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JillianLindsay

Anyone Else Work In Residential Treatment?

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For anyone who works in a group home or other type of residential treatment, you know we don't get paid well at all. You also know one of the small perks of the job is free food while working :)

I work in a residential treatment facility with teenage boys who are struggling with addiction issues. I love my job! I also loved that we didn't have to bring our own lunch or even prepare the meals. Because it's such a large facility, we have a cafeteria type set-up with a large kitchen and employ kitchen staff to prepare meals.

I just got back to work two weeks ago and have been struggling with what to eat and how to communicate what I can and can't have. The staff I've worked with so far have been fantastic. They've let me tour around the kitchen with them reading labels and explaining what is safe and what is not. They are knowledgeable about cross-contamination.

The downside is I've been eating the same foods over and over. They have a lot of people to feed and don't have time to prepare a completely separate meal for me, nor do I expect them to. I just sent an email to the director cc'ing the kitchen (as per the director's request) with links to celiac disease info, gluten-free diet info, and a list of things I can and can't eat. I'm a full-time student and only work there part-time, so it's not like they can just order groceries with me in mind because I don't work enough to justify them changing their system that they have had in place for years.

Does anyone else work in a residential setting? What do you do? Or for anyone out there who has ideas for me, please, advice and suggestions would be much appreciated :)

I make so little money there -- I do it because I love it -- but if I have to start bringing my own food (on top of the gas money I spend because it's a 45-minute commute for me), I won't be able to afford to work there anymore! I don't mind bringing a few things (i.e. margarine, rice bread, gluten-free sauces), but I do mind (and can't afford) packing a day's worth of food when free food is supposed to be a perk of the job. I don't want to leave the only job I've actually loved doing!

Thanks,

Jillian

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What do they typically serve? Do they have salads? Do they prepare any meat and if so do they season or marinate it?

Remember you can have all fruits and veggies. You could bring something to eat every other day. Bring snacks with you, lets say they have bananas or apples bring some peanut butter to go with it.

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Yes, there are fresh fruits and salad available at each meal. Lukcily they use Kraft salad dressings, so I can read the labels and feel comfortable using them if they are gluten-free. The meats are marinated, but they let me look at everything they use to season it and check if it's safe.

I like the peanut butter idea, I love pb and apples :)

What do they typically serve? Do they have salads? Do they prepare any meat and if so do they season or marinate it?

Remember you can have all fruits and veggies. You could bring something to eat every other day. Bring snacks with you, lets say they have bananas or apples bring some peanut butter to go with it.

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I worked in residential as a social worker when I was first diagnosed. It was a small setting, so that helped...although it was a lot less heard of back then, so I was asked TONS of questions CONSTANTLY by both the staff and the boys. I remember I did eat a lot of peanut butter (with apples, carrots, celery) - they bought it in individual servings, so I knew it wasn't contaminated. They also kept nuts and raisins on hand for a quick snack. There was always chips, too. Salad was available every day, as was yogurt. They made me a lot of fried eggs and sauteed veggies. I also kept a bag of gluten-free pasta there in case there was nothing else. Corn tortillas might be good to keep on hand - maybe they would buy them if they could use them for some mexican meals. You could use them for a roll up sandwich or quick quesadilla. Maybe they could do baked potatoes more often? You can get pretty creative with the toppings and use the leftovers to make home fries. Ask if they would mind using corn starch to thicken soups and sauces. Hope that helps!

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