Food is Medicine Programs

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” — Hippocrates’ wise words are the foundation for everything we do at Open Hand today. Our health-promoting prepared meal programs serve vulnerable low-income clients in a variety of settings, providing freshly cooked, home-delivered  meals, combined with snacks or supplements, to meet their daily nutrition needs. Meals are selected from our seasonal menus designed by Open Hand Registered Dietitian Nutritionists to meet individual clients’ dietary requirements and tailored to their specific health conditions.

In addition, Open Hand provides freshly prepared meals to seniors in congregate settings, to clients transitioning from the hospital back to their homes, and to at-risk youth in the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Can Open Hand help you or a loved one?

Medically-tailored meals for Medicaid clients
Open Hand delivers freshly prepared, health-promoting meals designed to help prevent or manage diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, HIV/AIDS, obesity and other chronic conditions. These meals are designed by our experienced Registered Dietitians and culinary team to meet the highest quality standards and to be as delicious as they are therapeutic.

Care transitions from hospital to home/community
Open Hand provides medically-tailored meals to enrolled individuals across 10 metro-Atlanta counties within 48-72 hours of discharge from the hospital or a skilled nursing facility. Studies show emphatically that ensuring quality nutrition immediately following discharge greatly reduces the chances of re-hospitalization and leads to better health outcomes.

Freshly prepared meals for our senior clients
Open Hand prepares freshly-cooked, home-delivered or congregate meals that exceed the nutritional needs of Georgia’s seniors, most of whom are dealing with chronic disease. Delicious seasonal menu offerings made with only the freshest, highest quality ingredients consistently result in Open Hand meals receiving the highest scores for client satisfaction.

Health-promoting, kid-friendly meals for at-risk youth
Open Hand has developed a menu that exceeds the USDA’s requirements for well-balanced, nutritious meals to address the needs of low-income children participating in the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). Open Hand works with Quality Care for Children to model healthy eating behaviors for these at-risk children that will stay with them as they grow.

Medically-tailored meal types

Healthy Balance
Meets the needs of those seeking to prevent or control high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, and help manage a number of other chronic conditions.

Mechanical Soft
Designed to minimize amount of chewing necessary to ingest foods; works best for clients with mouth and/or esophageal conditions.

Renal/dialysis
Designed for people with chronic renal insufficiency: 2 grams sodium (660 mg/meal), and 2 grams potassium (660 mg/meal).

No fish, no red meat or no pork
Designed to accommodate special dietary needs or requests.

Vegetarian
Prepared without meat, poultry, fish or dairy products

Healthy food access programs

Poverty is linked to poor nutrition and chronic disease due to a lack of access to healthy, affordable foods. With more than 99% of Open Hand clients living at or below the poverty line, Open Hand Atlanta plays a critical role in helping to meet this need. In fact, one-third of our clients recently reported that, if not for Open Hand, they would have no idea where their next meal would be coming from.

To make matters worse, many of our clients live in communities without major grocery stores, others are severely limited in their daily activities, and some receive only limited assistance. Open Hand addresses their food insecurity with healthy food options while enabling them to make better choices and sustain a healthier lifestyle.

Market Baskets
Open Hand delivers weekly bags of nutritious food items, including fresh fruits and vegetables, to those clients who are able to prepare their own meals, but whose nutrition requirements are not being met. In addition, they receive monthly nutrition education materials and simple, practical recipes.

Shelf stable meals
Open Hand provides a supply of nonperishable groceries to low-income, medically-eligible clients in order to ensure that all clients have nutritious food items on hand in the event a weather emergency or other circumstances which might prevent us from delivering their meals.

Emergency nutrition
The Emergency Nutrition Supplement Program provides meal replacement snacks and nutrition supplements to low-income men, women and children being served by the Grady Infectious Disease Program during extended waits for their healthcare or mechanical soft meals for dental patients.

For more information about Open Hand prepared meal and healthy food access programs, please contact Open Hand Client Services at (404) 872-6947.

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