt with your evening meal

Oils and spreads

We need some fat in our diet but we need less saturated fat. This is because some saturated fats can increase cholesterol in the blood, increasing the risk of heart diseases and stroke. These less healthy options are butter, palm nut oil and coconut oil.

Healthier saturated fats are foods like olive oil, vegetable oil, rapeseed oil, spreads made from these oils, and nut butters.


  • Unsaturated fats help protect your heart

Examples of what to try

  • A drizzle of olive oil on your salad 
  • Peanut butter on your wholemeal toast 

4 . Diabetes UK have not advised the consumption of ‘diabetic’ products for years because they offer no benefit to people with diabetes.

This is because:

• These foods can be expensive

• They can also be as high in fat and calories as standard products

• They can still raise blood sugar levels

• They contradict general healthy eating advice, which is to eat foods high in sugar and/or fat less often and in small amounts

• Some diabetic foods can have a laxative effect if eaten in excess

older people and diabetes

Most areas of care in diabetes are relevant to all age groups but there are some specific changes due to growing older which might affect your diabetes.

Food choices

In some cases dietary advice for the older person with diabetes may differ from general recommendations. Older people in care homes are often more likely to be underweight than overweight and there is a high rate of undernutrition. It may not always be appropriate to reduce the fat, salt and sugar for every older person with diabetes. Poor or irregular eating can often be a cause of hypos.

Poor oral health, effects of some drugs on the digestive system, limited mobility, dexterity or vision can all cause discomfort associated with eating. Fluid intake is often lower in older people which can cause dehydration, particularly during bouts of illness. People at risk should have a nutritional assessment and individual advice from a dietitian to address areas of concern such as needing extra calories, meal supplements and replacements, weight reduction, low salt diet or manageable foods.

Nutritional assessment and diet should form part of your individual care plan if you live in a care home. Personal food preferences are important in any diet plan and older people with diabetes should be able to continue to enjoy a wide variety of foods. Staff, including catering staff in older people’s care homes, should have training so they have an understanding of the specific needs of individuals with diabetes.

Keeping active

Keeping active in later life helps to strengthen muscles, maintain mobility and balance and improves insulin sensitivity. It can help you to continue to self-care, can improve your mental well-being and prevent falls. You can aim to be as active as you are able.

Older people, including those with frailty, have been shown to benefit from light resistance and balance training. Exercise to build limb strength and flexibility for those who are housebound and confined to a bed or chair can be taught by a physiotherapist and supported by carers. Remember to check with your GP before starting any new exercise.


Hypoglycaemia or hypo occurs at blood glucose levels of less than 4mmols/l. Older people may have added risk factors which can lead to hypo:

  • insulin or certain diabetes medication
  • chronic kidney problems
  • poor food intake
  • having other illnesses or conditions.

Many older people find their hypo warning symptoms become less obvious, and some have no symptoms at all. This may mean that the first signs noticed by a carer are:

  • inability to concentrate
  • personality change
  • morning headaches
  • sleep disturbance.

Hypos which go unnoticed can cause very unpleasant symptoms:

  • confusion
  • speech and self-care difficulties
  • poor appetite
  • aggressive behavior
  • unsteadiness and falls
  • losing consciousness
  • cognitive damage
  • heart attack or stroke.


A hypo should be treated immediately in a conscious person with fast-acting glucose, such as a sugary (non-hot, non-milky) drink or some glucose tablets and followed up with something starchy like biscuits, a sandwich or the next meal. If someone is unconscious, call for medical help or an ambulance.

For older people in care homes a personal hypo box with hypo treatments and instructions for treatment can be kept at hand.


To prevent hypos, it is helpful to have regular mealtimes and snacks containing carbohydrate and to be aware of hypo symptoms and what to look out for in individuals who may be at risk. Target levels for blood glucose control should not be too tight and medication must be right for the individual. This is something to discuss with the GP.

Blood glucose monitoring can help to identify older people who may be at risk of hypos but must always be looked at together with longer term blood results like HbA1c to give a clear picture.

Residential settings providing care for people with diabetes should have a diabetes policy which includes management and prevention of hypos, diabetes care plans for individuals and diabetes skills training for staff.

