TECH Residential Houses | Focusing on Healthy Eating Habits
Making healthy lifestyle changes can be hard but as we all know, the benefits far exceed the time that goes into making those decisions. Two years ago, the staff at TECH's 27th Street residential house came together to incorporate healthy eating into the daily routines at the houses and the payoff has been big!
"Several of our clients at 27th Street had health concerns and some even were on doctor ordered diets," says Cara Conaway, Director of Residential Housing for TECH. "We wanted to support those clients by not implementing diets but encouraging the house to consider making a lifestyle change through simple meal substitutions." Cara and her team began researching small ways to make an impact. They began substituting ground turkey for hamburger, incorporating a lot of chicken and fish into their meal plans and even tested out cauliflower in place of potatoes. What was the result? Several clients at the 27th Street House lost weight, including one client who lost over 40 pounds.
Change Is Hard
Cara's vision was met by resistance at first - nobody likes change, but eventually, over time, they began to see how simple it was and meals tasted just as good. "Our staff are held accountable for preparing the meals at houses and giving their input about what clients are eating. Promoting a healthier lifestyle goes beyond that single meal, it impacts the agency as a whole. It's another way that we can help change lives," says Conaway. Now, staff is incorporating exercise into the evenings and are even working on creating a welcoming outdoor area to encourage gardening and outdoor activities.
TECH is embracing a healthier lifestyle, not only for our clients but also for our staff. In addition to implementing meal substitutions and healthy recipes at additional TECH residential houses, the TECH team will be participating in a new wellness program, which is overseen by TECH staff. Conaway says, "We wanted to make an impact where it starts, and that's with us. If our staff is used to making healthy decisions for themselves and realize the benefits from that, our hope is they are encouraging our clients to do the same."