Choices are created by providing the space for someone to make a decision based on personal preference and experience. The importance of choice and option in the disability community is sometimes overlooked. The creation of these Standards in partnership and review with the disability community takes us one step closer in our efforts to respect choice while providing information and nutritional guidance to allow healthier choices. Mealtime is an intimate setting that can provide deep conversations, bonding, collective food testing, and lifelong memories. Many of us even have childhood favorite meals that now serve as a comforting reminder. Cuisine and mealtime is a universal connection we all experience. Access to specific nutrition education and resources is not something everyone has available- leaving certain populations excluded.
The Inclusive Nutrition Standards of Care aim to be a guiding nutrition-focused foundation for individuals with disabilities and/or chronic illnesses, professionals supporting people with disabilities in various settings, families, and caregivers.
The 8 Pillars of the Inclusive Nutrition Standards include:
- Access to Safe and Adequate Nutrition
- Cleanliness, preparation, kitchen and tool safety, kitchen tool options, food allergies, dysphagia/speech-language pathologists 101
- Dietary Patterns
- USDA’s MyPlate resources, diet filled with variety and choices
- Bone and Muscle Health
- Physical activity recommendations (for adults and children), dairy and dairy alternatives, probiotics
- Maintain Adequate Hydration
- Forms of hydration, water intake calculator and infographic
- Three Meals and Healthful Snacks
- Satisfying hunger, planning meals and snacks, mealtime routine
- Appropriate and Appealing Nutrition Choices
- Sensory processing and food preferences, food texture and taste, practical strategies for feeding aversions in children with autism, non-food motivators, culturally appropriate options
- Cost, Planning, and Accessibility Barriers
- Nutrition resources in NJ (CND, SNAP, WIC, Summer Meals Programs), budgeting and planning, NJABLE Account, repurposing foods
- Therapeutic Individualized Diets
- How to connect with a Registered Dietitian, individualized diets
As we near the pilot testing stage of the Standards, we are asking families and professionals to utilize the Standards in their practices. A Qualtrics survey will need to be completed for your feedback to be recorded. If you are interested in learning more about the Center’s projects, please contact Greta Latvyte, GLatvyte@familyresourcenetwork.org
About the Grantee
The Family Resource Network is an inclusive group of community programs and services designed to meet the growing needs of individuals and families with disabilities. From mobility assistance to educational programs for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, to scholarship opportunities and healthy eating and fitness programs- we aim to bridge gaps for the families we serve.