Catering tips

• Offer your residents regular meals, snacks and drinks throughout the day. This will help to control their appetite and blood glucose levels

• Base meals on starchy carbohydrates such as bread, rice and potatoes. Include some wholegrain varieties on your menu too such as brown rice, wholegrain bread, wholemeal pasta and leave the skins on potatoes for more fibre

• Although your residents need some fat in their diet, limit the amount of saturated fat that you offer your residents from foods like butter, cheese, processed meats, cakes and biscuits. Too much saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease

• Help your residents eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Serve them as accompaniments at each meal and offer as snacks too. Fresh, frozen, dried, juice and canned (in juice) varieties all towards 5 a day

• Have at least 2 portions of oily fish on your menu each week such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Oily fish contains omega 3 fats which can help protect against heart disease

• Your residents don’t have to follow a sugar free diet. Sugar can be used in foods and in baking as part of a healthy diet. Offer your residents small and occasional portions of cakes, desserts and biscuits after a main meal. Look out for sugar free or no added sugar drinks

• Keep your residents hydrated, offer them at least 6-8 drinks each day. They should be available with every meal and regularly in between meals too. Water, milk, no added sugar squash, fruit juice (no more than 150ml) tea and coffee all count towards fluid intake


With lots of myths and claims surrounding diabetes, especially to do with food, it can be confusing to work out what you can and can’t eat.

Can people with diabetes eat cake?

Yes. Diabetes doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the joys of baking and cakes. Just think about portion sizes and how often you have them – to help you space out your portions, you can freeze most cakes and breads. Make sure you wrap items in foil and label them before putting into freezer bags. You could also try eating your desserts with some fruit, such as berries, to make them more filling and nutritious.

Can people with diabetes eat chocolate?

Yes. There’s no need to cut chocolate out of your diet completely if you have diabetes. You can still enjoy it as part of a healthy, balanced diet, or for special occasions. Try to eat small portions at a time because eating a lot in one go can affect your blood sugar levels. One tip is to go for 70% cocoa dark chocolate, as it’s a stronger taste and means you’re likely to eat a bit less. 

Can people with diabetes eat fruit? 

Although we know fruits and vegetables are good for us, people with diabetes are often told they can’t eat fruit because they are too sweet or contain sugar. All fruits contain natural sugar, but also contain a good mix of vitamins, minerals and fibre that we need to eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet. So yes, it’s really important people with diabetes eat fruit.

Can people with diabetes drink alcohol?

Most people with diabetes can safely drink alcohol in moderation, while eating a healthy, balanced diet and keeping active. It’s best to avoid drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week – this is about the equivalent of six medium glasses of wine or six pints of lager. 

Can people with diabetes eat pizza?

Yes, although you should reduce your portion sizes to avoid affecting your blood sugar levels too much. You could also try making your own pizza, which is likely to be much healthier than one you’d buy as a takeaway, especially if you top it with lots of vegetables. 

Nutrition and Hydration Week 2021

Nutrition and Hydration Week

Nutrition and Hydration Week, running 14th June – 20th June has taken place every March since 2012 (due to the pandemic it has been delayed until June this year). Its aim is to bring people together to educate them on the value of food and drink in maintaining health and wellbeing in health and social care.

Organisations worldwide and from all areas of health and social care take part each year and new organisations are welcome to join in the fun.

Assorted Sliced Fruits

With around 3 million people at risk of malnutrition in the UK and over 25 million in the G8 countries the need to raise awareness of the risks is becoming more and more important…

Preventing malnutrition and dehydration not only improves health and well-being but helps to reduce the burden on the health and social care services in treating and supporting those suffering from undernutrition and dehydration.

Fluid Pouring in Pint Glass

As our NHS is suffering from tighter budgets, Nutrition and Hydration Week is a great way to raise awareness in a cost-effective manner.

The week is all about learning new ways to improve nutrition and reduce dehydration as well as giving people a way of sharing ideas and to help others.

Who can get involved?

Nutrition and Hydration Week is open to absolutely anyone who wants to join the shared cause of helping people understand the importance of nutrition and hydration in health and social care.

It’s fun and free to join and all the resources on this website are available to download for no charge and can be personalised in whatever way you want them to be.

How to use the week

Nutrition and Hydration Week is an opportunity for you to promote your foodservice; promote special dietary needs – dietetic support, weight management, speech and language services (dysphagia), continence teams, occupational therapists; promote nutritional screening;

It can be used as an education and awareness tool for your senior management, other professionals, your team, your patients, residents, customers, and families.

