March is National Nutrition Month, a celebration we don’t take lightly at Open Arms. Through our mission to nourish mind, body, and soul, we’re dedicated to supporting the vast nutritional needs of our clients living with life-threatening illnesses.
National Nutrition Month is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Each year, it focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
As one of the registered dietitians (RDs) at Open Arms, I wanted to share the many ways our organization promotes nutrition, not only during National Nutrition Month but every month!
- Medically-Tailored Meals. Our clients are offered a selection of menus designed to meet their specific medical and nutrition needs. We have a heart healthy menu that’s low in sodium and saturated fat for clients with heart health risk factors. Additionally, we have a renal menu planned for clients with kidney disease. Clients can also choose a bland, gluten-free/dairy-free, or modified texture menu. Our talented chefs and team of RDs work together to design meals are not only nutritious, but delicious as well. Each recipe is nutritionally analyzed and approved by our RDs so clients can be assured the meals are planned to benefit their health.
- Nutrition Education. Each week, our clients receive written nutrition tips with their delivery to complement their healthy meals. These range from ideas to include more fruits and veggies in their diets to pointers to maintain proper food safety at home. In addition, once or twice a month clients are sent easy recipes they can make with the food items they get in their delivery. This month, they’re getting a recipe for an orange & apple salad, which uses the fresh fruit they get delivered to them each week.
- Nutrition Counseling. Every one of our clients has the option to receive 1:1 nutrition counseling from our RDs. Nutrition counseling is a process in which clients set goals and an action plan to reach their health & nutrition goals with RD support. Our RDs help them overcome barriers and brainstorm solutions based on clients’ lifestyles, health history, and food preferences. Clients also have the opportunity to reach out to our RDs with any nutrition-related questions they have, or for support with selecting a menu that’s most appropriate for them given their individual needs.
- Cooking Classes. Once a month, we host cooking classes for clients at OAM in partnership with Fare For All. Our chefs demonstrate how to make simple, healthy recipes that clients can replicate at home. In addition, our RDs provide supplemental nutrition education for clients who attend the classes to help them make the connection between how the foods in the recipes impact their health.
Celebrate the start of National Nutrition Month with this turkey taco bowl recipe. This recipe is a fan favorite from our heart healthy menu! Make sure to stay tuned the rest of this month for more recipes and nutrition blog posts.
By Brianna Tobritzhofer, MS, RD, LD – OAM Senior Manager of Nutrition & Client Services