Each spring, the observance of National Nutrition Month in March brings heightened awareness of food, nutrition and health issues to communities across the country. These issues are core to our work at God’s Love and are always the focus for our Nutrition Services Department.
From the direct work with clients, to food safety oversight in our facility, our team of seven Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) strive to improve the health and well-being of our clients with serious illnesses. While the team’s scope of work is wide-ranging, the overall goal is to provide care to our clients, as well as to promote food as medicine.
The provision of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) is a key strength of our program. MNT is an evidence-based application of the Nutrition Care Process focused on prevention, delay, or management of diseases and conditions, and involves an in-depth assessment, periodic reassessment, and intervention. All clients receive MNT with an RDN, and, additionally, they have access to the nutrition team in between sessions as needed.
As a complement to MNT and to broaden our reach within the community, our RDNs conduct nutrition education through workshops and cooking demos in our teaching kitchen, and via teleconferences and webinars. The department has also written nutrition booklets on many topics including breast cancer, HIV, caregiving, colorectal cancer and nutrition for older adults. Our educational materials are available in English and Spanish and can be downloaded for free at godslovewedeliver.org.
The delicious meals created by our Kitchen team are guided by nutrition standards set by the Nutrition Services Department. Nutrition analysis of menu items as they are developed ensures that our meals are appropriate for the nutritional needs of our clients, many whom have a variety of medical conditions. Once new menu items are developed, the team then actively seeks feedback from our Client Community Advisory Board, as well as from clients at large. The team also coordinates the Grocery Bag program for people living with HIV, delivering non-perishable items, local produce and nutrition education each week.
It goes without saying that strict attention to food safety and sanitation is paramount to the successful achievement of our mission. Working with our Kitchen, Facilities and Fulfillment teams, our RDNs coordinate agency food safety and sanitation practices to ensure that food travels safely within the facility to our clients’ homes.
Finally, one of the department’s favorite activities is training and mentoring future RDNs. The team is assisted by student volunteers, who gain valuable field experience while being supervised by an RDN. Additionally, our RDNs oversee Dietetic Interns from many accredited Dietetic Internship programs. In the past year alone, 19 Dietetic Interns were trained by God’s Love Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.
Every year, we look forward to National Nutrition Month as another opportunity to spread the word that Food is Medicine. As we
like to say, every month is Nutrition Month at God’s Love.