Planning your Nutrition and Hydration Week

Three People Sitting Beside Table

Make your aim clear –

What is it you want to achieve? Do you want to highlight what you already do? Do you want to raise awareness and educate people? Have a clear focus and run with it throughout the week.

Who is your audience?

Customers? Residents? Families? Your workforce? Tailor your plans and ideas to those people you intend to target meeting your audience’s needs.

What event are you doing?

Do you want to hold an event such as Afternoon Tea, or a poster competition? Maybe get your execs to do dinner service, or why not a come dine with me event have. The list is endless and you can really make it unique to you and your audience!

Publicise your event.

Use the posters available to you or create your own, use newsletters and social media to spread the word. Share your week by making sure you take photos. If you are on twitter make sure you use the use the hashtag #NHWeek and tag @NHWeek. Or you can email your photos to this email address and they may feature them in their newsletters.

Ideas for events and activities during N&H Week

Global Tea Party

The highlight of every Nutrition and Hydration Week is the Global Tea Party which takes place on Wednesday (18th March)

Beautiful Christmas Table Setting

On this day organisations are invited to hold their very own tea party.  Not only is this a good way to show commitment to nutritional care it is a great way to bring people together! This website has resources to help you plan – with menus, recipes, and invitations!

Hydration Stations

Create stations where residents can grab a drink, can have some fruit, or simply grab some information on how to prevent dehydration. Below is a great example of fab hydration stations – Provided by the Fremantle Trust.


Hydration Station at Fremantle Trust Chesham Leys Nursing Home!

Try something new – WaterADE

waterade powdered drink

A new and exciting powdered soft drink in 8 Fantastic flavours. Containing no added sugar, Gluten Free and added vitamins A, D, and E.
Each small packet makes 2 Litres of great tasting drink and the waste is minimal so great for the Planet too. If you would like to try WaterADE – email who will be able to help you!

Using food Molds

These can revolutionise meal times for people with swallowing difficulties – bringing a sense of normality back again.

With a little bit of imagination, you can create anything that your residents desire; from curry to salmon. These molds will encourage residents to eat once again, and will help make them feel a part of the care home community; as the food on their plates will look like that of other residents’. Find out more here…  If you would like to purchase any molds, email – who will be happy to help.

If you need or want any further information please use the links below!

Stress Awareness Month April

April is the start of stress awareness month which has been running in April since 1992. Despite running for coming up to 30 years – there is a long way to go still!

This year, more than ever, we need to sit back and take time for ourselves. Stress does not just have an impact on our mental wellbeing, it can have a major effect on our physical health as well including
heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia, and digestive problems.

Stress is such a personal experience; Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.


Get active!

If you or someone you know is feeling stressed, doing some form of activity will help manage and make them/yourself feel better. Endorphines released whilst exercising are proven to reduce low mood. It gives you something else to focus your attention on.

 Silhouette Photography Of Jump Shot Of Two Persons

Take control

Take a step back and think about why you are stressed. Maybe write it down, talk to someone, or just simply think about what you can do to alleviate the stress. Most problems have a solution – you just need to find it 🙂


Take some time for yourself. Go for a walk, have a bath, read a book. However, you like to relax, do it!

Here in the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we often don’t spend enough time doing things we really enjoy.

“We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise,” says Professor Cooper.

He recommends setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality “me time” away from work.

“By earmarking those 2 days, it means you won’t be tempted to work overtime,” he says. (taken from the NHS website)

Self Care Isn't Selfish Signage

Avoid unhealthy habits

Smoking, drinking, takeaways; These all help us feel great in the moment but more often than not they become coping mechanisms for stressful situations and they become more like a plaster rather than a cure!

Create healthy habits are challenging you to a 30-day challenge; encouraging you to pick one action each for your Physical, Mental, and Emotional Well-being to carry out every day.  It takes 30 days to turn actions into habits, which is why this is a month-long program.  The 30-day challenge will maximize your chances of turning useful knowledge and techniques into positive behavioral change. Find your printout for the month here and loads of ideas for the month here.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2021

Fairtrade fortnight kicks off this week ( 22 February to 7 March 2021 ). The aim is to help raises awareness of where products come from. The nationwide drive is led by the Fairtrade Foundation.

