By Lisa Zullig MS RDN CSG CDN at Gods Love We Deliver
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 every day at God’s Love We Deliver, where I am fortunate to lead a team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) working to improve the health and well-being of our neighbors living with serious illness. Located in NYC, God’s Love is the area’s leading provider of medically tailored meals and nutrition services for people who cannot shop and cook for themselves due to illness.
Our comprehensive program is unique because it pairs medical nutrition therapy provided by RDNs with medically tailored meals. The provision of medical nutrition therapy is a key strength of our services. Medical nutrition therapy 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 at God’s Love meet with a RDN when they start the meal program, and then periodically or as needed. As part of the initial assessment process, the client and RDN develop an individualized meal plan to best address the client’s medical and nutritional needs.
Medically tailored meals are a perfect complement to medical nutrition therapy. This powerful combination makes our program so impactful on our clients’ health and quality of life. Not only do our clients receive guidance and education, but they also receive the meals to put the plan into action. Often, these two elements are not coordinated, making progress towards better health difficult. Considering how an illness can make performing daily activities around shopping and cooking extremely difficult or impossible, that it puts one at risk for malnutrition, and that illness can also lead to food insecurity, providing food is essential. And not just any food – medically tailored food that sustains, nourishes, and comforts. As a RDN working with people with chronic illness, being able to provide both is truly rewarding.
The delicious meals created by our culinary team are guided by nutrition standards developed by the God’s Love Nutrition Services Department, bringing food is medicine to life. Whether it is the development of main entrees, soups, grain salads or desserts, the culinary team creatively works within these standards to ensure that all are appropriate for the nutritional needs of our clients with a variety of medical conditions. The result is a diverse menu inspired by many food cultures, containing a variety of flavors, textures, and colors.
As a compliment to direct client work, the Nutrition Services Department also provides community nutrition education through webinars and workshops. Our nutrition education efforts also include several nutrition booklets on topics like HIV, caregiving, and diabetes to name a few. Our print materials are available in English and Spanish to individuals and organizations, and as downloads on our website. Many of our materials are also available in Chinese. If you are a person living with an illness, or caring for someone with one, I invite you to look through our materials and hope that you find them helpful.
Nutrition is paramount to all that we do every day all year long at God’s Love. It is our purpose, and it is woven throughout the client experience. As we reflect this month, I am amazed at our exceptional program, and the impact it has on people’s lives. Medically tailored meals and medical nutrition therapy support people in living more independently with improved food security, health outcomes, and quality of life.
Happy National Nutrition Month!
God’s Love We Deliver cooks and home-delivers nutritious, medically tailored meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves. To support the health of our clients, we also provide ongoing nutrition assessment, education, and counseling. God’s Love is a non-sectarian organization serving people in need and their children and caregivers. All of our services are provided free to clients and full of love.