For so many of us, being able to choose what we eat is something we take completely for granted. At the restaurant, at the store, at meal time. It’s natural. It’s normal.
But the sad reality for many people and families living in the UK today is very diﬀerent. They have no choice at all and frequently miss meals completely.
Why it matters
Even after just a few days with low or poor nutritional food intake, brain function is impaired, and energy levels are low as the body becomes depleted, making a person susceptible to poor judgement, infection, low mood and illness.
Just giving someone in this situation food is not enough. Good nutrition is an essential part of the rebuilding process. Poor nutrition creates a vicious cycle aﬀecting ability to manage our life.
When people come to TMTP for the ﬁrst time, they are low in self-conﬁdence and in a state of poor or depleted physical and mental health. This is due to the stress and anxiety of their circumstances and the fact that they are not eating well, or at all, and this has been their situation for some time.
We want to not only help people repair and rebuild their lives in a practical sense but we also want to help people improve their health and wellbeing. Providing food, in the way we do, is a critical ‘tool’ to enable us to achieve these aims.
Weekly food allowances are allocated to each person in the family based on 3 meals per day and 7 days per week in accordance with the Eat Well Plate…
...and within each food group, i.e. carbohydrate, protein, etc., each client is able to choose the food they prefer.
A choice of food is provided for 3 very important and practical reasons:
- Food preferences
- Diet related health issues
We offer a wide range of:
- Fresh foods (Bread, fruit, vegetables, salads, etc.)
- Chilled foods (meat, ﬁsh, dairy. etc.)
- Frozen foods
- Ambient foods (packets, tins, dried, etc.)
When some people come to us for the ﬁrst time they are malnourished, underweight or losing weight dangerously fast. For them, their crisis is a health one as well as a financial one so we provide additional nutrition support for the clients who ﬁnd themselves in this position.
Why does malnutrition matter?
Poor nutrition can lead to. or directly cause a whole range of negative outcomes in someone‘s life, such as:
- Low mood & poor self-care
- Poor concentration
- Loss of job and/or lower chances of securing a job
- Slower wound healing & recovery
- More falls/Poor mobilisation
- Poor immunity & increased infections
- Extended hospital stays (on average 3 days longer)
- Visit GP twice as often I more prescriptions
- Can be the cause of heart disease / stroke / some cancers
- Anti-social behaviour/reoffending
Poor nutrition also has a massive impact on society. The cost to NHS is £19.6 billion: overshadowed by obesity in the media, but costs a lot more.
During the routine weekly support session, all clients have the opportunity to receive nutrition support by undertaking our malnutrition screening.
What do we do in malnutrition screening?
Weigh client on scales without coat or heavy shoes and ask the client their height or check with height measure. From this we can calculate Body Mass Index (BMI) using a chart.
- Low weight = < 20
- Very underweight= < 18.
If someone has low BMI (<18.S) they may be at risk. If already low (BMI<20) & lost more without meaning to they may also be at risk.
Involuntary weight loss ...... is another way to detect risks (health).
- Is current weight below their normal healthy weight?
- How much have they lost?
- Can convert to a % loss
- 5-10% over 3-6 months is a risk e.g. 6.5 kg for 65kg
The consultation also includes gaining an understanding of the clients eating preferences and habits and recent health proﬁle. From all this information the nutritionist will draw up a food diet plan and may suggest other health beneﬁcial interventions. From the food diet plan the client will then receive a tailored weekly food supply from us which will help them to return to a healthy weight over a safe time. Fortnightly monitoring will then take place to support the client and ensure everything is progressing correctly.