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MEDICALLY TAILORED MEALS
MEDICALLY TAILORED MEALS
Project Angel Food prepares and delivers more than 1,500,000 Medically Tailored Meals each year.
The medical lives of Project Angel Food clients are complex, and they require an equally complex nutrition intervention. Our meal plans are designed to fit the unique needs of the individual. We have developed a sophisticated set of food and nutrition standards founded in research, that have been shown to result in better health outcomes, lower healthcare costs, and improved patient satisfaction.
Project Angel Food's Associate Director of Nutrition Services and Therapeutics Alyssa Baldino, MPH, RD, and Executive Chef John Gordon collaborate to design diets based on scientific research that improve clients' health outcomes with a variety of medical conditions. A client living with diabetes requires different dietary guidelines than someone living with cancer, or congestive heart failure, etc.
Broadly, Project Angel Food prepares meals that fall into six categories:
All meals prepared at Project Angel Food are designed to be in the category of heart-healthy and diabetic-friendly.
Chronic kidney disease meals are designed for clients with kidney issues who have later stages of the disease and whose bodies have difficulty processing waste. These meals are low in sodium, phosphorous, potassium, and protein. Proteins that are used need to be high quality and low in fat.
GI-friendly meals are good for cancer clients because the meals are prepared without a lot of sauces or flavoring – they are a little bland. Chemotherapy tends to make people not want to eat, and spicy foods are especially challenging.
Vegetarian meals are all heart-healthy and diabetic-friendly.
Renal meals are designed for clients with severe kidney issues and on dialysis. This diet is like the CKD diet but gives more protein due to the loss incurred while being on dialysis. It also controls carbohydrates and limits saturated fats.
Soft and Bite-Sized meals are designed for clients who are not able to bite off pieces of food safely but are able to chew bite-sized pieces down into little pieces that are safe to swallow. Soft and Bite-Sized meals need a moderate amount of chewing and the pieces are ‘bite-sized’ to reduce choking risk. Soft and Bite-Sized meals are eaten using a fork, spoon or chopsticks.
Alyssa is constantly updating our evidence-based guidelines and standards based on the most up-to-date research. She collaborates with nutritionists and medical experts around the country to continually inform and improve our own Medically Tailored Meals program at home. Alyssa says the keys to the success of this program are:
Creating consistency with portion size to help monitor the exact nutrition each client receives.
Being rigorous about updating recipes with the latest research.
Providing one-on-one client counseling, so they are armed with information when they transition off service or are having a meal on their own, they know what foods to avoid and how much of those foods they should eat.
Project Angel Food is a member of the Food Is Medicine Coalition (FIMC), an association of nonprofit medically tailored meal providers who serve people in communities across the country who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves.