Dietary Program – Nutrition
We are committed to delivering the very best treatment for our residents, right down to the meals we prepare. A registered dietitian, Paula Livernois, oversees every aspect of the kitchen, making sure the food we serve meets the individual dietary needs of each resident. The Center is unique in this regard, as the majority of residential treatment facilities do not have a full-time registered dietitian on staff and teach nutritional education to their residents.
Because we also serve residents who are part of military families, we are proud to have several cooks on staff who are military veterans and have a combined 80 years’ experience of preparing meals for large groups.
We use every aspect of the dining experience to help kids grow and develop during their time with us. Gathering around a table for a meal with dorm mates helps residents learn social skills and table manners. Residents who have earned the privilege to work on campus can be assigned to help out in the cafeteria by cleaning tables. All residents learn the importance of sanitation and cleaning up after themselves.
Highlights of The Center’s cafeteria and nutrition program include:
- Meals and snacks. The Center’s cafeteria serves three meals and two snacks a day. Menus rotate on a monthly basis, with a new meal each week. Our registered dietitian screens all snacks and can provide caution alerts for kids with food allergies. The way The Center’s cafeteria is organized ensures that residents with special diets or food allergies receive the food they need without feeling self-conscious or excluded.
- Special diets. From gluten-free to low-calorie, The Center’s kitchen can customize a meal plan based on each resident’s specific needs. Children who are overweight can benefit from our Healthy Lifestyle program. We closely monitor a child’s BMI throughout treatment, and by changing the diet can often promote weight loss. Kids who are not getting adequate nutrition receive additional portions as needed to meet daily calorie goals, and we can provide nutritional supplements. We can also customize meals according to the medications a child takes.
- Nutrition Education. By encouraging residents to “think like a chemist” we teach them about food science and how to combine healthy foods for a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. We also teach healthy portion sizes.
- Peer groups. We offer group sessions for residents who want to meet and discuss their feelings about their bodies and self-image. Our registered dietitian talks about proper nutrition and how to shop for the right foods. We nurture residents’ self-esteem so they can feel comfortable in their bodies and know they are making the right choices when it comes to exercise and eating a balanced diet.
- Special events. Residents celebrate special events, such as birthdays and holidays, with others in the cafeteria. Our kitchen staff can even prepare a cake to celebrate the day a resident is discharged from treatment.