In support of their recovery, people with a mental illness and their carers can source and prepare healthy, high-quality, good-value food.
Goals which service users and carers can set themselves include:-
● Having at least five servings of fresh fruit or vegetables every day
● Setting aside time to eat regular meals – and making sure they have breakfast
● Getting advice and information on healthy eating
● Writing a diet plan
● Joining a food co-op
● Setting up or joining a healthy eating club
● Growing their own fruit and vegetables
● Eating more portions of oily fish such as mackerel or sardines
● Reducing the amount of ‘trans’ fat in their diet – this is found in foods such as pies and factory-made pastry, cakes and biscuits
● Switching to wholegrain rice, pasta and bread
● Making time to try out new recipes and enjoy cooking
● Making sure they drink enough fluid (3.5 pints or 6-8 glasses a day – water, milk, and hot drinks count but alcohol doesn’t)
● Cutting down on caffeine, salt and sugar
● Varying their diet and trying new foods
● Carrying healthy snacks when they are out and about
● Sourcing the best-value food by shopping around or changing supermarkets.
Supporters could include:-
● GP and Practice Nurse
● Health promotion service
● Local food co-op and “allotmenteer” groups
● Local college
● Family member and/or other carer
● Care Coordinator.
Best practice examples in mental health services:-
● Carers in Flintshire published their own recipe book which included a range of easy-to-follow and healthy recipes
● Service users in Denbighshire created their own vegetable plot at the local mental health project
● Service users in Newport set up a food co-op, pooling their buying power and ordering healthy food direct from local suppliers
● Service users in Conwy set up a monthly ‘Around the World’ event to encourage each other to experiment with their cooking.