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Community and Internet Resources

Health and Care: Meal Preparation/Nutrition

For people with disabilities meal preparation and good nutrition are an essential part of keeping healthy and an area of concern for families, caregivers and health professionals. People with disabilities or someone who lives alone that does not feel like cooking for one person can develop poor eating habits which can lead to eating a lot of fast-food meals or snacking, which can lead to health problems. Before making any change in your diet, consult your health care professional.

In addition, for many disabilities especially physical disabilities, people may develop a sedentary lifestyle which can contribute to difficulties with weight control. Malnutrition can develop from not eating, eating fast food or snacking. Loss of weight or obesity in persons with developmental disabilities, short stature, and limited mobility can have negative social consequences and greater risk of chronic diseases. Obesity can contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Long term use of medication used by people with disabilities can result in nutrient interactions and abnormalities or side effects of increased appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea. Chewing and swallowing problems and food aversions or allergies can also affect nutrition deficiency. For these reasons special concern and greater effort from caregivers should be given for proper nutrition for people with disabilities along with daily aerobic exercise, strict food intake control and behavior modification if necessary.
New Horizons Un-limited is not endorsing and assumes no responsibility in guaranteeing the products, services, programs or conditions as described. If you are interested in a resource listed below, call or contact the resource to verify the current situation. Evaluate the information, analyze your unique circumstances, use your best judgement and make your own decisions when using the information. Before making any change, consult your health care professional.

American Diabetis Association: Nutrition provides a whole section on their website devoted to nutrition. For those with diabetis or if you are a caregiver of a person with a disability at risk for diabetis this nutrition guide will be helpful to you.

American Heart Association provides Nutrition for patients and caregivers. There are many more links to AHA resources for Healthy Living.

New Sign Diet Spotlight: Nutrition Resources for People with Disabilities- 6 Things You Should Know by Summer Banks, offers information on eating well for people with disabilities, including Food groups for age groups from children to adults, Issues that May Affect Nutrition, Tips to Ensure Halthy Eating, Small Steps to Improve Your Diet, and other nutrition resources for people with disabilities.

Home Instead has created a Web site with tips on shopping for food, meal preparation and recipes. Much of the information also is included in a handbook that is available for free at the companyís offices. The program was developed with the help of nutrition experts from the University of Maryland and Duke University Medical Center. The cookbook was well researched with an emphasis on seniors, but can be applied for anyone that is concerned about proper nutrition for people with disabilities or anyone who lives alone or even if someone has cooking skills, he or she may not feel like itís worth it to cook for one person. This can lead to a lot of fast-food meals or snacking, both of which can lead to health problems. The handbook is filled with healthy recipes and shopping tips. A copy of the handbook can be downloaded at the website listed above.

Cookbooks for Caregivers of People with Huntington's Disease Compiled by Renette Davis with assistance from people on the Mailing List for Huntington's Disease. Warning! Be sure to take the person who has Huntington's Disease to see someone who specializes in swallowing problems (probably a speech language pathologist) and have a Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS) done before trying out any of these cookbooks. Everyone is different and depending on where or at what point during the swallow things go wrong, it may not be safe to use the recipes in these cookbooks.

New Sign Disabled World: Dieting, Diets and Diet Plans for Weight Loss includes Information on obesity and diets including diet plans and weight loss for overweight people of all ages, weight loss calculators and informational ppublications.

Montana Disability and Health Program: University of Montana Rural Institute: Nutrition Standards of Care Nutrition Standards of Care Nutrition for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities for Use by Personal Assistants, Service Providers, Healthcare Providers, Nutrition Professionals, and Family Members. The goal of this Nutrition Standards of Care is to promote quality food and nutrition supports for adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD). These standards and practice guidelines are designed to help personal assistants, direct service staff and others to create and maintain environments that promote all three levels of healthy nutrition: Level 1: Adequate Nutrition, Level 2: Individualized Nutrition, and Level 3: Health-Promoting Nutrition

New Sign New York State, Department of Health: Nutrition and Weight Management for People with Disabilities, Volume 10 is a collection of nutrition tips that cover the following subjects Learning How to Eat Healthier and Stretch Food Dollars, Eat Smart -New York: Free Nutrition Education Workshop Offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension, Living Well with a Disability, and Poor Nutrition Leads to Obesity and Health Problems,

Virginia Cooperative Extension Family Nutrition Program offers an entire section on Food, Health and Nutrition from the Virginia Tech. This section of their website is devoted to keeping families healthy and safe through information on food, nutrition and fitness. They also offer many publications on Health and Nutrition on a great variety of subjects and for many specific conditions or problems that one would want to address through nutrition. For the Virginia Family Nutrition Information and Referral Line, call toll free, at: (888) 814-7627.

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[Updated June 30, 2018]
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