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MENU-AIDDs     MTDH Publications

MENU-AIDDs© Nutritional Health Promotion

for Community-dwelling Adults with Intellectual

or Developmental Disabilities


Nutrition plays an important role in supporting health and contributes to a higher quality of life for community-dwelling adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Nutrition-related health and wellness, such as maintaining a healthy weight or keeping blood sugar within normal range, can either maximize an individual’s independence and participation in community life, or restrict them. Nutrition is a leading health indicator for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Research on secondary health conditions shows that many of the most limiting conditions are related to nutrition and may be prevented or improved through better nutrition. Overweight and obesity, in particular, are critical problems in this population and must be addressed, in part through nutrition intervention. Recent research indicates that the food systems in many group homes for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities produce nutritionally inadequate diets. The staff needs support and assistance from reputable nutrition sources to be able to plan and make healthy meals and snacks while keeping costs low. Opportunities for consumer education and support to make healthy food choices in group homes are important, but too often lacking. MENU-AIDDs does not require special doctors’ orders because it is not a therapeutic diet. It packages standard nutrition recommendations, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate, to work for people with intellectual disabilities and their supporters.

MENU-AIDDs Materials and Training

The MENU-AIDDs health promotion program consists of two parts – materials and training -- with optional evaluation consultation available.
  1. The MENU-AIDDs program written materials includes a 180-page coordinated resource on nutrition education and staff skill building.
  2. The second, integral part of MENU-AIDDs is the in-person training. The content of the program is taught and practiced at the training by the group home managers, where addressing real world issues is key to the success and implementation of the program. Training the managers impacts all the residents by improving the menus and foods available, made, served, and consumed. The training is a full-day, workshop format. We travel to you.

MENU-AIDDs Program:

MENU-AIDDs was scientifically evaluated in community group homes after 8 weeks and 6 months of use. Results:
  • Overweight and underweight residents improved their weight significantly;
  • Gastrointestinal health showed significant improvements for bowel obstruction, constipation, diarrhea and loose bowels;
  • Menus and foods served in the homes improved, including significant gains in: whole grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables, and non-meat proteins, and reduced intake of high-fat and processed meats and junk food;
  • Adequate and appropriate portion sizes served;
  • Residents were satisfied with their meals;
  • High adoption of program and ratings of acceptability from managers, staff, and residents; and
  • Acceptable cost both in staff time and in dollars spent on food.
Good Nutrition Ideas' doctoral-levelscientists are available to conduct program evaluation for participating organizations. We can work together with you to get the information important to you; such as:
  • Nutrition knowledge and awareness of staff;
  • Food frequency and dietary intake of key nutrients in diet;
  • Weight problems and other secondary conditions experienced by consumers; and
  • The reach of MENU-AIDDs to residents and direct care staff.


For more information about the curriculum, please contact: Meg Ann Traci, email: Meg.Traci@mso.umt.edu, Phone: 406-243-4956

MTDH Publications

Improving Individuals' Nutritional Health with MENU-AIDDs, 2012

Montana Disability and Health Update, Issue 7, MyPlate 2011

Nutrition for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities: Nutrition Standards of Care for Use by Personal Assistants, Service Providers, Healthcare Providers,  Nutrition Professionals, and Family Members 2005

Eat Well to Feel Well: Your Plan for Good Health 2005

Using Commodities and Canned Foods in Group Homes for Adults with Disabilities, Practice Guideline, 2004 Food On Film©: An Innovative Method for Recording Food Intake of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities or Communication Difficulties Research Progress Report #22, 2004 Nutrition and Disability: Report #14, 2002