Abilene Campus (Residential)
Date of Award
Secondary Site Mentor (if needed)
Occupational therapists (OTs) address daily life patterns and support clients through participation in meaningful everyday activities to promote overall well-being. Nutrition is essential to physical and mental wellness and is integral to positive lifestyle behaviors and outcomes. Although appropriate nutrition is vital to health, well-being, and recovery, individuals rarely implement consistent nutritional practices into their everyday lives due to environmental and personal barriers. This capstone project united the role of nutrition with the occupational therapy perspective through interprofessional collaboration and the development of a program for graduate students focused on creating a foundational understanding of fueling their bodies with compounds called phytochemicals to increase health outcomes. By teaching and motivating clients to incorporate health-enhancing foods packed with phytochemicals into their diets, the program addressed how nutrition relates to the increased promotion of overall well-being and health literacy. Throughout the 14-week process, participants were guided through three separate cooking demonstrations, supplemented with an educational video highlighting the specific phytochemicals within each recipe. After completing the program, participants reported success and increased knowledge about phytochemicals through education and practical cooking demonstrations. Further, participants agreed that their involvement in the program led to an awareness of simple yet effective ways to mindfully incorporate health-promoting ingredients into their everyday meal preparation and nutrition management. Ultimately, the occupation-based nutrition program contributed to participant confidence in implementing healthy lifestyle decisions into habits, roles, and routines, enabled occupational participation, and supported lifelong health and wellness promotion.
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