What’s on the Menu: How Food Provides Nourishment and Normalcy

Jul 27, 2023Blog

Entering a treatment facility can be a transformative and challenging experience for individuals seeking to overcome addiction or mental health issues. Amidst the array of therapies and support systems, one often overlooked aspect is the critical role that food plays in the recovery journey.

Substance abuse can result in poor nutrition and irregular eating, so when patients enter treatment, the consistency of 3 regular, nutritious meals each day can be a huge relief and a reminder of more stable times.

Audrey Layfield, the Dietary Supervisor at Hudson Behavioral Health, understands the importance of good food. “Nourishing the body with balanced nutrition not only helps patients heal physically, but also mentally and emotionally,” says Audrey. “The weekly menus I create are well-rounded and are designed to give patients both energy and enjoyment.”


Omelettes, home fries, English muffins, coffee, milk, juice

Chicken salad, chips, salad bar, juice

Flounder, rice pilaf, broccoli, salad bar, juice

Audrey acknowledges the need for diversity in food offerings to accommodate dietary preferences and restrictions. “When patients first arrive, they inform the nurses of any food allergies, intolerances, or restricted diets like vegetarian or vegan. My team and I always make sure we have options that cater to individual needs and leave everyone feeling satisfied,” Audrey shares.

Within the walls of a treatment facility, the dining area serves as a communal hub, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie among residents. Group meals provide opportunities for social interaction and strengthen the support network. Residents eat meals in three shifts at Hudson and are treated to a cookout every other Friday for a change of scenery.

In addition to three regular meals each day, patients have access to snacks, fresh fruit, and ingredients to make sandwiches in their dormitories. The pantries are well-stocked each week with snacks like granola bars, popcorn, peanuts, graham crackers and more.

Looking to the future, Audrey shares that she is doing lesson planning for nutritional education classes for not only patients on campus, but also the residents of Hudson’s low-intensity housing. “Nutrition education will equip patients with the tools they need to make informed food choices after they leave our care,” says Audrey. “I’m also planning to instruct cooking classes, which will help Hudson patients develop life skills and support them along their recovery journey.”

The role of food in a treatment facility goes far beyond mere sustenance. It becomes an integral part of the healing process, nourishing the body, mind, and soul. Balanced nutrition, communal dining experiences, and the opportunity to learn life skills create a supportive environment for residents to grow and thrive.

Dietary Supervisor Audrey Layfield (center) with Kim Robinson (left) and Kitchen Manager Akai Carr (right)

About us

Hudson Behavioral Health was formed in 1980 (as Hudson Health Services, Inc.) to bring the first residential recovery program to the Eastern Shore. Today, thousands of patients later, we remain the leader in recovery programs and resources, with our staff of 100 committed to serving each patient as an individual.