With the winter months and cold weather upon us many of our clients face additional obstacles. Our Community Dietitians have talked with many clients about their struggles and have been working with them to create solutions, provide resources, and offer encouragement. We’ve heard from clients who say they don’t have a warm enough coat to be outside, the cold weather deters them from going for a walk like they usually do for exercise, or their bus stop may be many blocks from their home and it’s the only way they can get to a grocery store. On top of these, the pandemic has added a new layer of anxiety and isolation.

Common questions asked by clients include: “Should I even go outside? Should I get on the bus? Will the grocery store have food? Will I have SNAP benefits to utilize?”

When obtaining food is difficult, our Dietitians have conversations with clients centered on ways to do more at home with what they have. For example, we suggest combining the Moveable Feast meals with staple items at home. This helps the clients create a variety of nutrient-dense meals and ensures that the clients have enough to eat for the entire week. Other conversations have been in regards to exercise and encouraging clients to consider other ways to move their bodies without leaving the house like using the couch as support or using household items to do resistance exercises.

As previously mentioned, clients are affected by anxiety and isolation as a side effect of the pandemic, which hinders their readiness to change. Many clients have been scared to leave their homes, many have not been able to see family or interact with many people, and many are seeing their doctors and other healthcare providers via telehealth visits instead of in-person. This can manifest into a lack of motivation causing it to be difficult to make changes.

With assistance from our team of Dietitians, some clients are making strides towards their health goals. Tony* has been working with Community Dietitian Olivia Massa and showing improvements during the past few months. He has struggled with overeating on snacks and sweets causing him to gain weight. “We talked about healthier snack options, especially ones lower in added sugar and low-fat options, and Tony has taken small steps to change his habits despite the pandemic,” said Olivia. This has not been an easy task, but with regular follow-up calls and measurable, manageable goals, he has been successful in decreasing his intake of snacks and sweets.

The daunting question of “Will I be able to get more food?” has been increasingly prevalent now more than ever. Although the pandemic has been difficult for everyone, the clients we are serving are definitely feeling the effects. Due to high food insecurity needs, we have been providing additional shelf stable food to our clients to help them and their families. In addition to Medical Nutrition Therapy, Community Dietitians at Moveable Feast have been providing encouraging words, creative solutions, and simply being a person to listen as clients share overwhelming feelings brought on by the pandemic. Moveable Feast is doing more than just providing nutritious food for our clients. We are rooted in our mission: feed people, fight disease, and foster hope.

*Name changed to protect privacy

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