Food Education for People with Serious Psychiatric Disabilities: An Evidence-Based Recovery Curriculum

by Alison Books, MS, RD, LDN, Center for Fitness & Nutrition, in collaboration with staff and students of the Division of Recovery Services at the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

CerealThe Food Education for People with Serious Psychiatric Disabilities has bundled several evidence-based practices and modified the information relevant to preventing and reversing the metabolic syndrome and promote healthy weight in persons with psychiatric disabilities. It is designed to provide practitioners with nutritional lesson plans that can be used in a single session or together as a cohesive skills group. We encourage practitioners to use the lesson plans as frameworks from which the topic can be personalized to meet individual, cultural, and environmental needs.

Handouts and recipes are included to prompt use of the skills, provide information, and support nutritional practices. The handouts and recipes that are recommended for student use are included following each lesson plan. They can be printed or reproduced as needed for individual group participants. To make it to easier to reproduce the handouts and recipes for individual students, they also are available to purchasers of the curriculum in a password protected PDF file that can be downloaded below. It is recommended that students be provided individual binders to organize the completed handouts, particularly if a number of lesson plans will be taught. A cover page is provided that can be printed or copied and distributed to individual students to serve as a cover for their binders. The curriculum also directs leaders and students to user-friendly nutritional websites that can be used in adjunct.

The curriculum can be downloaded as pdf files:


Curricula cover

Food Education for People with Serious Psychiatric Disabilities

Includes all the contents of the curriculum:

  • Introduction
  • Syllabus
  • 22 Lesson Plans
  • Handouts
  • Recipes
  • Resource List
Book cover

Food Education Student Handouts

  • Handouts
  • Recipes
  • Resource List



NOTE: You may download the following individual lesson plans, which include the related handouts and recipes, as you need them.


Introduction and Goal Update Classes

  • Lesson Plan 1: Introduction to Food Education
  • Goal Update Class: Recommended every 4 to 6 classes after Lesson 1
  • Lesson Plan 2: Individual Needs Assessment



Added Sugars

  • Lesson Plan 3: Added Sugar Drink Sampler
  • Lesson Plan 4: Added Sugar Sources
  • Lesson Plan 4.s: Sugar Calculations
  • Lesson Plan 5: Added Sugar Strategies
  • Lesson Plan 6: Added Sugar Yogurt Activity



Grains and Carbohydrate Foods

  • Lesson Plan 7: Whole Grains
  • Lesson Plan 8: Whole Grains Strategies
  • Lesson Plan 9: Carbohydrate Planning



Fruits and Vegetables

  • Lesson Plan 10: Fruits and Vegetables Strategizing



Protein and Fats

  • Lesson Plan 11: Protein Foods
  • Lesson Plan 12: Fats



Meals, Snacks, and Special Occasions

  • Lesson Plan 13: Meal and Snack Planning
  • Lesson Plan 14: Meal Planning: Tuna Broccoli Sampler
  • Lesson Plan 15: Intentional Meal Timing
  • Lesson Plan 16: Snacking for Satisfaction Field Trip
  • Lesson Plan 17: Holiday Eating
  • Lesson Plan 18: Nutritional Assertiveness



Cooking and Dining Out

  • Lesson Plan 19: Food Shopping for Wellness
  • Lesson Plan 20: Cooking Class
  • Lesson Plan 21: Dining Out with Wellness
  • Lesson Plan 22: Scanning Menus for Healthy Eating