What is Fairtrade?

It’s a shocking fact that millions of farmers and workers who produce the food we love, still don’t earn enough to feed their own families. It’s time for this injustice to end. Fairtrade Fortnight puts a spotlight on trade; When trade is fair it has the potential to improve the lives of the people who grow our food.

Photo of Green Field Near Mountains

Fairtrade simply means offering fair prices for farmers in the developing world. This, in turn, allows them to invest in their communities.

From swapping to Fairtrade bananas and tea in your weekly grocery shop; to hosting a Fairtrade breakfast or campaigning with your local school, doing your bit couldn’t be easier.

Why you should buy fairtrade!

  • Fairtrade means fair prices 

When selling on Fairtrade terms, farmers in developing countries receive a fair price. This fair price means they can afford to invest in their communities and are empowered to build a better future. They get a better deal and are able to bring them out of poverty. 80 percent of the world’s coffee is produced by 25 million smallholders who live on less than £1.40 a day. If farmers are guaranteed to receive at least the Fairtrade Minimum Price for their coffee, they have a safety net when times are tough.

Copper-colored Coin Lot
  • Buying Fairtrade doesn’t have to cost more

There’s such a wide range of Fairtrade products from gold to breakfast bananas that there’s something for everyone. Most major retailers stock Fairtrade produce, for example, the Co-op, Waitrose, and Sainsbury’s. Simply lookout for the Fairtrade logo. Products with a FAIRTRADE Mark have met internationally-agreed Fairtrade Standards designed to address the imbalance of power of conventional trade. There is an abundance of everyday items that shoppers can swap for Fairtrade options that won’t cost you a penny more. It’s not just food either. Cotton, flowers, beauty products the list goes on. Find out more here.

Bouquet of green craspedia wrapped in packaging

This year’s FairTrade Fortnight will be a little different due to Covid 19, but you can still get involved! This is taken from the fairtrade website – let us know how you plan on getting involved!


Three Women Holding Glasses Of Wine At A Zoom Party
  • Join the online festival with your friends and family. You can expect to find fascinating and fun events featuring all parts of the global Fairtrade community, including Fairtrade farmers and workers, other climate campaigners, and of course the amazing grassroots network.  
  • Use social media resources to spread the word online and add more voices. You will find posts and banners for your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram along with this Fortnight’s key messages and FAQs to support your online campaigning. Head to Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 folder on the Resources Library to see all the full range of materials available.
  • Read the stories of farmers affected by climate change. They will be sharing these stories soon.   
  • Host your own online meeting or event. This could be anything from a discussion space, a quiz … even an online coffee morning, a cook along, a crafting session or a talk as part of the Climate Coalition’s Show the Love 2021.

Dry January

Dry January is when you go alcohol-free for the whole month of January. It’s good for the mind, body and soul!

Dry January began in 2011 when Emily Robinson signed up for her first marathon. This marathon was happening in February and she decided to quit booze for the month to help her prepare; As a result, she lost weight, slept better and had more energy to do the race!

Woman in Gray Crew Neck Shirt Running on Brown Soil during Daytime


In January 2012, Emily joins Alcohol Change UK and again does no alcohol in January. As she is working for alcohol change UK she now has a platform to speak to people about the benefits of stopping drinking for one month – and dry January is born!

A debate about the usefulness of giving up alcohol for a month kicks off. Can a month alcohol-free really make a difference long-term?

Alcohol change UK decide to work with alcohol behaviour change expert Dr Richard de Visser from the University of Sussex. He surveyed people taking part, to see what happens to them.

“De Visser found that six months after the campaign has finished, seven out of ten people have continued to drink less riskily than before. Almost a quarter of the people who were drinking at “harmful” levels before the campaign are now in the low-risk category.”

Assorted Wine Bottles


By 2014, more people are talking about dry January. Some people believe you have to hibernate for the month to avoid booze; when in fact it is a good chance to test yourself. If you are out with friends or for dinner, could you turn down a drink? Willpower was being tested!

“What you have is a pretty average group of British people who would not consider themselves heavy drinkers, yet stopping drinking for a month alters liver fat, cholesterol and blood sugar and helps them lose weight. If someone had a health product that did all that in one month, they would be raking it in.”Professor Kevin Moore, Consultant in Liver Health Services, University College London Medical Centre

In 2015 they partner with Public Health England to broaden the reach of the initiative and by 2020 they have over 100,000 participants signed up and using the app. (with more people doing it without signing up)

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So what are the benefits?

