The best winter recipes for people living with dementia

Written by Active Minds on Thursday the 22nd of December 2016.



Christmas is the perfect time to get together with your family and friends, create memories through playing games or enjoying a meal together. This is something the whole family can look forward to, including older people and people living with dementia.

To guarantee no one misses the wonderful food pleasures of Christmas, we’re bringing to you two recipes that are ideal for people who have difficulty swallowing or using cutlery. These recipes are high in energy and nutrition – perfect for people living with dementia.

Bread sauce

A dry mouth interferes with chewing and swallowing so we would suggest adding a sauce or gravy to the meal. Bread sauce is a Christmas tradition with most people so this is a great option at this time of year. Use spices and other seasonings to help stimulate the taste buds, but don’t overuse salt which can add to health problems.

You will need:

600ml low fat milk

50g butter

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves

6 peppercorns

2 garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

3 thyme sprigs

100g white breadcrumbs

4 tbsp low fat single cream

Pinch nutmeg, freshly grated


Simmer the milk, butter, onion, cloves, peppercorns, garlic, and herbs in a pan for 20 mins. Strain and return the liquid to the pan. Add the breadcrumbs and simmer for 3-4 mins. Stir in the cream or mascarpone. Add nutmeg, season and serve. Can be made up to 3 days in advance and heated up on the hob or microwave on Medium for 3 mins.


Steamed leeks and peas with herby vinaigrette

People with dementia sometimes develop difficulty swallowing, so it’s best to either puree vegetables or over cook slightly to make them as soft as possible.

You will need:

6 even-sized medium leek

350g frozen peas

3tbsp olive oil

1tsp clear honey

1tsp Dijon mustard

1tbsp finely chopped parsley

1tbsp chopped mint


  1. Trim the outer leaves from the leeks and cut off the top down to where the leaves split. Cut the leeks into 3-4 chunks, then wash really well to remove any grit. Heat a steamer, add the leeks and cook for 8 mins. Tip in the peas and cook for 2-3 mins more until both are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and seasoning together in a serving bowl to make the vinaigrette. Add the hot vegetables and herbs, and mix well

When you’re all sat enjoying Christmas dinner, be sure to not draw attention to the way the person with dementia eats or what they are eating. If they hardly eat anything but seem to be quite happy, it really doesn’t matter.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

*recipes taken from BBC Good Food