Fuel Well to Feel Well
Studies show links between mental health and diet, or how food affects the way that we heal. Our groundbreaking Fuel Well© program was created in coordination with nutritional expert and Meadows Senior Fellow Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RDN to bring our menus and food choices in line with these studies. This innovative program enhances our already holistic treatment of trauma and addiction with dietary factors. Meadows Behavioral Healthcare is the first facility in the United States to incorporate a program that focuses on feeling well by fueling well.
The Fuel Well program is based on the following criteria:
- OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS ARE PREVALENT IN OUR OFFERINGS
Multiple studies link omega-3 fatty acid consumption to better mental health and a decreased risk of depression. A randomized control trial also showed that omega-3 consumption may play a role in reduction of both anxiety and inflammation. The Fuel Well program offers increased omega-3s like walnuts as snacks, fatty fish as meal options, and flaxseed for salads to give our patients the best options for mental health.
- ATTENTION TO HIGH QUALITY FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
A 2019 study found that fruit and vegetable consumption was just as important to mental health as general well-being, while another found that individuals who had at least four servings of vegetables every day had lower psychological stress. Fresh, healthy produce has always been a focus of our food offerings, but now more than ever, colorful produce options can be seen throughout our campuses and are used anywhere we can fit them into our Fuel Well recipes.
- FOCUS ON LOCAL, ORGANIC, GRASS-FED, AND WILD FOOD SOURCES
Fuel Well places greater focus on produce that is sourced locally to help maintain the highest nutrient density and to support local providers. We also seek out meat, poultry, and dairy sources from animals that have been fed and treated well, as doing so may help increase nutrient density.
- ATTENTION TO FOODS THAT HELP WITH GUT HEALTH
Fuel Well emphasizes foods that have been shown to help reduce anxiety, stress, and depression while boosting mental health. They are all also associated with better gut health, which has been found to help boost mental health and may play a role in mood and behavior.
Fuel Well At-a-Glance
- Increase in omega-3 fatty acids
- High in quality fruits and vegetables
- Focus on local organic, grass-fed, and wild food sources
- Attention to foods that help with gut health
- Less than 5 grams of sugar per serving
- Zero trans fat
- 50% whole/intact grains
- 85% reduction in processed foods
NOTE: The Fuel Well program is NOT implemented at The Meadows Ranch eating disorder program.