With January coming after Christmas, a period of overindulgence, it is a perfect time to quit drinking. You will not only save money, but your body will thank you too. Your skin will appear brighter, you sleep better and your mind is calmer; A perfect start to the new year!

 research published in 2018, conducted by the Royal Free Hospital and published in the British Medical Journal, found that a month off alcohol:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces diabetes risk
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Reduces levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.
Person Holding Black Tube

And that is just the beginning.

The best benefit is that it encourages people to drink healthier amounts throughout the year. It proves to us that we don’t need booze to have a good time, or to socialise. We learn skills that help manage drinking, and it helps our overall wellbeing.

‘alcohol is linked with more than 60 health conditions, including liver disease, high blood pressure, depression and seven types of cancer. In fact, alcohol is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability for people aged 15-49 in the UK. Cutting back on alcohol long-term reduces your risk of developing these conditions. ‘ (taken from alcohol change UK website)

You can do dry January on your own, but by signing up to the app you get help, guidance and motivation from Alcohol change UK! Sign up here – its still not too late!

Going booze-free

January is the month for new changes, resolutions and generally being healthier; and shops know this. So check out these two companies that offer alcoholic free ‘grown-up drinks’. Of course, supermarkets and wholesalers will offer booze alternatives as well, so ask us or check-in when you next place an order to see what they offer.

Crop person with can of alcohol free beer


Lyres are award-winning alcohol-free spirit makers. Tasting just like their boozy brothers these drinks can help ease the transition into alcohol-free living. From Gin to Rum, they have everything for you to make cocktails, without the hangover the next day.

Dry Drinker

Dry drinker offers a range of alcohol-free beer, wine and spirits at affordable rates, and they are plastic-free – bonus! They offer bundles and singles to help you on your journey.

Final Note

If you struggle with alcohol issues please check out some of these websites. Throughout the past 12 months, we have had a lot to deal with and many people have turned to alcohol to manage. Please know that there are companies and organisations out there to keep you safe and help you.


Ok, so 2020 has been an unusual year, to say the least. We have spent a lot more time at home, and have sung ‘happy birthday’ more times than we can remember whilst washing our hands! But, there are loads of positives from this year, and in this blog, we are going to take a look back at the good stuff that happened in 2020!

Priorities changed

We have spent the year with our close family, initially just our family and then bubbles or groups of 6. This may have led to some more family arguments and tension, but I for one have enjoyed spending more time with my children. We have done baking, arts and crafts and reading. I have taught my girls to garden and we had many long summer days in the outside laughing and having fun. Families have been able to spend more time together this year than they have done so in a long time. It has made people appreciate what really is important in life. We have become more present with our families and in years to come, I believe we will look back to this time fondly.

Woman and Girl Using Tablet Computer


We all were all appreciative of key workers before covid, but I think we are all that little bit more aware of just how hard they work. From teachers to nurses, shop staff to delivery drivers. These men and women have worked hard throughout lockdown serving the nation. Teachers are finally getting a bit more recognition after parents have had to home school. We stood on the pavement every Thursday clapping for the care staff, who before may have been undervalued. We stood outside, rain or shine waiting to get into do our food shop, as shops, limited capacity, all whilst shop staff were being friendly and I for one now know my parcel force delivery driver by name as I shopped more online! Everyone who has done their bit to help keep the nation going deserves a big pat on the back! (and a hug when we are allowed!!)

2 Person Holding Hands


From Caption Tom raising millions for the NHS to food services being set up to help the local community, we have pulled together as a nation to help support one and another. Joe wicks set up a virtual PE lesson every day and VE day was celebrated by many with socially distanced parties. The year has taught us to value our friends, family and neighbours; to help people when in need and to be there for people. For a while, vulnerable people were told not to go out so neighbours were doing food shops. Food banks saw an increase in usage, so people donated more. Marcus Rashford campaigned for free school meals and won – a real sense of community has been felt in 2020.

