Service users at Brierley Court have set up a food group and are now preparing healthy meals for the whole unit at least one lunchtime every week.
The Mental Health Foundation makes the link between a healthier diet and exercise with good mental health. So the occupational therapy team has been keen to promote healthy eating among service users.
They started out by involving service users in choosing and preparing healthy and tasty meals, and getting them to try different types of meals and foods. They also experimented with new ways of cooking, including oven frying and dry frying instead of deep frying and microwaving.
The team at Brierley Court have certainly noticed the improved mental health in the ‘food group’. The diets of staff and service users’ alike have improved, with a larger range of healthier foods – and fewer takeaways – being enjoyed, as well as much smaller portion sizes.
The rehabilitation kitchen is being used much more and service users’ confidence in the kitchen has increased. Service users now volunteer to help out with cooking and grocery shopping, and the meals they prepare are incorporated into the menu at Brierley Court.