Selective Focus Photography Cement


How amazing is technology!!?? We all loved it before 2020 but this year we could not have lived without it. From weekly zoom quizzes, family video calls and birthday parties being held virtually to millions working from home. All this could not have been done without technology! Here at Collective Purchasing, we have weekly team catch-ups virtually; it’s great seeing the team and means we stay safe, but connected.

Macbook Pro Beside White Ipad

Our planet

With the world in lockdown, we moved less. We all used our cars less, We didn’t holiday abroad and Factories closed. All this led to better air quality in many major cities! We are facing a real threat with Climate change; and this year has bought us all a little time in order to make some changes!

Planet Earth Close Up Photo


In record time a vaccine has been created! The world worked together on creating a covid vaccine to help every nation. Meaning hopefully we can all get together in the not too distant future.

Person Holding Syringe

We all hope you are safe, stay safe and hope for a safe future. When we can return to a little bit of normality; I hope we keep hold of some of the things we have learnt this year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Xmas Text On Wooden Scrabble Tiles

Christmas and New Years 2020

2020 has certainly been a year to remember! Although we may be able to visit friends and family over Christmas this year, it will certainly be a different one!

How can we make it special?

There are many ways you can still make it as special from games, food and drink to decorations and virtual family visits; and CP are here to help!


You may have food covered already, but with fewer people to feed, you may be wondering what to do with leftovers? Here are a few of our fave leftover recipes.

Turkey bubble & squeak


  • STEP 1
  • Peel the potato and parsnip, grab a bowl and grate them both into it. Grate or finely slice the sprouts and chuck them into the bowl too. Put the veg in a sieve and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Return the mixture to the bowl and crack in the egg. Mix and season, then add your rosemary and garlic.
  • STEP 2
  • Now it’s time to get your hands messy. Shape the mixture into three rösti patties, equal in thickness. Slice the leftover turkey breast. Put it in a pan with the gravy on a low heat and simmer until the turkey is warm. Heat the coconut oil in a separate frying pan. Cook the röstis for 3 mins each side until golden brown, then put them on a plate, layer with the sliced turkey and add a dollop of cranberry sauce on top. Voilà – a lovely, lean Christmas leftover meal!

Christmas pudding trifle

  • STEP 1
  • Peel the oranges using a sharp knife, ensuring all the pith is removed. Slice as thinly as possible and arrange over a dinner plate. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar followed by the Grand Marnier and set aside.
  • STEP 2
  • Crumble the Christmas pudding into large pieces and scatter over the bottom of a trifle bowl. Lift the oranges onto the pudding in a layer and pour over any juices.
  • STEP 3
  • Beat the mascarpone until smooth, then stir in the custard. Spoon the mixture over the top of the oranges.
  • STEP 4
  • Lightly whip the cream and spoon over the custard. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and grated chocolate. You can make this a day in advance if you like, chill until ready to serve.


Why not make cocktails and change the names to reflect the year we have had. Think captain Tom, Furlough, quaratine – You name it you can find someone who has created a drink for 2020! Here is a list of some but I think our fave has to be the Quarantini – a take on the traditional martini, but adding honey and orange juice for that immune boost we need!

Clear Glass Footed Drinking Glass With Orange Juice


We are aware that some places are not putting a traditional tree up this year, due to risk of infection – BUT we have found a solution!!!

Wall decors are a great idea as an alternative, simply stick on the wall and you can create a winter wonderland!

Why not get mini trees, just for dinner! They can create a festive appearance and will look magical with crackers, napkins and table cloths. We are able to source a fantastic range of table and room decors, at very reasonable pricing – just give us a call, or drop us an email.

Or is you feeling super fancy and creative, what about one of these below? However you decide to decorate, use bright colours, that bring joy; and dont forget to share pics with us!!

Photo of Decorations on the Wall


At the time of writing this, visits to care homes are just starting up. With the news of a vacine, and quick turn around testing many carehomes are allowing families to visit and hug their relatives. If you are deciding to err on the side of caution make sure you have plenty of ipads/tablets/computers and so on to allow resisdents to see their family virtually! There are some great products availble, like facebook portol, amazon echo, google nest and so on. If you are wanting to update your devices, this is something again we can help with.

Woman Holding A Gift While Having A Video Chat

Whilst this year may have been a challange, it has also brought us all closer together. We have learnt to appreciate the things we have and value those people around us.

Everyone at Collective Purchasing hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a very happy 2021!!!